The Mobile Phone Orchestra

TitleThe Mobile Phone Orchestra
Publication TypeBook Chapter
Year of Publication2010
AuthorsWang, G., G. Essl, and H. Pentinnen
Book TitleOxford Handbook of Mobile Music Studies
PublisherOxford University Press
Keywordsccrma, mobile phone orchestra, mopho, stanford

The Mobile Phone Orchestra (MoPhO) is a new repertoire-based ensemble using mobile phones as the primary musical instrument. While mobile phones have been used for artistic expression before, MoPhO is the first ensemble of its kind and scale, employing more than a dozen players and mobile phones that serve as compositional, research, performance, and educational platforms. MoPhO was founded in Fall 2007 at Stanford University’s Center for Computer Research in Music and Acoustics (CCRMA) and performed its debut concert in January 2008.  Since then it has spawned new ensembles at the University of Michigan, as well as in Berlin and Helsinki, and has performed in Genova, Belfast, Helsinki, San Francisco and Berlin. We chronicle the motivation and the process of creating such an ensemble and the repertoire of MoPhO’s first performances. MoPhO aims to demonstrate that mobile phones orchestras are interesting technological and artistic opportunities for new types of music-making.