The Toronto Symphony Orchestra is taking crowdsourcing to a new level with its much-hyped electro-acoustic project with American composer Tod Machover.

A Toronto Symphony: Concerto for Composer and City will have its premiere on March 9, 2013, at the TSO’s New Creations Festival. For the project, Machover is asking Torontonians to collaborate with him in writing a work for, by and about their city. The latest phase of that collaboration is a music app, launched today, that enables the public to contribute to the composition of A Toronto Symphony.

“One of the things I have always loved about Toronto,” said Machover during a phone interview with CBC Classical, “is how you’ve got every possible kind of person and kind of culture. It’s all there. But it all coexists — everybody and every community — in a very beautiful and peaceful way. What intrigues me is how this kind of complexity and order manage to coexist in Toronto better than just about any place I know.”

Machover’s idea is to capture the essence of Toronto in a collaborative work that uses sound gathered, possibly manipulated, and submitted by the citizens of Toronto. How, you ask?

“We launched the project in June, and there have been two simultaneous processes all along: one has been my own process of thinking about how to design this collaborative piece and how to make a framework for it; the other part has been to think about how to invite the public in.”

Machover decided to divide the content into three categories: yours, mine and ours.

“For ‘yours,’ I started sending out requests in June for people to send me sounds of Toronto. What is the most typical sound? What’s the sound that defines your neighbourhood? What’s the first sound you hear in the morning? We invited people to go out and record these sounds and send them to us.”

For the second category, “mine,” Machover sent his own composed elements of the piece, either phrases, chords or entire sections, to certain communities and asked, “Give me an opinion or think of this as raw material, and do something with it.” For instance, musicians of the TSO worked with Machover in this way to create the entire first section of the piece.

The third category, “ours,” is the latest phase. Machover makes sections of the work available to the public, and asks them to help him finish them using a new interactive music app.

“This should be a lot of fun because it’s an opportunity to use a totally new interface,” Machover said. “I’m sending out a partially finished finale, about a 30-second burst of material, and I’m hoping that together with the community, we’ll make it into a three-minute movement. A variety of building blocks [in the music app] will help us extend and develop the finale. And the nice thing is that it’s all done with a very beautiful graphic.”

See for yourself. CLICK HERE to try Machover’s music app and be part of A Toronto Symphony.

 Source: music.cbc.ca
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Past Talks by Tod Machover’s App lets you be a part of the Toronto Symphony: