April 21, 2010

SIUC to host Virginia Tech Laptop Orchestra

by Andrea Hahn

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- “Orchestra, is everyone logged on?”

The Virginia Tech Laptop Orchestra powers up at Southern Illinois University Carbondale on Thursday, April 22, as guest artists of the School of Music.

The orchestra, accompanied by the siuIU -- the Southern Illinois University Improvisation Unit -- and music faculty percussionist Ron Coulter, presents a free concert beginning at 6 p.m. in the Old Baptist Foundation Recital Hall.

For those who like to know how things are done, the orchestra presents a lecture and demonstration beginning at noon that same day in Altgeld Hall, Room 112. The lecture/demo is free and open to the public, too.

The orchestra, also known as L2Ork, is part of the Virginia Tech Music Department Digital Interactive Sound and Inter-media Studio. Their specialty is blending modern technology and classical Western music tradition. The multi-media performance that results sees laptops as instruments that have a multitude of possible uses. The SIUC concert and lecture is part of the group’s spring 2010 Midwest tour.

The siuIU is a student ensemble that explores non-idiomatic improvisation, and is one of the few of its kind in the academic world. Coulter founded the group during the spring 2008 semester as a way to promote the kind of musical improvisation that goes beyond expected musical expressions, making a sort of genre-less music that is always new and sometimes startling.