Composer Tod Machover is creating a "collaborative symphony" called Festival City, to premiere on August 27 at the Edinburgh International Festival (EIF). The work is a sonic portrait of Edinburgh—city and festival—created with input from those who love the city. Machover has been soliciting audio samples of, and stories about, the city, as well as providing tools created by members of the Opera of the Future research group at the MIT Media Lab that will allow everyone to help shape the composition.
On Tuesday, July 9, 2013, Tod Machover and his team presented a one-time-only event to further shape Festival City. Participants in the live-stream event helped to select musical elements from the repertoire of pieces performed at the EIF since its inception in 1947, and pianist Tae Kim combined these repertoire fragments together in real time in constantly evolving ways, following input from online participants.
The simple web interface, Cauldron, showed a colored bubble for each composer selected; participants could "stir" with their mouse on the screen, and the closest "composer bubble" grew in size. At the same time, Machover was controlling a second interface to determine how the composer-fragments related to one another. Input from online participants and Machover immediately changed the size, appearance, and behavior of the bubbles, thus creating Kim's "score" for the improv session, which he followed and performed in real time.
Over 1,000 people participated in the hour-long Repertoire Remix project on The Guardian website. Aside from participants from Edinburgh and Cambridge/Boston, we were pleased to see participants from all over the UK: Aberdeen, Basingstoke, Bristol, Canterbury, Chester, Cornwall, Coventry, Inverness, Leeds, London, Macclesfield, Manchester, Newcastle, Norfolk, Norwich, Nottingham, Shropshire, Sussex, and Sheffield. People also joined from all over the world: Brazil; Toronto, Canada; Beijing, China; Paris, France; Stuttgart, Germany; Kinsale, Ireland; Amsterdam, The Netherlands; California, Indiana, and New York, USA; Thailand; and Turkey.