High-tech symphony finale for artsfest

William Yeoman

The sounds of flies, crows, cockatoos, crashing waves and Northbridge revellers will fill the Perth Concert Hall in a symphony to close the Perth International Arts Festival.

America's "most wired composer" Tod Machover, the head of the research laboratory that developed Guitar Hero, has been working with schools and the WA public to create a high-tech symphony inspired by the sights and sounds of Perth.

Professor Machover's crowd-sourced composition, Between the Desert and the Deep Blue Sea: A Symphony for Perth, will be performed by the WA Symphony Orchestra in the Festival finale on Saturday night.

Following similar projects in Toronto and Edinburgh, Professor Machover used the internet to get WA residents to send in recorded sounds and electronic music composed with Hyperscore.

The result is a provocative combination of what locals think of Perth and how it looks to an outsider.

Professor Machover also involved students from Perth Modern School, Aquinas College, Woodvale Secondary College, Lakeland Senior High and Narrogin, Inglewood and Churchlands primary schools.

"They'd been using Hyperscore, which works very well in schools," he said.

"It uses colours and shapes to compose music. It's free and anyone can use it.

"The teachers had all done remarkable things, listening to sounds around town and trying to figure out how to represent those sounds musically."

Professor Machover, who runs the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Media Lab, has invented a range of "hyperinstruments" and created "robotic" operas.

He still loves the sounds of nature. "The flies! I got off the plane in Perth and I couldn't believe it," he said.

"I don't think I'll ever need any more recordings of flies."