Collaborative Composing: Sharing Authorship with People and AI


Leydi Cris Cobo Cordon/Daily Bruin senior staff

Leydi Cris Cobo Cordon/Daily Bruin senior staff

Composer and inventor Tod Machover, faculty at the MIT Media Lab in Boston, will discuss his large-scale opera/tech collaborations, MIT's City Symphony projects, the implications of AI for creativity and ownership, as well as the possibilities for user-personalized music for health/wellbeing contexts.

Called “America’s most wired composer” by The Los Angeles Times and a “musical visionary” by The New York Times, Tod Machover is recognized as one of today’s most innovative composers and musical pioneers. Musical America’s 2016 Composer of the Year, he is praised for creating music that breaks traditional artistic and cultural boundaries and developing technologies that expand music’s potential for everyone. Machover studied with Elliott Carter and Roger Sessions at The Juilliard School and was the first Director of Musical Research at Pierre Boulez's IRCAM in Paris. He is Muriel R. Cooper Professor of Music and Media and Director of the Opera of the Future Group at the MIT Media Lab. Machover is also Visiting Professor of Composition at the Royal Academy of Music in London. His compositions have been commissioned and performed by many of the world's most prestigious ensembles, opera houses and soloists on both sides of the Atlantic. Machover is especially known for his visionary and groundbreaking operas, beginning with VALIS in 1987, based on the novel by Philip K. Dick; a new production of the opera, starring Davóne Tines and directed by Jay Scheib, was recently presented at MIT. Overstory Overture, a prelude to a forthcoming full-scale opera based on Richard Powers’ The Overstory, premiered at Lincoln Center in 2023. Machover’s opera Death and the Powers (2010) was a finalist for the 2012 Pulitzer Prize, and a new production of the highly acclaimed Schoenberg in Hollywood (2018) is to be presented in 2023 by the School of Music of the University of Hong Kong (Shenzen), China. As an inventor, Machover is known for creating Hyperinstruments (AI systems that extend a player’s expression), and the work done by Machover’s group at the Media Lab informed the popular video game Guitar Hero. Machover is also involved in developing a number of musical technologies and concepts with medical and wellbeing applications, and has an essay in the forthcoming Music and Mind, edited by Renee Fleming.

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