Laptop Orchestra (SLOrk) is a large-scale, computer-mediated ensemble
and classroom that explores cutting-edge technology in combination with
conventional musical contexts - while radically transforming both.
Founded in 2008 by director Ge
Wang and students, faculty, and staff at Stanford University's Center
for Computer Research in Music and Acoustics (CCRMA), this unique ensemble
comprises more than 20 laptops, human performers, controllers, and custom
multi-channel speaker arrays designed to provide each computer
meta-instrument with its own identity and presence. The orchestra fuses a
powerful sea of sound with the immediacy of human music-making, capturing
the irreplaceable energy of a live ensemble performance as well as its
sonic intimacy and grandeur. At the same time, it leverages the
computer's precision, possibilities for new sounds, and potential for
fantastical automation to provide a boundary-less sonic canvas on which to
experiment, create, and perform music.
Offstage, the ensemble
serves as a one-of-a-kind learning environment that explores music,
computer science, interaction design, composition, and live performance in
a naturally interdisciplinary way (it's also a cross-listed course
in Music and Computer Science). SLOrk uses the ChucK programming language as
its primary software platform for sound synthesis/analysis, instrument
design, performance, and education.