The Stanford Laptop Orchestra (SLOrk) is a large-scale, computer-mediated ensemble that explores cutting-edge technology in combination with conventional musical contexts.
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 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 automation to provide a sonic canvas on which to experiment with, create, and perform music.
Offstage, the ensemble serves as a learning environment that explores music, computer science, composition, and live performance in an interdisciplinary way.
SLOrk uses the ChucK programming language as its primary software platform for sound synthesis/analysis, instrument design, performance, and education.