Laptop orchestra

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A laptop orchestra (lork or LO) or laptop ensemble (LE) is a chamber music ensemble consisting primarily of laptops. Education based laptop orchestras include BLOrk (University of Colorado Boulder Laptop Orchestra), CLOrk (Concordia Laptop Orchestra), CMLO (CMU Laptop Orchestra, Carnegie Mellon), HELO (Huddersfield Experimental Laptop Orchestra), OLO (Oslo Laptop Orchestra), PLOrk (Princeton Laptop Orchestra), and SLOrk (Stanford Laptop Orchestra). City based laptop orchestras include BiLE (Birmingham Laptop Ensemble) and MiLO (Milwaukee Laptop Orchestra).


Concordia Laptop Orchestra (CLOrk) is an ensemble of laptop performers, consisting of up to 25 members, based at Concordia University's Music Department in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. Founded and directed by professor Eldad Tsabary, CLOrk specializes in networked and multidisciplinary performances and collaborations, such as with dance and video.[1]

CLOrk's first performance (January 2011) was a telematic collaboration with other laptop ensembles across Canada as part of the University of Calgary Happening Festival.[2] Since that performance, CLOrk has performed telematically on several occasions with other laptop ensembles (such as McMaster's Cybernetic Orchestra) and acoustic ensembles at New York University, University of California, San Diego, Queens University Belfast, Hamburg Hochschule of Music, University of California, Irvine, and Mustek duo (Edinburgh), among others, at international events such as Birmingham Network Music Festival,[3] ToBeContinued,[4] and Penta Locus.[5]

The laptop orchestra trend began with Princeton Laptop Orchestra (PLOrk)[6] in 2005 and continued with the emergence of many laptop orchestras and ensembles around the world,[7][8] each characterized by certain technological traits and artistic approaches. CLOrk is characterized by a non-uniform technological approach, based on the idea of "music first; technology follows," by its network music activities, by its collaboration with acoustic ensembles, and by its use of soundpainting conduction.[8]

Electro-Acoustic Ensemble[edit]

Electro-Acoustic Ensemble
Electro-acoustic ensemble logo.png
Electro-Acoustic Ensemble logo
Background information
OriginNew Orleans, Louisiana, USA
Genreselectro-acoustic music, experimental music
Years active2009–present
Paul J. Botelho

Current Members
Delerio Bailey
Josh Campbell
Lukas Cox
Elliot Downey
Ross Farbe
Jack Friese
Monty Goulet
Devin Hildebrand
Alex Marse
Wyatt O'Connell
Kristen Olsson
Stan Richardson II
Nathan Tellers

The Electro-Acoustic Ensemble is a laptop-based ensemble at Loyola University New Orleans. The ensemble was formed in January 2009 by professor Paul J. Botelho and is composed of thirteen performers. Custom software instruments are developed for the ensemble primarily using the ChucK and Java programming languages. The ensemble focuses on contemporary and classical electro-acoustic works and performs in a variety of situations with a special focus on guerrilla performance.

Notable performances[edit]

Futurist Manifesto was premiered at a guest lecture by philosopher Slavoj Žižek at Loyola University New Orleans on November 17, 2009. The work was based on the manifest of the Italian Futurists and included live recitation of the manifesto with computer manipulation. This work was also performed at the New Orleans Museum of Art on April 1, 2011 as a part of the museum's Where Y'Art? series.[9]

On December 4, 2009, the ensemble performed a twenty-four-hour meta-performance of Erik Satie's Vexations at Loyola University New Orleans. Notably, one audience member, pianist Michael Bennett, remained for the entire twenty-four hour performance.[10]

The ensemble performed a concert at McKeown's Books and Difficult Music, New Orleans, LA on March 26, 2011.[11]


The Princeton Laptop Orchestra (abbreviated PLOrk) is an ensemble of computer-based meta-instruments at Princeton University. PLOrk is part of research at Princeton University that investigates ways in which the computer can be integrated into conventional music-making contexts while also radically transforming those contexts. The Princeton Laptop Orchestra is a group of 12–15 persons and uses the “orchestra” (in a very general sense) as a model.

Each PLOrk “instrument” consists of a laptop, a multi-channel hemispherical speaker, and a variety of “control” devices (keyboards, graphics tablets, sensors). The members of this ensemble act as performers, researchers, composers, and software developers.


