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CSULB Laptop Ensemble changes traditional concert music

Students compose and perform music through laptops.

Alex Ormeno-Manfredi, Staff Writer

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When thinking of an ensemble, most would think of a group of musicians in a semicircle of chairs getting ready to perform. Well, the Cal State Long Beach Laptop Ensemble is going to change that thought.

The ensemble strictly uses laptops and various softwares to make music. The group is currently made up of seven CSULB music students who work together to explore and perform interesting, synthesized sounds. It is a combination of computer music, contemporary sound art and interactive technologies that the group uses to put on a new-age musical.

“We operate more like an alternative-rock band than we do a traditional chamber music ensemble, because we develop the pieces together and we experiment and change them,” Director Martin Herman said. “It’s very collaborative, but it is still chamber music. We make chamber music with each other.”

The ensemble creates more classically-sounding music rather than electronic dance music, which many would think of when hearing that music is being made from computers. They try to find ways to make laptops into expressive instruments with their live, interactive music.

“I would characterize it as new, unusual, more experimental music. It is sound-art based, with a lot of avant-garde type of sounds. There are a lot of synthesized sounds and processing of instrumental colors,” Herman said.

The Laptop Ensemble will be performing in the Gerald Daniel Recital Hall on May 3 at 8 p.m. Tickets are $7 for CSULB students with ID and $10 for non-students. More information can be found on the Bob Cole Conservatory of Music website.

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