Of April Sages & SLEOs

Isn’t it ironic that I would finally find a few moments to blog right on April 1st? Now, who will actually believe anything I write? Add to that earlier prank on our Facebook page and we’re definitely not boding well in the “we’re-not-kidding” department.

So what’s new in the wondrous world of L2Ork? With the new Institute for Creativity, Arts & Technology (ICAT) research engine revving up, things have been particularly intense over the past couple of months. pd-l2ork development has been also intensifying. The latest version (no April fool’s joke) includes intuitive tooltips, infinite undo, an array of GUI improvements, and a revamped Wiimote connectivity.

The most notable development is the upcoming performance at the first international Symposium on Laptop Ensembles & Orchestras that will take place at Louisiana State University April 15-17. L2Ork will be one of the four guest ensembles (also featuring European Bridges Ensemble, LSU’s Laptop Orchestra Louisiana, Mobile Performance Group, and Princeton’s Sideband) performing on April 16th @ 10:30pm in the Varsity Theatre. Hope to see you there!

I am also pleased to report we’ve had two additional publications accepted to conferences, including aforesaid SLEO, and the upcoming NIME conference. One deals with our ongoing work on integrating Taiji mind-body practice, while other is explores our most recent project in collaboration with the Roanoke’s Boys & Girls’ Club of Southwest Vriginia.

The other day, most of the l2orkists added their own signatures on the beams that will soon find their way into the new Center for the Arts at Virginia Tech. The center will also be the home of the aforesaid ICAT. Until I upload the latest photos from my camera, check out our Twitter feed for a photo from the event.

Lastly, on April 30th, L2Ork will be also performing at home in the Studio Theatre as part of the spring 2012 DISIS event. We also have some special guests planned for this event so stay tuned for more exciting updates soon! Until then, happy April Sages day everyone :-)

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On the Road Again

L2Ork North-East Tour of 2012 Yep, it is that time of the year and L2Ork is getting ready for our first mini-tour of the 2012 with following performances and presentations:

February 19th @5pm — University of Maryland Baltimore County
February 20th @12pm — Rutgers University
February 21st @12pm — Temple University
February 21st @2:30pm — A talk at Community College of Philadelphia

Some of the PR is already up, so please make sure to check it out for more detailed info on the events. Hope to see you there!

Apart from the frantic tour preparations, things have been particularly busy on the recruitment front. L2Ork has again grown to over dozen members, many of whom have joined us less than a month ago. Needless to say, last couple of weeks were quite intense as everyone worked hard to get up to speed with the L2Ork repertoire. There are also a number of exciting announcements we would like to make, pertaining to our Spring itinerary as well as other related developments. So, as we work towards our next blog, here’s a quick update for pd-l2ork users. Pd-l2ork now features regular releases of both 32-bit and 64-bit versions. A bunch of updates have been made to improve responsiveness of the user interface and to squash a few lingering bugs and regressions and the latest version released earlier today is making its way online as I write this. I am particularly proud of the fact that pd-l2ork has been rock solid in terms of stability for over a year in rehearsals and performances alike. So, head over to our software page for more info…

Stay tuned for more updates!

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Happy Holidays!

Thank You Cards from the Gilbert Linkous ElementaryGiven the lack of fresh blogging on our front page, one might have begun to wonder if L2Ork had filed for whatever is the academic equivalent of Chapter 11. In part to dispel such unfounded concerns, it is my hope the following post is going to assure you L2Ork is not only still here, it is stronger than ever. It is simply that we’ve all been tremendously busy this past semester and as such our blogging activities have taken a back seat until things settled down a bit. So, what have we been up to?

Our membership has been on a steady rise and our infrastructure keeps improving on a daily basis. As a matter of fact, apart from upgrading to Ubuntu 10.04 (a.k.a. Long Term Support release), we’ve had a slew of pd-l2ork updates to the point we now maintain our own Git hub. Most recently, pd-l2ork has introduced infinite undo and a number of graphically-friendly editing options that should make creating pieces for the ensemble a breeze (belated warning: non-geek readers may want to simply skip the previous two sentences altogether :-).

Technical matters aside (as exciting as they may be), the fall has proven an intense semester, indeed. Apart from the Virginia State Fair which has also spawned flattering media coverage, L2Ork has also had shows at Ferrum College as well as Blacksburg’s Gilbert Linkous Elementary, where we’ve received standing ovations for performances of pieces I honestly worried would be too long and slow-paced for kindergarten, elementary and middle school children. With such thankful audience I must say that performance is definitely among my favorites. And as if that weren’t enough, kids from the entire school have drawn and mailed us literally dozens upon dozens of thank you cards featuring scenes and student impressions from our performance! Finally, in early November, I took a trip down to Texas A&M for an invited lecture and performance as part of the award L2Ork received this past February.

All in all, it’s been a busy semester and with the newfound Virginia Tech Institute for Creativity, Arts & Technology (ICAT) now in full swing, it appears the next semester will be even more intense (more on that soon…). So, while we are all trying to catch our collective breaths, spend some quality time with our families, and indulge in eggnog, I invite you to check out latest version of pd-l2ork, visit our YouTube page, join our Facebook page, or follow us via our new Twitter account (many thanks to L2Orkists for their initiative on this one!). I wish you all very best for the Holidays and a Happy New Year!

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L2Ork Goes to the Fair

It’s been a while since we posted anything here. Rest assured, this is not because we’ve somehow forgotten about L2Ork or worse yet given up right when things got really exciting. Rather, the beginning of a semester is always a busy time for everyone involved and this year was no exception. So, to remedy the acute lack of fresh blogs, I am hereby posting a brief but nonetheless exciting announcement about our upcoming visit to the Virginia State fair. From September 29th until October 9th, L2Ork will be manning a booth with promotional materials and demo stations for visitors to explore. On the last two days of the fair (October 8th an 9th) L2Ork will be also performing four concerts on the Fair’s main stage. This will also be the first time the ensemble will require a full-blown PA system as we will be performing on an outdoor stage. Should be fun!

So, if you are in the area, stop by and say hi! :-)

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There and Back Again

L2Ork in ParisCan’t believe we are less than four hours away from home. Currently waiting at Newark airport for our last connection to Charlotte, NC where Michael and Alec will be waiting with two 12-passenger vans to take us back to Virginia Tech (approx. 2.5 hour ride from the airport).

Looking back, it’s been an amazing three weeks full of surprises, twists, turns, curve balls, and stories we all will be retelling for many seasons to come. More importantly, it’s been a tour filled with successful performances.

Last night, we played as part of the closing concert at the international NIME conference in Oslo, a performance that I think was particularly well received. As I write this, my computer is slowly chewing on the video footage which I will be uploading to our YouTube page as soon as it is done.

Yesterday, I also received an email informing me that another interview aired on Croatian National TV (HTV) as part of the e-Hrvatska show covering our performance in Zagreb. You can view the video here.

I would like to use this opportunity to once again sincerely thank our Stakeholders who have generously sponsored this gargantuan undertaking. Likewise, I would like to thank our guest soloists Ron Coulter and Aurora Martin who have been brave (crazy? :-) enough to partake in the tour. I would also like to acknowledge my European Colleagues who have helped me coordinate venue planning, Robin Gareus, Marc Groenewegen, and Martin Kaltenbrunner. Finally, I would like to thank all l2orkists for their selfless contributions and sacrifices that have made this tour possible. Have a great summer all! You’ve definitely deserved it!

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