An Amazing Music collaboration using Social Media and Technology – #torontosymphony


How exciting that three things that I love, Social Media, Technology and Music were brought together to make a wonderful Symphony – a Toronto Symphony.

Toronto Born, Peter Oundjian the Director at the Toronto Symphony Orchestra knew exactly what he was doing when he asked Tod Machover to compose something new, exciting, different and Technological for the 2013 New Creations Festival in Toronto.

Tod Machover uses Social Media to collect sounds to make music.

Composer and innovator of the technology in music Tod Machover had a totally amazing idea to include the public’s view of what Toronto sounds like via Social Media.  Todd reached out to the people of Toronto to either explain in words what they thought Toronto sounds like or to send a recording on Facebook, YouTube and Sound Cloud and he would find the music in those sounds and link them together to make a Symphony.   It was an enormous collaboration, he shared music backward and forward, held twitter chats and discussions about the sounds. The sounds themselves were of children laughing, talking, horses walking, police sirens, birds, the wind, many of them are still here on the TSO Soundcloud 

Part of the project included training teachers to use an awesome  music composition software a tool designed by MIT Media Lab called hyperscore to take into schools to get children to create melodies for the Toronto Symphony.

The Toronto Symphony Project

Tod started collecting sounds around June 2012 – it must have been an exhausting time as months and months later, I think November he had collated all of the sounds he needed and had created some a composition but it didn’t stop there.   Still there was more excitement he wanted everyone to collaborate mixing and shaping the composition so he had designed “Media Scores” Web app.

The next piece of tech created for a Toronto Symphony project is The Constellation App, designed by Akito Van Toyer and the team again at MIT Media Lab – where music is broken up into small pieces and fragments of music as a star each “star” is a sound, which you can reshape, remix, morph and change to create and record your own constellations of sounds. its so amazing!

The final app to be designed was called City Soaring by Peter Torpey of MIT Media Labs who also helped on other parts of the project. City Soaring is a variant on Media scores to further mix and colour the last sections of the piece.

This is what The Toronto Symphony Media Score LOOKED like…

TorontoSymphony-MediaScores (1)

All of this was a fascinating social media, and technological experiment  to give the whole of Toronto had the importunity to actually become composers!  Normal children and adults alike got to help create a Toronto Symphony for the New Creations Festival at the Roy Thomson Hall  Toronto. It was performed on the 9th of March 2013 and live streamed  but as yet I haven’t found a complete video of the whole thing but I did find this news report from the BBC on Youtube check it out.

A final word from the guy that started all of this – We live in a world were collaboration is everything – and this piece is the most collaborative piece of music ever written – Peter Oundjian


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