Student ensemble creates music from unlikely source
THE SANTA CLARA
October 30, 2014
Not all students perform live using flutes and trombones.
Santa Clara Laptop Orchestra was listed among the top 25 best-kept secrets of the Silicon Valley in the most recent issue of the South Bay Accent magazine.
The orchestra is comprised of around 16 students who use their laptops to create and perform live music.
The ensemble performs experimental electronic music, and combines natural sounds with sounds from computer codes.
Members create their own pieces using software such as SuperCollider and Fabla.
Music professor Bruno Ruviaro directs the ensemble. According to Ruviaro, because the group is an orchestra, creating live electronic music is challenging.
Ruviaro said that the sound of each individual performance is unique because of the interfaces that the group uses.
The music features combinations of sounds and software, such as drum pads, Wii Remote controllers and the laptop keyboard itself.
The laptop orchestra was first created in 2012 as a course offering to undergraduates and has since grown to include ensemble performance and research.
The group performs annually in the Music Recital Hall in spring but has also performed at the Google Research Lab and at SubZERO, a street art festival in downtown San Jose as well as with the SCU Chamber Singers at last year’s Festival of Lights.
“It is a very exciting group to make music with,” Ruviaro said. “I have learned that as long as you give people tools, time and opportunity to exercise their creativity, great things can happen.”
Sophomore Sabrina Aspiras, a member of the laptop orchestra, said that she had joined the group without any experience in creating laptop music. According to Aspiras, the skill is easy for anyone to pick up, even if they have a limited musical background.
“During performances when people are watching from the crowd you can’t really see what we’re doing on the laptops, but there’s a chat room open on all of our laptops and we’re just talking with each other,” Aspiras said.
The orchestra will be performing at the end of spring quarter on June 4.
Contact Victoria Juarez at firstname.lastname@example.org .