Tod Machover’s Between the Desert and the Deep Blue Seaputs musical West Australians centre stage.

I grew up in New York in the 1960s, when Leonard Bernstein was leading his Young People’s Concerts, Bob Dylan was waking up Greenwich Village, and John Cage was shaking up, well, just about everything! Inspired by my parents – my mother was a Juilliard-trained pianist, my father a computer graphics pioneer active in the Experiments in Art and Technology (E.A.T.) movement – I absorbed tradition along with the avant-garde.

I was equally drawn to the exhilarating dynamism of Dylan and The Beatles and have been trying to synthesize all of these elements ever since. After studying with Elliott Carter at Juilliard and helping Pierre Boulez to launch IRCAM in Paris, I came to work at the MIT Media Lab in Cambridge (USA) when it opened in 1985, and have ever since found it an ideal place to experiment with combining acoustics and electronics, “music” and “noise”, composition and improvisation, and to explore new relationships between the author and the audience.

To intensify this synthesis, I have embarked on a series of “city symphonies” with the idea of creating musical portraits of places, inviting...

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