Opera of the Future

Professor Tod Machover, Director

What type of background is required to be included in the Opera of the Future Group at the MIT Media Lab?

As with the entirety of the MIT Media Lab, the Opera of the Future Group is quite diverse. Graduate students should possess a deep intuition for music—regardless of formal training—and a strong technical background in one or more areas. Our emphasis is on the content, dissemination, and the role of music in the future, so prospective students need a strong imagination and the ability to work both independently as well as in a team. Required is a strong tolerance for ambiguity, as we explore unusual and unchartered areas where the research path is often uncertain. Interest in how music could impact or interfere with other disciplines and areas of life is also desirable.

What projects is Opera of the Future currently working on, and what projects are in the pipeline?

We are always interested in how music will sound and feel in the future, so we will continue to explore bold new forms of music itself. A current emphasis is on new forms of audience involvement in musical experiences, from collaborative composition to group vocal meditation. We are always interested in new performance modes and will likely be developing a new opera project, combining even more artistic forms and human senses than we have previously done. We are also always looking for great new ideas and areas that we haven't yet imagined.

What suggestions and advice do you provide for students applying to the MIT Media Lab / Opera of the Future?

The personal statement is typically the most important part of the application, as it informs us of your passion and vision, and also of the experience and skills that will enable you to effectively pursue these passions. Be specific enough in your statement that we can imagine the type of work that you might focus on at the Media Lab, but not so specific that it presents as a project proposal. It is important to thoughtfully select a focused portfolio of work that demonstrates the accomplishments about which you are proudest, and to hold three strong recommendations sent by significant referees who know your work well.

May I visit your Lab, and the Media Lab at large?

Unfortunately, we cannot host all applicants to the Opera of the Future group; we will carefully review all applications during the month of January, and will notify particular candidates by early February of invitations to visit.

Who may I contact with additional questions?

Many questions will be answered by consulting the MIT Media Lab website, regarding applications and admissions to our Media Arts and Sciences (MAS) graduate program, or by consulting the Media Lab’s Program in Media Arts and Sciences Admissions Office.

Additional logistical questions for the admissions to the Opera of the Future Group may be directed to Kelly Donovan (ked03@media.mit.edu).

When possible, Professor Tod Machover may occasionally reply to specific questions, although he will not have the time to answer all admissions correspondence.