Montana State University

MSU Electric Monster Laptop Ensemble sets Dec. 4 debut concert

November 18, 2009

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Tel: (406) 994-4571
The Montana State University Electric Monster Laptop Ensemble will perform its debut concert at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Dec. 4, at the Reynolds Recital Hall in the Howard Hall on the MSU campus. Admission is free.

In addition to the ensemble, other musicians from the MSU Department of Music will also perform at the concert.

Hsiao-Lan Wang, an MSU music professor who directs the new ensemble, said that she is often asked questions such as "What exactly does a laptop ensemble sound like?"

"The answer is: it can be pretty much anything you want it to be," Wang said. "Laptops, with their ease in mobility and connectivity, have revolutionized the way music is made."

For instance, Wang said that the Electric Monster Laptop Ensemble is currently playing pieces written in the programming languages Max/MSP, PureData, Java, Flash, and even PowerPoint.

"Synchronization of each laptop sometimes relies on a wireless network, while other times it relies on old-fashioned ears and eyes," she said. "Because laptop ensembles are technologically intense, the musical compositions tend to call for improvisation as a way to balance the demand that the technology requires."

Founded by Wang this fall, the Electric Monster Laptop Ensemble brings together the traditions of ensemble music and the computational power of the latest laptops. She said Electric Monster actively commissions new pieces written specifically for the ensemble from composers all over the world, as well as revitalizes established works in the experimental music genre. For more information on the ensemble, contact Wang at

Hsiao-Lan Wang, (406) 994-5743,