PLOrk was co-founded in 2005[12] by professors Perry Cook and Dan Trueman, with graduate students Scott Smallwood and Ge Wang, and funding and support from many Princeton University departments, organizations, and industrial affiliations. Composers and performers from Princeton and elsewhere developed new pieces for the ensemble, including Paul Lansky (Professor of Music at Princeton), Brad Garton (Director of the Columbia Computer Music Center), Pauline Oliveros, PLOrk co-founders Dan Trueman and Perry Cook, Scott Smallwood, Ge Wang, and others. The new PLOrk gave its first performance on April 4, 2006, in Richardson Auditorium, Princeton University. Grammy-winning tabla player Zakir Hussain, renowned accordionist Pauline Oliveros, and So Percussion also performed with the group. PLOrk has since performed at Dartmouth College, the Ear to the Earth festival (produced by the Electronic Music Foundation), ffmup and elsewhere. Several scholarly articles describing the motivations for establishing such an ensemble, the issues involved in composing for laptop orchestra, and pedagogical concerns, are currently in press. PLOrk was first presented academically at the 2006 International Computer Music Conference in New Orleans. The guest director of the PLOrk for 2007 was R. Luke DuBois.

Since the beginning, PLOrk has made extensive use of ChucK, a new music programming language created by Ge Wang and Perry Cook which allows the performers to develop new code both in preparation and in performance, and which serves as a primary teaching tool.

A number of composers from Princeton and elsewhere have been developing pieces for PLOrk that address the unconventional composition of the group. PLOrk works closely with these composers on their pieces with the aim of developing them further and further exploring a new branch of computer music and new media musical composition and performance.[13][14][15]


There are 15 PLOrk stations. Each station consists of a laptop with audio software; a rack containing an 8-channel audio amplifier, a power conditioner, and other electronic components; and a custom-made 6-channel hemispherical speaker. In April 2008, PLOrk began using a new hemispherical unit which combines the functionality of the old rack and speakers into one more portable device. The laptops are Apple 12" powerbooks, or more recently, 14" Macbooks. HCI devices include keyboard controllers, TriggerFinger interfaces, graphics tablets, Nintendo Wii remotes, and infrared, light, pressure, and tilt sensors. Additional gears include sitting mats and pillows, laptop lapdesk, and gears for transportation.

The PLOrk ensemble uses a variety of commercial and open-source software. Two audio programming languages, ChucK and Max/MSP are primarily used for pedagogy and performance.[16][17]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ La Leggia, Stephanie (April 7, 2012). "An orchestra made up of computers". The Montreal Gazette.
  2. ^ "Telematic Performance by the Concordia Laptop Orchestra". Concordia Music Department.
  3. ^ Cotton, Ross (January 24, 2013). "Network Music Festival returns to Birmingham for a second year". The Midlands Times of Greater Birmingham. Archived from the original on June 20, 2013.
  4. ^ "ToBeContinued Programme". stazione di topolò. Archived from the original on 2013-09-03.
  5. ^ "Live Stage: Penta Locus (Networked Music Review)".
  6. ^ "Laptop Orchestra trend started by Princeton University's PLOrk". The Future of Music. March 27, 2011.
  7. ^ "Laptop Orchestra Directory". esp-mcmaster.
  8. ^ a b "Laptop Orchestras". The International Association of Laptop Orchestras.
  9. ^ "Where Y'Art? at the New Orleans Museum of Art Friday April 1st". Arts New Orleans. Archived from the original on September 4, 2011. Retrieved April 4, 2011.
  10. ^ "Electro-Acoustic Ensemble gives 24-hour meta-performance". Loyola at a Glance. Retrieved April 4, 2011.
  11. ^ "An Evening of Difficult Music #31 feat. Electro-Acoustic Ensemble". Gambit - Retrieved April 4, 2011.
  12. ^ Rossing, Thomas; ed. (2015). Springer Handbook of Acoustics, p.773. Springer. ISBN 9781493907557.
  13. ^ "PLOrk Homepage".
  14. ^ Wise, Brian (30 April 2006). "But Where Do You Put The Capo on a Laptop?". The New York Times.
  15. ^ "American Composers Orchestra Adds Electronics to Zankel Hall Program". The New York Times. 28 April 2008.
  16. ^ "ChucK".
  17. ^ "Max/MSP".


External links[edit]