Beta Test was formed in 2011 by Douglas Laustsen, Steve Lakawicz, and Ellis Jasenovic. Our goal was to create a multifaceted chamber ensemble that performed music with a geeky flavor. Music that fell under this description included classic video game tracks, awesome television and film scores, and works from the classical and contemporary repertoire that resonated in some way with geekdom. The group’s first performance was on May 6, 2011 at Philadelphia’s now defunct Bookspace. Since then, we’ve performed throughout Philadelphia, New York City, and New Jersey. Beta Test has also been featured on showcases by LocalArtsLive and at NerdNite Philadelphia.
We’ve been lucky to premiere new works written for them by composers Melissa Dunphy and Nat Evans. They’ve transcribed and performed Schubert, Gesualdo, and Gabrieli. Television and movie transcriptions have included Doctor Who, Beetlejuice, and Firefly. They have arranged and performed music from many video games, including the Mega Man series, Sonic the Hedgehog, Castlevania, Super Mario Land, and many more.
In 2013 we began working with more electronic instruments and software to increase their sound possibilities. We’ve begun working with 8-bit sounds, and we’ve begun creating arrangements that emphasize our own personal take on the music we cover.