(Source:  LSU Office of Communications & University Relations)

LSU is set to host a unique gathering of musicians from around the world who use technology as instruments to capture and express their artistic creativity.

The first-ever Symposium on Laptop Ensembles and Orchestras, or SLEO, is an international workshop on music performance using mobile devices and laptop computers. The symposium will take place April 15-17 on the LSU campus and will offer workshops for those wishing to learn about mobile and laptop ensembles, as well as peer-reviewed papers and panels to discuss the state-of-the-art and best practices of this exciting new genre of music performance and music technology.

During the three-day symposium, SLEO will gather current and future practitioners for a workshop and symposium exclusively dedicated to the topic of laptop ensembles and orchestras, or LEOs. The symposium will address the use of all types of mobile devices, including laptops, tablets and handheld devices, along with other relevant hardware and software for live group performances.

“SLEO will be the very first assemblage of leading researchers, composers and performers who work with music ensembles comprised of laptop computers and mobile devices like phones, iPads and other such devices,” said Stephen David Beck, director of the LSU School of Music and of the LSU-based Laptop Orchestra of Louisiana. “The most exciting part of the conference will be concerts by some of the world’s leading ensembles, performing at the LSU School of Music Recital Hall as well as at the Varsity Theatre.”

SLEO will feature presentations, workshops and performances with the goal of making the event an important venue to both capture and exchange best practices in this rapidly evolving area of music technology, Beck added.

“We have assembled an impressive program committee that includes leading figures in this area of study who will peer-review all submissions for inclusion in SLEO,” he said, adding that the symposium will feature a keynote address by Dr. Ge Wang, director of the Stanford Laptop Orchestra and co-founder of social music website Smule.

As part of the symposium, submissions were accepted from locations throughout the world in the forms of workshops, papers, panel discussions, posters, demonstrations and music compositions for LEOs. Topics included best practices in composition; rehearsal; performance; techniques used in composing for LEOs; software and network management; history and aesthetic theory of LEOs; teaching and pedagogical strategies; hardware including audio, interface, computers and loudspeakers; software environments and frameworks; and composers’ perspectives on their own musical compositions.

“The goal of the meeting is to help establish a set of best practices for laptop ensembles, presentation of cutting edge technologies – like the hemispherical speakers that are used by both Sideband and the LOLs – and workshops to help aspiring electronic musicians begin their own laptop or mobile ensembles,” Beck said. “Never before has a group of such leading researchers convened to discuss the future of laptop-generated music.”

As part of the symposium, performances will be presented by groups including the Mobile Performance Group of Stetson University, Sideband of Princeton University, the Linux Laptop Orchestra from Virginia Tech University, the European Bridges Ensemble from Germany and LSU’s LOLs. There will also be an attempt to set the record for the world’s largest laptop orchestra with the participation of all SLEO attendees.

Beck said that SLEO is not an organization, nor is it professional society. Rather, it is a venue for discussion and community building whose focus is on establishing laptop ensembles as viable performing ensembles at universities and in public spaces.

“SLEO was created to address the critical needs of the burgeoning field of mobile ensembles,” Beck said. “Our objective is to consider best practices in the field, create standards for classification and archiving, and to build a community of practitioners who want this unique medium to grow and thrive.”

The symposium is sponsored by the LSU Center for Computation & Technology, or CCT, the LSU AVATAR Initiative in Digital Media and the LSU School of Music, with cooperation from Princeton University and Stetson University.

Registration is still open, with on-site student registration for $135.00. Registration includes access to all workshops and symposium sessions, an opening reception & crawfish Boil on April 15, lunches on April 16 and April 17, admittance to concerts on the evenings of April 16 and 17 and on-campus transportation for the entire symposium.

For more information on the 2012 Symposium on Laptop Ensembles & Orchestras, visit http://sleo2012.cct.lsu.edu.

To learn more about the Laptop Orchestra of Louisiana, visit http://laptoporchestrala.wordpress.com.


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