Published On: Thu, Nov 20th, 2014

Tod Machover to Compose Detroit Symphony

Tod Machover

Composer and MIT professor Tod Machover has announced his plan to create a “collaborative symphony” inspired by Detroit and to be performed by the Detroit Symphony Orchestra to be called Symphony in D.

Today when people think of Detroit they usually think of urban decay, bankruptcy and a place that they do not want to visit. They do not usually think about symphonies.

But as the 60 year old co-founder of MIT’s Media Lab said, “Detroit, for me, is just bursting with energy. Musically, I keep thinking about bass lines and snare drums. I can’t describe it in words, but it’s something about energy and possibility.”

“‘Symphony in D’ will be a combination of I don’t want to say, ‘real music, but melody, harmony, rhythm and the actual sounds of the city.”

As he told the Detroit Free Press, “The first goal is to make a sonic portrait of Detroit, and to make it with music and sounds of the city. It could be actual sounds that end up in the piece. It could be sounds that get transcribed into orchestral music. The piece is meant to be a kind of time capsule. But Detroit is also thinking a lot about its future right now, more so than most places, so maybe the piece will have something to do with the city’s aspirations.”

It is expected to premiere at the Detroit Orchestra Hall on November 16, 2016. The symphony was funded by a $315, 000 grant from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation.

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