SCLOrk (the Santa Clara Laptop Orchestra) is an innovative ensemble of up to sixteen players dedicated to the creation and performance of live electronic music. Created in the Spring of 2012 by SCU faculty Bruno Ruviaro and students, this interdisciplinary group explores the intersection of music composition, live performance, human/computer interaction, programming, and sound design, with emphasis on musical creativity based on cutting-edge technologies.
Along with the fun of music making and creative coding, SCLOrk strives to keep an eye on the culture, context, and social impact of the rapidly changing landscape of modern electronic music. The ensemble actively seeks collaborations with national and international artists and researchers, with results feeding back into the local electronic music scene.
SCLOrk meets officially as a class (MUS 157) once a year (usually in the Winter), and unofficially throughout the rest of the year in an ad-hoc basis. SCLOrk is open to all SCU students. Space permitting, enthusiastic faculty and staff may also become members. No audition or previous music background required. Rehearsals include a lot of hands-on fun with electronic sounds, in a creative environment that blurs the distinctions between performer, composer, and instrument maker. Each SCLOrk station includes a peculiar combination of equipment such as a laptop, a coffee table, Wii Remote and pad controllers, a loudspeaker, and a yoga mat. The class culminates with a concert at the end of the quarter.
The Big Picture
SCLOrk builds upon the shared experience of other similar ensembles such as the Princeton Laptop Orchestra (PLOrk), Stanford Laptop Orchestra (SLOrk), and the Linux Laptop Orchestra (L2Ork) from Virginia Tech.
There is a lot of research on the origins and motivations of creating a laptop orchestra; we encourage you to read some of the great available resources available on the websites of those pioneer ensembles. Some of the interesting questions and topics brought up by laptop orchestras are:
- How can we reinvent the traditional orchestra model for the 21st century?
- What is an electronic music instrument? What are the challenges of creating a new instrument?
- How does a networked ensemble change the ways we create and perform electronic music?
- Reconciling Arts and Sciences: what can we learn from the rich, multidisciplinary educational environment of the laptop orchestra?
Recent SCLOrk performances
Annual concert at SCU Music Recital Hall
Each SCLOrk station consists of:
- Laptop (Dell Vostro 2420, IntelCore i3, 4GB RAM, 320GB HD) running Ubuntu Linux 12.04
- USB audio interface (Native Instruments Komplete Audio 6)
- Loudspeaker (JBL LSR 2300)
- Wii Remote and Nunchuck controllers
- QuNeo 3D pad controller
- Korg nanoKONTROL
- Colorful yoga cushions
- Small laptop tables
- Cables, cables, cables
All laptops run Ubuntu Linux with a lowlatency kernel. Each laptop is loaded with a nice collection of open source music software such as SuperCollider, Pd, Ardour, SooperLooper, Hydrogen, and many others. Most of our pieces are made with SuperCollider and Pd (PureData).
Contact Bruno Ruviaro for more information.