Tagged: Brock Allen

After another tremendously busy year, virtual cobwebs have covered L2Ork’s front page. It is time for another mega-post, a year in review, if you like.

2015 has been an exciting year. Following my research leave in 2014, things were slowly revving up, only to kick in the high gear with the onset of the spring 2015 semester. With the highest enrollment yet, in January, 17 L2Orkists performed as part of the Band Camp in the beautiful Fife hall in the new Moss Arts Center. In March we had an opportunity to perform at University of Maryland Architecture’s “Great Space” where we were also interviewed by UMD’s Diamondback who published a really flattering article.

L2Ork performing Between at SEAMUS 2015

Spring was also a really busy time with the national SEAMUS 2015 3-day conference taking place at Virginia Tech with 14 concerts, two listening rooms, two installation locations, and six paper sessions and panels. L2Ork peformed Between in ICAT’s Cube in front of a standing room only audience as part of conference’s opening concert. The performance featured L2Orkist Brock Allen on the sax and the rest of the L2Orkists spread across two levels of catwalks. It was also the first L2Ork performance featuring the new Glasstra app for Google Glass that displayed network and FUDI-enabled GUI that was controlled via pd-l2ork, and a concealed Wiimote and Nunchuk that was used to conduct and switch between sections.

On April 9th, L2Ork had its second visit to the Ferrum College for an evening-long performance, followed by the April 19th School of Performing Arts’ Exposition scholarship fundraiser concert back at the Fife hall. Around the same time L2Ork did another photo session with the Spring 2015 generation of L2Orkists guided by the talented eye of Cooper Long. Finally, on May 4th, L2Ork performed as part of the Spring 2015 DISIS event and the annual ICAT day where we premiered two new works, including a really cool Insomniac composition by the L2Orkist Jacob Stenzel.

Summer was just as intense with two week-long Maker camps, the annual K-12 instrument building camp and the inaugural teachers’ Maker camp. With the addition of new objects, such as the complete General MIDI implementation within pd-l2ork K12 module, this year kids have taken instrument building to a whole new level. Speaking of which, Pd-L2Ork development continues at a rapid pace with a number of releases, including most recently the 20151018 release that introduces rtcmix~ external, Eric Lyon’s fftease and potpourri libraries, as well as the new autotune~ external. There is also a major new version (currently in the alpha stage) we are hoping to release sometime this academic year.

This fall, we also participated in a number of performances, including Virginia Tech’s Center for Human-Computer Interaction‘s 20th anniversary celebration, as part of the Electro-Acoustic Barn Dance festival where we premiered a new work by Eric Lyon, and perhaps most excitingly a recent outreach performance made possible by one of the summer teachers’ Maker camp participants, Stephanie Hufton at Botetourt County’s Read Mountain Middle School, where L2Ork performed in front of 300 incredibly enthusiastic middle school students and teachers. The event was also covered by the regional Roanoke Times whose Saturday newspaper front page and online flattering coverage really made our day.

So, all this brings me to perhaps the most exciting announcement. This summer, the international Alliance for the Arts in Research Universities, a non-profit organization with an amazingly exciting goal of establishing and validating the so-called transdisciplinary third space that in many ways defines L2Ork and its mission, put out a call for national transdisciplinary exemplars, the pool of applicants included top national institutions. Only six exemplars were selected  by the national peer review to be showcased at the upcoming a2ru conference scheduled for November 8-11, 2015 at Virginia Tech, and we are thrilled by the fact that L2Ork was one of them!

And so this brings us to roughly today, even though there are a few more pending announcements in the pipeline I will leave for the next blog, so stay tuned for more updates soon! All right, now that we are mostly caught-up, it’s time to get back to preparations for the upcoming a2ru conference. Hope to see you there!

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L2Ork @ DISIS Cubed

VT Provost Dr. Mark McNamee Playing a L2Ork Instrument at President Sands' Installation ShowcaseAs we recover from the last night’s DISIS event, first one to harness the full power of ICAT’s newfound Cube and its 128+ audio speaker array, I found myself enjoying a few minutes of downtime and figured it may be a good idea to share the latest updates in the land o’ L2Ork.

First and foremost, last night we had an *amazing,* if not one of the best DISIS events (right up there with the L2Ork debut) with standing room only audience and a number of people turned away due to capacity limitations. Don’t get me wrong–CUBE is not that large. Yet, the level of interest, particularly considering our Facebook event page shows barely 25+ in attendance, left a lasting smile on our faces. Still, we felt bad for those of you who made an effort to show up on a rainy Monday night and support us only to face closed doors. I wish we could somehow redeem ourselves in your eyes (ears?) and I sincerely hope being turned away did not ruin your evening. Perhaps this is a good excuse to start relying on CFA’s amazingly efficient ticketing system for all future DISIS events?

Last night’s event also featured a collection of fantastic guest artists (Elizabeth Hoffman and Sarah Plum), VT faculty artists (Jay Crone), as well as the ICAT’s pillar of all things technical (and artistic!) Tanner Upthegrove. Heck, the program even included my 2-minute Tornado simulation… We indeed pushed Cube’s infrastructural limits, engaging its 128-speaker array through a number of different spatialization approaches, from Wave Field Synthesis to customized Vector Based Amplitude Panning. All in all, a fantastic evening.

Little over a month ago, Virginia Tech installed its new President, Dr. Timothy Sands. L2Ork participated in installation festivities in a form of a student showcase, focusing on its ongoing K-12 outreach. In addition to a number of visitors, faculty, and students, our booth was also visited by Dr. Mark McNamee, Virginia Tech Provost, who stopped by to hone his L2Ork skills. We are truly flattered by the ongoing attention L2Ork continues to enjoy both as an artistic ensemble and a K-12 research hub. I am particularly thrilled by the recent post in dcist.com that highlighted L2Ork as one of the “8 Awesome Research Projects at Virginia Tech.”

L2Ork repertiore has grown quite a bit this semester with works from Eric Lyon, a reworked version of Between for L2Ork and Saxophone (performed by a talented L2Orkist and saxophonist Brock Allen), and soon we’ll have a piece by Charles Nichols. Our collection of pd-l2ork abstractions has also matured, allowing for rapid prototyping of new compositions. Speaking of pd-l2ork, we are now nearing a new milestone in software’s development with a new major release imminent. For the latest version, please check out our Software page. As we look forward, we will shift our focus to porting core pd-l2ork to the amazing and incredibly maleable Qt UI, thus paving way towards an entirely new iteration of our software of choice and finally moving away from the aging Tcl/Tk framework.

We’ve had an amazing group of L2Orkists this semester–thirteen strong for a thirteenth DISIS event in the Cube, or as we call it the inaugural DISIS Cubed event ;-). As of this semester, the L2Ork student organization is also back online. As we look forward to the next semester and the upcoming SEAMUS national conference that will be hosted here at Virginia Tech (March 26-28), we will be joined by Nicholas Rich who will be assisting with the rehearsals as well as writing for the ensemble. This will be a fantastic opportunity for L2Ork to show off in front of leading national computer music artists and researchers. Indeed, next semester is going to be an exciting one. Hence, if you are interested in joining the ensemble, there could not have been a better time to do so. You can simply register for the course online (look for MUS3314) and if you have any questions, do not hesitate to contact us. In the meantime, don’t forget to like us on Facebook and/or follow us on Twitter ;-)

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