A Symphony for Lucerne.

“A Symphony for Lucerne” is a project initiated by the Lucerne Festival in collaboration with composer Tod Machover and the citizens of Lucerne. Using as many noises and sounds as possible gathered from Lucerne, Tod Machover composed a piece from and for Lucerne. And those who are ‘all ears’ are co-composers!

I hear Lucerne.

How does Lucerne sound? Unlike other cities. What sounds and noises are typical for this city? Which are unique? At any time of day or during any season of the year, various locations in Lucerne have a different soundscape. Assembling all of these recorded sounds creates Lucerne’s unique sound. Inspired by the noises and sounds submitted by you, Tod Machover composed a modern work for a large orchestra. A Symphony for Lucerne premiered on 5 September 2015, performed by the LUCERNE FESTIVAL ACADEMY Orchestra, conducted by Matthias Pintscher.

A Symphony for Lucerne – world premiere

Echoes from Lucerne:

The “Symphony for Lucerne” goes well beyond a pure concert. For Guuggemusig Barfuessfäger it was a lengthy project that began last November with the first rehearsal visit by Tod Machover, reaching its absolute high point with the performance in the KKL. Within that timeframe there were unbelievably many exciting and moving moments that for us amateur musicians opened the door into a new world. We are excited and of course also very proud that we were able to be part of it.
Mario Schaffhauser, Barfuessfäger Guuggemusig Lozärn

“It was exciting for me to get to know all the people who participated in this project and to have been able to be present in person at the rehearsals. The best thing was ultimately to see how Tod Machover interpreted my piece; an incredible feeling, for he understood the musical message behind it and skillfully built it into the Symphony.”
Nadine Emmenegger, student

“The ‘Symphony for Lucerne’ project was a unique experience for me in the field of composing. The graphic working out of melodies and rhythms with the Hyperscore software was lots of fun, and I also learned a good deal. The highlight of the project was, of course, the concert in the KKL, which I liked enormously. I was very happy I could be there.”
Marius Fischer, student

“This project allowed us to expand our horizons. It was very exciting to compose with the Hyperscore software. I loved it.
Vera Stöckli, student  

“It was a very exciting time, in which we built pieces out of our ideas and could see them executed by the orchestra. The fact that Tod Machover used our compositions even in his own symphony was simply amazing! It’s super-nice to be able to look back on this interesting time.”
Manuel Zemp, student

“We were able to gather some great experiences through the project  ‘A Symphony for Lucerne.’ From the first day on we were inspired by the idea and were excited about how it would ultimately sound. Fortunately we can now look back happily, for it was a stunning concert filled with incredible moments that we will never forget. We appreciate very much that we were given this opportunity and are very proud!”
Nadine Purtschert, student

“The project was super-cool. There were loads of new experiences, impressions that will stay with me for a long time for sure. Thank you for this opportunity!!!”
Leana Schmid, student  

“… a genuine highlight … Tod Machover has taken the hearts of Lucerners  by storm with his fabulous, powerful, astonishing, thrilling, and moving music. I was completely captivated and moved to tears.”
Ursula Burger

“The Hyperscore project at this year’s Lucerne Festival is an example of what is possible when people come together, when children and young people meet on an equal footing and simply do their best. Since the first meeting with Tod Machover, I was (and remain) inspired by his ideas and his personality. The whole Festival team led by Johannes Fuchs treated us in a manner that was caring and supportive. We composed, arranged, rehearsed with young musicians from the Academy, and had a marvelous experience at the world premiere of A Symphony for Lucerne! Thank you, Lucerne Festival!”
Luigi Laveglia, composer and teacher on the faculty of the Hochschule Lucerne – Musik / Musikschule of the City of Lucerne


Lucerne, I play you.

We have received many interesting sounds. Thank you! Tod Machover developed a sound-portrait of Lucerne with your sounds. On the following link you can listen to all the submitted sounds: Soundmap

Composing Lucerne #1

Tod Machover, July 5, 2015 After spending the last year listening to Lucerne and getting to know its people, I am now hard at work composing its musical portrait, Eine Sinfonie für Luzern. Of course I have been imagining all along how the many different sounds I have collected might fit together and what feeling this piece might have, but all of the magic happens when you sit down to make the many specific decisions – both large and small – for each specific piece.…

A Pre-Easter visit to Lucerne

  Tod Machover, April 2nd, 2015 I just got back to Boston after my latest visit to Lucerne to work on various projects for this summer’s Lucerne Festival. As always, Lucerne was a kind of oasis, this time more striking than most. My previous trip had been during the dark, mysterious, noisy, cold and damp days of Fasnacht; when I returned to Boston three days ago, winter was still here, snow still covered the ground on the fields of my 18th century farm, and the air has been bone-chilling. So how much more vivid seemed these past days (March 20-29) in Lucerne, when spring was in the air, the sky was vivid blue with light that seemed to illuminate buildings, hills and friendly faces, and when the spiritual, serious, supportive music of the Lucerne Easter Festival filled both church and concert... Read more

Fasnacht Adventure

Tod Machover, February 23, 2015 I had been planning for months to attend Fasnacht in Lucerne, knowing that it was an essential part of the character and “sound” of the city, and that it would be an adventure that I had to experience as part of the Eine Sinfonie für Luzern project. I had no idea how much of an adventure it would turn out to be!…

What does it mean to listen?

Bryn Bliska and Charles Holbrow, MIT Media Lab, Boston USA What does it mean to listen to a city? And, in turn, how do you best capture this experience and share it with others? As research assistants in the Opera of the Future group, we share a deep love for the act of listening, and are fortunate to visit different places around the world simply to grapple with these questions. So, as you all approach A Symphony for Lucerne, we wanted to share our approach with you.…
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