Monday, October 10, 2011

Technology and Performance: The New Trend?

This Washington Post article by Anne Midgette is about music museums, but not necessarily in the sense of museums merely of music history or instrument collections. Instead, the article focuses on cutting-edge, innovative museum exhibits that present an interactive experience of music in more abstract terms. Exhibits combining sight and sound allow museum visitors to attain a new perspective about music and participation with music, and have appeared in such places as Vienna's Haus der Musik, and Seattle's Experience Music Project. Tod Machover, a composer and software creator at MIT, has helped designed many such exhibits around the world, and thinks that orchestras may be the next museums of music because most of them already have a permanent space that could be modified to create similar interactive experiences.

Machover's prediction is already partially coming true. Like technologically-innovative music museum exhibits, newly-built concert halls are beginning to feature multimedia capabilities. A prime example mentioned in the article is the New World Symphony's concert hall, which was designed with multiple screens for the simultaneous presentation of the symphony's performance and accompanying video. Performers are also becoming involved with the concept of a multimedia performance. Several examples of performers who incorporate a multimedia experience into their concerts are mentioned in the article about violinist Tim Fain's new project which we discussed in class a few weeks ago (read that particular article here). It seems that a multimedia presentation of classical music is an emerging trend, perhaps with a goal similar to that which Tod Machover has for his museum exhibits: "to [help people] think about music in different ways."

Anne Midgette, "Music museums of the 21st century: High-tech, cutting edge, interactive," The Washington Post, October 2, 2011, accessed October 10, 2011,

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