New Music Ensemble
The CSULB New Music Ensemble, directed by Dr. Alan Shockley, consists of student performers and frequent faculty guests dedicated to performing contemporary music in a variety of genres. The ensemble has toured the state, and early on established a reputation as a first-rate performing group, particularly of new works with live electronics.
In recent years the NME has performed an hour-long rendition of Terry Riley's In C (hosting beforehand a Listening Lounge of new In C Remixes composed by CSULB composers), a complete version of Satie's proto-minimalist Vexations (all 840 repetitions!) reinterpreted throughout the day by various ensembles (including antiphonal sax sextet, vintage analog synth trio, electric guitar and electric bass, melodica trio, toy piano and tuba, and many others), provided an evening of works connected to Abstract Expressionist art in the University Art Museum (including a world premiere of a work for ensemble, narrator, and electronics), and hosted several evenings of different 60x60 mixes (each mix comprised of 60 one-minute electronic works by 60 different composers). In April 2011, the NME hosted a visit from famed experimental composer Christian Wolff and gave the world premiere of a work commissioned from Wolff, entitled Robert. Wolff also joined the ensemble on piano, performing a few of his Exercises.
In the 2011-12 academic year, the NME staged two large-scale happenings by John Cage (complete with a small dog parade, hula hooping, and soap bubble blowing), gave the world premiere of an ensemble work by Perry La Marca written expressly for the NME, performed a noise-based concert in the University Art Museum in conjunction with the Lou Reed Metal Machine Music exhibition, and performed a joint concert with the Cole Conservatory Laptop Ensemble (along with some special guest vocalists) of several works from John Cage's Song Books. In addition to the world premieres of works by Wolff and La Marca, the NME has also given recent world premieres of works by Randall Bauer, James Bohn, Alan Shockley, Andy Zacharias, Justin Scheid, and others. The ensemble regularly both workshops and gives public premieres of student works, and student composers are always invited to sit in on rehearsals or even to join the ensemble as performers.
The ensemble tackles works from the broad spectrum of contemporary composition, from traditionally notated fixed instrumentation works, to ones with graphic scores, text scores, and non-traditional or open instrumentation, from serial works to minimalist ones, from chance pieces, to rock influenced ones. Repertoire is drawn primarily from the last fifty years, with a particular focus on very recent works, and ones by American composers. Recent concerts have included works by George Crumb, Steve Reich, Morton Feldman, Christian Wolff, Anne LeBaron, Paul Lansky, Arvo Pärt, David Smooke, James Bohn, Shulamit Ran, Terry Riley, Alvin Lucier, Earle Brown, Karlheinz Stockhausen, David Lang, Martin Bresnick, Toru Takemitsu, Michael Daugherty, Justus Matthews, Frederic Rzewksi, James Tenney, John Cage, and many, many others.
The newly established Laptop Ensemble, directed by Dr. Martin Herman, performs music by student and faculty composers using laptop computers as the primary instruments.