Say goodbye to percussion and string sections at your favorite music halls. The future is bringing a new type of ensemble: one filled with computer musicians. The stages are now being taken by around 15 people on pillows with their MacBooks in hand. Next to each of them is an omni-directional speaker which they have created from an IKEA salad bowl. They are being led by a virtual conductor and running their ideas through a programming language, called ChucK, which is their primary software platform for sound synthesis/analysis, instrument design, performance, and education.
The idea began at Princeton from creators Dan Trueman and Perry Cook and quickly spread to Princeton under the leadership of Ge Wang. You can find them performing under the names of PLOrk and SLOrk. They have the ability to emulate anything from a philharmonic to an electronic band. Take a deeper look into the world of laptop orchestras through the videos below.