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English

Short Biography:
Tod Machover—called "America’s Most Wired Composer" by the Los Angeles Times— has been widely recognized as one of the most important and innovative composers of his generation, as well as one of the primary contributors to future music technology. Machover has received numerous awards and prizes for his work, including a Chevalier de l’Ordre des Arts et Lettres from the French government. In 2010 he received the Arts Prize from the World Technology Network (CNN/Time Inc.), and the Raymond Kurzweil Prize for Music and Technology. He was the first recipient of the Arts Advocacy Award from the Kennedy Center’s National Committee of the Performing Arts in September 2013.

Machover has designed and built Hyperinstruments—a field he founded to augment musical expression using smart computers—for the most diverse musical performers and situations, such as Yo-Yo-Ma, Prince, the Boston Pops, and Disney’s Epcot Center. He has composed seven operas, including Death and the Powers (a 2012 Pulitzer Prize finalist), VALIS (based on Philip K. Dick’s novel), Resurrection (based on Tolstoy’s last novel), and the audience-interactive Brain Opera, now permanently installed at Vienna’s House of Music. Most recently, he composed Schoenberg in Hollywood which explores the influential composer’s time in Los Angeles. His most recent opera, Schoenberg in Hollywood, was commissioned and presented by Boston Lyric Opera, had its hugely successful world premiere in Boston in November 2018, and will have its European premiere at the Vienna Volksoper in April 2022.

Machover has recently taken on several projects that document the personalities and cultures of cities in symphonic form—collaborative symphonies that offer citizens the opportunity to add their own voices to the composition process; these works include A Toronto Symphony, Festival City (for Edinburgh), Between the Desert and the Deep Blue Sea: A Symphony for Perth, Symphony for Lucerne, Symphony in D (for Detroit), and Philadelphia Voices (2018). Machover’s flute concerto, Breathless, was premiered by Carol Wincenc and the Bemidji Symphony Orchestra in November 2014.

Machover studied at The Juilliard School with Elliott Carter and Roger Sessions, and was Director of Musical Research at Pierre Boulez’s IRCAM in Paris. He has been Professor of Music and Media at the MIT Media Lab (Cambridge, USA) since it was founded in 1985, and is Director of the Lab's Hyperinstruments and Opera of the Future groups. Since 2006, Machover has served as Visiting Professor of Composition at the Royal Academy of Music in London.

August 2021

This biography can be reproduced free of charge in concert programs with the following credit: Reprinted by kind permission of Boosey & Hawkes.

Long Biography:
Called “America’s most wired composer” by The Los Angeles Times and a “musical visionary” by The New York Times, Tod Machover is recognized as one of the most innovative composers active today, praised for creating music that breaks traditional artistic and cultural boundaries and for developing technologies that expand music’s potential for everyone, from celebrated virtuosi to musicians of all abilities. 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. He is Academic Head of the MIT Media Lab, where he is also Muriel R. Cooper Professor of Music and Media and Director of the Opera of the Future Group. Machover is also Visiting Professor of Composition at the Royal Academy of Music in London, and Visiting Professor of Composition at the Curtis Institute of Music.

Tod Machover's compositions have been commissioned and performed by many of the world's most prestigious ensembles and soloists, including the Philadelphia Orchestra, Toronto Symphony Orchestra, Ensemble InterContemporain, Lucerne Festival, Edinburgh International Festival, Ensemble Modern, BBC Scottish Symphony, Detroit Symphony Orchestra, San Francisco Symphony, Los Angeles Philharmonic, Boston Pops, Houston Grand Opera, Bunkamura (Tokyo), Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, Centre Georges Pompidou, Carnegie Hall, Ars Electronica, Casa da Musica (Porto), American Composers Orchestra, Tokyo String Quartet, Kronos Quartet, Ying Quartet, Yo-Yo Ma, Joshua Bell, Matt Haimovitz, Renée Fleming and many more. His work has been awarded numerous prizes and honors, by such organizations as the American Academy of Arts and Letters, the Fromm and Koussevitzky Foundations, the National Endowment for the Arts, the German Culture Ministry, and the French Culture Ministry, which named him a Chevalier de l'Ordre des Arts et des Lettres. He was the first recipient of the Arts Advocacy Award from the Kennedy Center’s National Committee of the Performing Arts in 2013, and he was honored as Musical America’s 2016 Composer of the Year.

Machover is especially known for his visionary operas – as varied as they have been groundbreaking- including VALIS (1987), based on Philip K. Dick’s sci-fi classic and commissioned by the Centre Pompidou in Paris; Media/Medium (1994), premiered by magicians Penn & Teller; Brain Opera (1996/8), based on the work of AI pioneer Marvin Minsky and which invites the audience to collaborate live and online; Resurrection (1999), commissioned by Houston Grand Opera and based on Tolstoy’s final novel of the same name; Skellig (2008), based on David Almond’s award-winning novel and premiered at the Sage Gateshead; and the “robotic” Death and the Powers. His most recent opera, Schoenberg in Hollywood, was commissioned and presented by Boston Lyric Opera, had its hugely successful world premiere in Boston in November 2018, and will have its European premiere at the Vienna Volksoper in April 2022.

In a wholly original and flourishing series of collaborative “City Symphonies,” Machover invites people of all ages and backgrounds to work with him – using specially designed online tools, smartphone apps, and public workshops and forums – to create a musical portrait of their city, by combining “normal” musical resources with sounds discovered and collected in that place. He has written works in this series for and with the cities of Toronto, Edinburgh, Perth (Australia), Lucerne (Switzerland), Detroit, and Philadelphia. Upcoming City Symphonies are being planned for Chennai (India), South and North Korea, and various U.S. destinations.

Machover is also widely 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; the popular videogame Guitar Hero grew out of Machover’s group at the Media Lab. 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 is also deeply involved in developing musical technologies and concepts for medical and wellbeing contexts, helping to diagnose and reverse conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease, or allowing people with cerebral palsy to communicate through music. His recent Gammified for the Kronos Quartet and VocaGammified for Renée Fleming are examples of powerful healing sonorities embedded in musical compositions.

Having recently completed a solo cello piece–Sorta Voce–for long-time collaborator Matt Haimovitz, Tod Machover is currently working on a composition for solo violin and electronics to celebrate the Royal Academy of Music’s 200th anniversary, on commissions from the Bath (UK) Festival Orchestra and Sejong Soloists (Seoul), on revisions and revivals of VALIS and the Brain Opera, and on his next opera, The Overstory, based on Richard Powers’ Pulitzer Prize-winning novel.

August 2021

This biography can be reproduced free of charge in concert programs with the following credit: Reprinted by kind permission of Boosey & Hawkes.

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