The Linux Laptop Orchestra, also known as “L2ork,” will perform four concerts at the Virginia State Fair and maintain a hands-on exhibit for the 11-day event held in Doswell, Va.
On Saturday, Oct. 8, the Virginia Tech ensemble will perform at 12:45 p.m. and 5:15 p.m. On Sunday, Oct. 9, L2ork will be a part of the grand finale, performing at 11 a.m. and 4:45 p.m. at the Theater Stage. The Virginia State Fair features daily celebrations that include fireworks, parades, and performances.
Combining traditional orchestra with contemporary technology
The Linux Laptop Orchestra consists of 10 Virginia Tech students, soloists, and director and founder Ivica Ico Bukvic of Christiansburg, Va., assistant professor of music in the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences.
L2ork members will assist fair-goers with a hands-on experience of the newfound instruments and provide information on how a laptop orchestra bridges the gap between the arts and sciences, integrating music, computer science, engineering, and math. The orchestra, composed of laptop computers and omnidirectional speakers hand-fashioned from inverted salad bowls, is performed with the graceful use and motion of Wii-motes, making choreography an integral part of the musical presentation.
This exhibit is appropriate for all ages. Because of its affordability, L2Ork can be imitated in primary and secondary education, where it may serve as a bridge between the arts and science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education. For example, the Roanoke Academy for Math and Science was outfitted for a five-station orchestra and is partnering with Virginia Tech. Fifth-grade children from the Boys & Girls Club of Southwest Virginia have teamed with L2ork members and have even participated in campus concerts.
About L2ork’s founding director
Described as an "interactive multimedia sculptor," Bukvic's research interests include composition, music technology, and human computer interaction. Bukvic, who is also the founding director of the Digital Interactive Sound and Intermedia Studio, was awarded first place in the international laptop orchestra commission competition, awarded in February 2011, for the revamped version of Half-Life composition for Linux Laptop Orchestra (L2Ork) and narrator, organized by the Electric Monster Laptop Ensemble at Montana State University.
Using free open source software, Bukvic has not only created the patches to run L2ork but also made software available to all. “This keeps costs low and provides a venue to demonstrate the robustness of this community-oriented software platform,” he says.
From sea to shining sea
Earlier this summer, L2ork embarked on a European tour that included eight countries in 21 days. The tour included peer-reviewed conferences, festivals, performances and shows in Linz, Austria; Ljubljana, Slovenia; Zagreb, Croatia; Hamburg, Germany; Amsterdam, The Netherlands; Paris, France; and Oslo, Norway. The group is not unfamiliar with life on the road, having performed across the Midwest, North Carolina, and Florida.
A large network of university stakeholders and external corporate entities sponsor the L2ork project.