Welcome to A Toronto Symphony – and welcome back to all of you who have been collaborating with us since we launched the project in mid-June. Starting then, we have been asking, “What does Toronto sound like?”, and you have sent us amazing sounds, harmonies and melodies that represent the city to you. We have also engaged in various activities to shape these sounds together to create a symphony for, by, and about Toronto, for premiere by the Toronto Symphony Orchestra on March 9, 2013.
Now we are entering the home stretch of completing A Toronto Symphony. Very exciting indeed, and also a moment when I really need your help. The TSO and I have just launched a brand new web app – called Media Scores, now available on toronto.media.mit.edu/scores – that will make it easy for you to collaborate in the final stages (now through early January) of shaping the composition. It would be wonderful if you’d give it a try and also pass the word along to family and friends.
Media Scores – designed especially for this project by our team at 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.
Anyone can participate with most flash-enabled web browsers, using Media Score’s intuitive and fun-to-use interface. No previous skill required, just an open mind, a sense of play, and inquisitive ears. Shape what Toronto sounds like today and visit toronto.media.mit.edu/scores. This piece is shaping up to be even more exciting and surprising than I expected, and your participation over the coming month will truly make it “sing.”
Look forward to “hearing” you soon! So let’s get started…..
Tod Machover, Composer/Collaborator – A Toronto Symphony
Read our first blog post and learn more about A Toronto Symphonyhere.
Find news stories and press coverage of A Toronto Symphonyhere.
As Tod and the group discuss the direction of the Toronto project, a question of focus arises on how to encourage user input and creation. With the last month of the year fast approaching, the Toronto group plans to launch a system for members of the Toronto community to take an active role in music design, a system to explore the ways we can incorporate all the forms of music and sound generated over the past months in Toronto. This challenge has proved to be a landmark hurdle in this process because the Toronto group’s vision relies on an unprecedented degree of subject involvement and experimentation. We can’t wait to reveal the games and projects we’re creating for you early this December. Your interest and your imaginations will become the building blocks of a beautiful symphony.
Tod was in Toronto on September 29 to lead a workshop with members of the Toronto Youth Orchestra, as part of Culture Days festivities. Here are some photos of Tod directing the talented young instrumentalists through a collaborative exploration of “sounds of Toronto.” Video and audio coming soon!
The Toronto Bicycle Music Festival rolled across the city this past weekend. A colorful throng of cycling enthusiasts pedaled their way through Toronto’s streets and parks with a motley assortment of amplifiers, guitar-strumming minstrels and small children in tow. Enjoy these photos by Jennie Green (click to enlarge image). We captured some fantastic sounds! Videos coming soon.
Multimedia developer and blogger Shawn Caza has put together a wide-ranging series of podcasts over the last year with mix-tapes of specially chosen Toronto indie music representing various aspects of life in the city. There’s a whole lot of interesting music there. Tell us which tracks pop out as an evocative “sound of Toronto”.
This is an hour when few creatures are stirring, but life continues. Maybe you’re heading home after a night of partying. Or finishing up the night shift. Others are rising to get ready for work. Are you awake at 3 AM? What do you hear?
We’ve been collecting your Toronto sound suggestions over the past weeks, and we’re pleased to announce that the submissions are rolling in! Many of you may still be wondering which sounds are right for the project, but remember that any sound is welcome and encouraged. Thanks to Jorge Ayala from Soundstreams and his personal collection of Toronto sounds, we’ve compiled a wide range of examples on our Soundcloud account for you to listen to and take inspiration from. Take a listen, post comments, and then submit your own–the project can’t move forward without your help!
Here’s one that jumped out at us, sounds from Chinatown in Toronto.
Our experiment in collaborative improvisation this Tuesday, April 24th was a great success! Thank you to everyone who participated and shared your music prefernces during the live webcast. Pianist Tae Kim impressively adapted his performance to the live feedback we received from you through our website. We hope you enjoyed hearing and watching him play as much as we did at the Media Lab.
Although Tae is no longer playing, we encourage you to continue to submit your music preferences on the experiment page, if you haven’t already done so.
Listen to the 10 music fragments on the experiment page and use the sliders to express your preferences. An ongoing update will be presented visually to Tae, and he will respond by favoring the types of music which emerge. The overall effect will be of a kind of collective musical memory, with well-known melodies, harmonies and textures intertwining, sometimes recognizable and often combining and colliding in unexpected ways.
This improvisation is based on a play about memory—currently running in Cambridge, MA—for which I composed the music and at which Tae Kim performs live. It’s running through May 13th, so come see it if you have a chance.
In addition, this experiment is part of the process of testing the tools and methods for creating a new symphony in collaboration with the citizens of Toronto, to be premiered by the Toronto Symphony Orchestra at the New Creations Festival in March 2013. You can learn more about that project at this site, and we hope you will follow it’s progress from now through the premiere.