Tod Machover thinks that the future of music could be scary. Composers are going to be able to measure more and more of peoples’ particular mental structures, their particular reactions to a piece of music, their particular needs at a particular moment. “Perhaps 25 to 50 years from now, I can design a piece of music, not so that it appeals to something common in millions of people, but I can design the music so that it’s exactly right for you and only you at this particular moment for your particular experience, things that have happened to you over 20 years, to your particular mental state right now.”
Machover also lets us in on his personal life — from his being raised by a pianist and computer scientist to attending Juilliard, an institution that has its drawbacks. He also unveils his current brainchild, “Death and the Powers,” an opera that will shepherd us into the next era, with the elements of the set acting as characters in the drama.