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Hard Drives in Harmony

SCU’s Laptop Orchestra reimagines the way we use computers to create music

Santa Clara University’s Laptop Orchestra, affectionately known as SCLOrk, will perform on Wednesday, June 4, at 7:30 p.m. in the Music Recital Hall. The orchestra started about a year ago under the direction of Bruno Ruviaro, assistant professor of music. Each laptop has its own speaker to replicate the orchestral model, in which each instrument’s sound comes from a different place.

The musicians do more than “just hit ‘Play’ and ‘Enter,’ ” Ruviaro said. “If I have 16 people playing, I give each of them a meaningful part of their own.”

Ruviaro said laptop orchestras are “reinventing chamber music,” moving from lone individuals creating music on a computer to having groups of people play together using their computers as live instruments.

“The connection between musicians and technology has always existed,” Ruviaro said. “There was a moment in society when laptops became really cheap. Musicians were jumping on it and saying, ‘How can I make music for this machine?’ When the  piano was invented, Beethoven was one of the first people to jump on it and say, ‘I want to create music on this new machine.’”

For tickets, go to or call 408-554-4015.


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