Orchestras Meet Laptops: “Tech & Techno” Orchestra Preview

If you want an example of complex music technology, look no further than the symphony orchestra. This peculiar blend of instruments from different times and different cultures has to be the most musically complex entity in existence. But that hasn’t stopped the new music-centered American Composers Orchestra from asking how the orchestra could continue to evolve and assimilate new technology. This weekend in New York and Philadelphia, the American Composers Orchestra presents a concert mixing electronic music tech with the biggest acoustic sound on the planet, the orchestra. They’ve pulled all the stops: electric violin with laptop, laptop and turntablist …

READ MORE →

London Synthesis Orchestra: All-Synth Ensemble Playing

Here’s an instrumentation for the analog lover: a room full of modular analog synths and analog keyboards, packed with classics from Moog, Yamaha, Roland, and Korg. Composer Matt Hodson writes to tell us about his “London Synthesis Orchestra,” an ensemble filled entirely with synths: My latest project … ‘the London Synthesis Orchestra’. Based on using scores influenced by Cage and I-ching I am exploring and diverging into the ‘sound object’ using nothing but synthesis and un-conventional scoring schemes… not to mention my Orchestra. Classic improvisational techniques from these composers do seem well-suited to the medium; could more synth ensembles be …

READ MORE →

Video Games Live, Reviewed: Symphony Orchestra Gets Serious about Game Music

CDM’s resident game composer W. Brent Latta was lucky enough to get to see Video Games Live in Seattle, a major concert of game music, new and old. Unfortunately, concerts in other markets have been cancelled (see VGL announcement and a message from organizers Tommy Tallarico and Jack Wall), though hopes are high for more dates in 2006. Brent, meanwhile, brings good news about the enthusiasm surrounding new music for games. -PK

READ MORE →

ReFilling Reason: Serious Session Drums, Miroslav Choir and Orchestra

Reason running luxurious choirs, orchestras, and multisampled drum kits? Absolutely. Sure, you could run sample libraries in any number of software samplers. But Reason is inexpensive, portable (thanks to ReWire), easy on system resources, and friendly to use (especially with Reason 3’s new features). Soundware libraries like the Sonic Refills series have been out for a while. But what about heavy-duty, multisampled sounds? If that doesn’t say “Reason” to you, two ReFills announced this month could change your mind: IK’s Miroslav Orchestral ReFills, and Propellerhead’s own Drum Kits 2.0.

READ MORE →

Shipping Watch: Miroslav Philharmonik, Sibelius 4, Peak Pro 5, More

Here’s a quick look at new products that are now on their way to you: Orchestral Sound Libraries: IK Multimedia’s massive Miroslav Philharmonik is now shipping, as of today. (Why does that give me images of cellists being packed in crates and loaded on container ships?) Added reason to buy it now: introductory price of US$499 / $349 crossgrade. [previously: new stuff from IK, new virtual orchestras at a glance] And don’t forget, MOTU’s Symphonic Instrument is shipping, too. [MOTU site] Sibelius 4 is shipping; I just got my box Monday via UPS. Finale 2006 has been out a couple …

READ MORE →

More Free Beethoven Orchestras (Limited Time)

It’s nice to see the Web abuzz about digital music downloads of one of the great geniuses of all time, instead of, you know, just another that mash-up. In that spirit, I point you to BBC’s Radio 3 for hours of great weekend listening: Beethoven Symphonies 6-9, BBC Radio Orchestra They’re quite decent recordings, though if you really love them you’ll probably want the uncompressed CD BBC will release. Gianandrea Noseda really ripped through Beethoven 5, and now some of Ludwig van’s mature masterpieces are in store. But act now, because starting Monday July 4, the downloads will start to …

READ MORE →

CDM Radio Pick: Free Beethoven, New Music – Radio 3

CDM Radio of the Week For music, you can’t beat the Beeb, and the UK radio conglomerate is now easy to hear in the rest of the world thanks to some of the best net radio support on the Earth. Just don’t overlook the high-brow Radio 3 because you think it might be stuffy. Quite the contrary; check out some highlights: Beethoven’s symphonies are available for free download for a limited time. (Right now 1-5 are there as MP3s; others later this month. Played by the BBC Phil, of course!) New Music section features a message board and some hip …

READ MORE →

Orchestras Take on Mario, Zelda, Aphex Twin

Relic? Think again. Orchestras are taking on digital-age music. IGN reports video game composers Tommy Tallarico and Jack Wall have become orchestral concert producers with “Video Games Live,” an “immersive” audio/visual experience. Part of the immersion involves the L.A. Philharmonic playing Mario and Zelda. Wall says “Videogame music is not bleeps and bloops anymore.” Um, don’t tell that to the chiptune/Game Boy music scene that has embraced that very sound for new music. Meanwhile, a Roman EM411 reader reports the London Sinfonietta, on tour in Italy, tried a Warp Records-inspired program, mixing in Warp music videos, live DJing and laptop …

READ MORE →

Kontakt 2 Samples: Orchestra, Pianos, and Loops, oh my!

Native's soon-to-ship flagship sampler Kontakt 2 wowed audiences at its unveiling earlier this year, but some of its features seemed a little too advanced to be of general appeal — how many of us will really be creating surround-sound patches? If you weren't sold then, Native Instruments is sweetening the deal with an insane collection of new samples: Special version of Vienna Symphonic Library Steinway D Grand, August Forester Concert Piano with 10 velocity layers Sampled electric and acoustic guitars — the acoustic instrument came from a library of 3,500 guitar samples(!) Church organs, including a 5.1 surround cathedral organ …

READ MORE →