The Guardian online
JOIN US ONLINE ON TUESDAY, JULY 9 AT 2PM EST
Composer Tod Machover is in the midst of creating a "collaborative symphony" called Festival City, to be premiered on August 27 at the Edinburgh International Festival. The work is a sonic portrait of Edinburgh—the city and the festival—created with input from those who love the city of Edinburgh, both residents and visitors. For the past few months, Machover has been soliciting audio samples of, and stories about, the city, as well as providing tools created by his team at the MIT Media Lab that will allow everyone to help shape the composition.
On Tuesday, Machover and his team present a one-time-only event to further shape Festival City. From 2-3pm Boston time (7-8pm UK time) on Tuesday, July 9, participants will be able to help select musical elements from the repertoire of pieces performed at the EIF since its inception in 1947. Here's how it works:
Machover has studied the composers and works performed at the Edinburgh Festival over the years, and he has preselected the ones most frequently performed, as well as pieces that interrelate in interesting and sometimes surprising ways. He has been working with Boston-based pianist Tae Kim on strategies for linking these works together, sometimes as fleeting memories, other times as interlaced collage fragments, and finally as new hybrids—all connected by the "glue" of Machover's own musical material.
For this live-stream event, Tae Kim will weave the repertoire fragments together in constantly evolving ways, following input from online participants. The simple web interface shows a colored bubble for each composer selected. "Stir" with your mouse on the screen, and the closest "composer bubble" will grow in size. "Stir" directly on a bubble, and that composer's presence will be augmented.
At the same time, Machover will be controlling a second interface which will determine how the composer-fragments overlap, bounce against each other, or fuse together. Your input and Machover's will immediately change the size, appearance, and behavior of the bubbles, and this in turn becomes Kim's "score" for the improv session. He will follow the community's preferences and will perform accordingly.
During the one hour session on July 9th, Machover and Kim will create three different versions of this composition, of 15 minutes, eight minutes and finally three minutes, refining the musical content and flow at each iteration. Between each performance, Machover and Kim will discuss the last version and how to make it tighter and more effective, and you will be able to send your comments as well. The final three-minute version will be captured in video, audio, MIDI, and data versions, and will be used by Machover as he crafts the "repertoire fragments" section of Festival City over the coming weeks.
Please join us for this unique event on July 9 and help shape Festival City.
Commissioned by the Edinburgh International Festival
Created at the MIT Media Lab
Hosted by The Guardian
Host/Chair: Tod Machover