A Toronto Symphony: Concerto for Composer and City
WHAT DOES TORONTO SOUND LIKE? That’s the question that composer Tod Machover and the Toronto Symphony Orchestra have been answering with the help of Torontonians in A Toronto Symphony: Concerto for Composer and City. Led by Machover, and in partnership with the MIT Media Lab, the Toronto Symphony Orchestra asked Torontonians to collaborate in creating a work for, by, and about our city.
Our city needs a symphony. We live in a great hub of creativity, diversity and innovation, and this is the right time to reflect the endless colours and sounds of the city through orchestral instruments.
TSO Music Director Peter Oundjian
THOUSANDS OF TORONTONIANS participated in the work, and collaboration took place by blog and e-mail, via Skype and smartphone, using audio and video recording and streaming, and through numerous face-to-face meetings and music-making sessions in Toronto. In addition, collaborators used Media Scores and Constellation web music apps (developed at the MIT Media Lab specifically for this project) as well as the MIT Media Lab’s Hyperscore graphic composing software to let anyone create original material or make their personal versions of Machover’s work.
Having composed a chord progression and core melodies that would help provide unity and a sense of “family resemblance” to all the assembled materials, Machover outlined three modes of interaction: musical material from the community; music made by Machover and sent to everyone for comment and modification; and music that Machover and collaborators would shape together live.
TSO Music Director Peter Oundjian leads the world première of A Toronto Symphony: Concerto for Composer and City on March 9 at 8:00pm.
In accompaniment to the world première, the CN Tower will feature a customized light show which is synchronized to the music.
The TSO and Tod Machover invited all Torontonians to collaborate in the composition of this work by manipulating the score with a series of digital applications.
- Media Sores – designed especially for this project by the MIT Media Lab – will allow you to help complete the Finale section (“Toronto Dances”) of the piece, contribute to the accompaniment “texture” of the work’s virtuosic “City Soaring” movement, and experiment with other sections of the composition to build your own unique blend and personalized musical narrative.
Constellation - uses composed and collected sounds and lets you mix them into your own collages, textures and pieces, just by experimenting with moving the mouse and combining these things.
- City Soaring - literally lets you paint the quality of a melody. Grab one of the four “brush” icons in the top right-hand corner of the app window – weight, complexity, texture and intensity – and paint over the line with it. You’ll immediately see the change in color and texture and will hear the changes when you play back the melody.
Anyone can participate by using most flash-enabled web browsers, using an intuitive and fun-to-use interface. No previous skill required, just an open mind, a sense of play, and inquisitive ears.
Try it yourself!
HEAR A TORONTO SYMPHONY PERFORMED LIVE!
Thanks for participating! Listen to the result of all your hard work when A Toronto Symphony premières on Saturday, March 9 at 8pm in Roy Thomson Hall. This concert is part of our New Creations Festival.
The TSO is such an open-minded orchestra, so when I was commissioned to write a piece, I started to dream up this project,” said Machover. “We want to go beyond crowd-sourcing to a rich, new level of creative exchange. My goal is to produce something together with the city of Toronto that - literally - none of us could have done without each other, music that is sustaining, surprising, enriching...and beautiful.