The Princeton Laptop Orchestra made its Carnegie Hall debut recently as part of Playing it UNsafe, “the nation’s first professional laboratory for the creation of cutting-edge new orchestral music.” Catherine Rampell blogged the event yesterday for the Chronicle of Higher Education.

The New York Times described PLOrk’s contribution this way:

“In Dan Trueman’s appealing “Silicon/Carbon: An Anti-Concerto Grosso” members of the Princeton Laptop Orchestra used computers to manipulate sounds made by the acoustic ensemble while adding rhythmic patter and rubbed-goblet peals. The results sounded something like a shimmering moment from a John Adams orchestral score stretched out indefinitely.”

PLOrk, under the auspices of Dan Trueman and Perry Cook, recently got a $238,000 grant from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation as part of its Digital Media and Learning Competition. Seventeen winning projects — PLOrk among them — were selected from 1,010 applications.

Trueman and Cook will be using the grant to make the instruments played in PLOrk as portable as electric guitars.

“The MacArthur grant will allow us to completely reinvent the PLOrk technology,” Trueman explains. “The history of musical instruments shows us that the music we imagine is inextricably linked to the instruments we make it with. It is hard to overstate how important this redesign might be for us.”

PLOrk also recently played at the Sonic Divergence festival. Here is some nice coverage by the Daily Northwestern.

This video takes you backstage for a recent PLOrk rehearsal. For a completely different style of reporting, check out this past coverage from Fox News (Ge Wang, a Princeton computer science Ph.D. now at Stanford, conducts).

Photo courtesy Alice Truong, The Daily Northwestern

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