Tchaikovsky’s “1812 Overture” on 1,000 cellphones

Posted on: October 26, 2009

In Friday’s (10/23) Toronto Star, Lesley Ciarula Taylor writes, “A musician and his team have trained 1,000 cellphones to deliver 2,000 text messages in about 40 seconds that sound like Tchaikovsky’s 1812 Overture—complete with bass drums and crashing cymbals at the end. ‘The final result: chaos. But you can totally make out the piece,’ an elated Jol Mulholland says at the end of a two-part video on how the SymPHONia was made. The video of the actual musical performance shows Mulholland in his New Zealand lab standing like a conductor in front of a wall of 1,000 cellphones, his intent blue eyes focused on the phones’ screens as they chirp into action. Creating the piece involved a team of 15 people, including Myron Pritchard, the ‘network guru’ for Vodazone N.Z., which sponsored the production and is using it as advertising. … The team had to first find 1,000 cellphones with their chargers and SIM cards, create a cataloguing system, then hook them to a metal grid to create the wall. Mulholland created the music, in some cases recording ringtones from professional musicians playing the violins, cymbals or horns.” For more on the cell-phone symphony, click here.

Posted October 26, 2009