Tod Machover

MTA Composer Forum

November 17, 2016 | 03:00 pm

November 17, 2016 | 03:00 pm

Recent Music for Pianos, Hyperensemble and Cities

Tod Machover, Muriel R. Cooper Professor of Music and Media, MIT Media Lab


About Tod Machover
Tod Machover is the Muriel R. Cooper Professor of Music and Media at the MIT Media Lab where he also directs the Opera of the Future Group. He is recognized for his innovative and influential compositions, and for inventing new technologies for music. 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. Since 2006, he has been Visiting Professor of Composition at the Royal Academy of Music (London).

Tod Machover's compositions have been commissioned and performed by many of the world's most prestigious ensembles and soloists, and his work has been awarded numerous prizes and honors, including the Chevalier de l'Order des Arts et des Lettres from the French Culture Ministry and the inaugural Arts Advocacy Award from the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, DC. He was Finalist for the 2012 Pulitzer Prize in Music and was named 2016 Composer of the Year by Musical America.

Tod Machover is also recognized for designing new technologies for music performance and creation, such as Hyperinstruments, “smart” performance systems that extend expression for virtuosi, from Yo-Yo Ma to Prince, as well as for the general public. His Hyperscore software—which allows anyone to compose original music using lines and colors—has enabled children around the world to have their music performed by major orchestras, chamber music ensembles, and rock bands. Machover’s group is also deeply involved in developing musical technologies and concepts for medical and wellbeing contexts, helping to diagnosis conditions like Alzheimer’s disease or allowing cerebral palsey patients to communicate through music.

Machover is especially known for his visionary operas, including VALIS (based on Philip K. Dick’s sci-fi classic and commissioned by the Centre Pompidou in Paris); Brain Opera (which invites the audience to collaborate live and online); Skellig (based on David Almond’s award-winning novel and premiered at the Sage Gateshead in 2008); and the “robotic” Death and the Powers which premiered in Monaco (at the Opéra de Monte-Carlo under the patronage of Prince Albert II) in 2010 and has since toured internationally.

Tod Machover is currently working on a series of collaborative “City Symphonies” to create sonic portraits of cities, for and with the people who live there, as well as starting work on his next opera, commissioned by Boston Lyric Opera for premiere in fall 2018.