Survey: Center for Contemporary Music

Posted August 05, 2010 by Anonymous
Part 1.
Year Founded: 
1b. Primary activity[ies] of the organization.: 
education - Mills College; recording, electronic, & computer music studios
1c. Organization's annual budget.: 
$0 - $50,000
1b. Primary activity[ies] of the organization.: 
Presenting Organization
Part 2.
2a. Mission Statement: 
For forty years, the Center for Contemporary Music has been at the forefront of developments emphasizing experimental methods in contemporary music and its allied arts and sciences. In 1966, the San Francisco Tape Music Center (founded in 1961) moved to Mills College and became the Mills Tape Music Center, and later, the Center for Contemporary Music (CCM). Since its inception, this organization has achieved a strong international reputation as a leading center for innovation in music. CCM maintains a variety of electronic equipment, instruments and studios, provides instruction and technical assistance, and archives audio recordings. These are available for use by qualified graduate and undergraduate students, faculty and staff. The Center also performs a wide variety of community services in the arts, including public concerts and lecture series, informational and technical assistance, and artist residencies. CCM functions as an important resource center for the Bay Area’s community of composers and artists and contributes to CCM’s atmosphere of exciting collaboration and information exchange among students, faculty, staff and outside professionals.
Website Link to Mission Statement:
2b. Organization History / Organizational Overview. Index of important events in organization's history.: 
For more than three decades, the Center for Contemporary Music (CCM) has played a leading role in the development of new music. CCM’s prehistory dates back to the early 1960s, a time when composers in the United States increasingly recognized the enormous potential of electronic music. In the 1950s, this new and exciting musical resource had captured the imagination of composers active in Milan, Paris, and Cologne. During the following decade, these developments began to reverberate across America. Composers at the Columbia-Princeton Electronic Music Studio in New York, at the electronic music studio at the University of Illinois at Champagne-Urbana, at the San Francisco Tape Music Center, along with members of the composer’s collective called the Once Group in Ann Arbor, Michigan were busy exploring the expressive possibilities inherent in electronic media. As composer Ramon Sender noted, just as it was once the case "that every composer must confront Arnold Schoenberg’s Method of Composing with Twelve Tones and come to some sort of working agreement with it; today the composer cannot afford to ignore the experience of working with tape" (Ramon Sender, "The San Francisco Tape Music Center: A Report," unpublished manuscript, 1964, p. 5). The San Francisco Tape Music Center was founded in 1961 by Morton Subotnick, a former member of the Mills College Music Department, and Ramon Sender, who received his M. A. in composition from Mills in 1965. Although the original impetus behind its formation was to meet the needs of a small group of composers--including Sender, Subotnick, Pauline Oliveros, Terry Riley, and Anthony Martin--who needed access to equipment and a venue to present concerts of experimental music, the Tape Music Center quickly developed a unique philosophy and aesthetic mission. The 1960s saw the emergence of a counterculture movement in the United States. Artistic communities throughout the country were not unaffected by this development. The counterculture was particularly strong in San Francisco. It is thus not surprising that the founders of the Tape Music Center defined themselves in terms of a new musical sub-culture, an alternative to the artistic paralysis characteristic of musical institutions across the country. "There is a growing awareness on the part of young composers all over the country that they are not going to find the answers they are looking for in analysis and composition seminars of the academies. Some retreat from the "avant-garde" music environment, live marginally on the fringe of the community, or attempt to work isolated from musicians and concert groups. They have insulated themselves by this isolation from the sickness of culture, but too often also from their own creative potential. Others have banded together and have produced concerts of their works outside of the usual organizations" (ibid., pp. 3-4). Public access was at the core of the Tape Music Center’s artistic mandate. Its organizers saw the Center as a community-sponsored composer’s guild, which would offer the young composer a place to work, to perform, to come into contact with others in his field, all away from an institutional environment. Each composer would through his contact with the Center, be encouraged to fulfill his own musical needs and develop his own personal language. He would have the advantage and support of all the facilities of the Center, for rehearsals and performances of his music, for contact with other musicians and composers, for work in the electronic music studios. He would be encouraged to involve himself in the musical life of the community-at-large. The community in turn would be offered the services of the Center as a music-producing agency for films, for plays, for churches and schools. Such a program, carried through in detail, could produce a revolution. It would, I believe, in five years time, create a new cultural environment in at least our local area. Working closely with musicians organization and cultural and civic groups, it could break up some of the stagnant areas of our own local cultural environment, such as the traditional repertory of symphony and opera, the pork-barrel city band, the entrenched conservatism of some of the chamber-music organizations (ibid.). Throughout its five-year existence (1961-66) the San Francisco Tape Music Center presented dozens of unique concerts of contemporary music; it also supported the development of new technologies, including Don Buchla’s modular synthesizer--the "Buchla Box." There was an emphasis on breaking down disciplinary boundaries, especially between audio and visual media. Ramon Sender’s Desert Ambulance--for accordion, tape, slides, and film--and Morton Subotnick’s Mandolin--for viola, tape, slides, and view-graph projection--are examples of this pioneering work in "mixed media." During his association with Mills College in the late 1930s and early 1940s, John Cage approached Aurelia Reinhardt, the college president at that time, for funds to establish a center for experimental music at Mills. Although Reinhardt was excited by Cage’s plan, funding was not available. It was not until more than twenty-five years later, through a generous grant from the Rockefeller Foundation, that Cage’s dream became a reality. The grant stipulated that a center "for the composition, study, and performance of contemporary music" be established at Mills. This allowed the San Francisco Tape Music Center to move to Mills in the summer of 1966. Pauline Oliveros became the first director of the Mills Tape Music Center (later re-named the Center for Contemporary Music). Anthony Martin was the visual director, and William Maginnis, the studio technician. Residency at a private academic institution may have first been at least a little troubling to the anti-establishment contingent of creative artists associated with the San Francisco Tape Music Center. But Mills had its own tradition of radicalism and innovation dating back to the 1930s and 40s when Henry Cowell, John Cage, and Lou Harrison taught and performed at the College. Moreover, while Darius Milhaud, who was on the faculty from 1941-71, wrote music in a more traditional style, he was still interested in electronic music and supported the efforts of his younger colleagues and students. In 1966-7 composers working in the Mills Tape Music Center joined forces with the Mills Performing Group, founded in 1963 by Morton Subotnick and Luciano Berio, for an exciting year of new music concerts and other events. In January 1967, Karlheinz Stockhausen gave a lecture-presentation on his then work-in-progress, Momenti. There were Bay Area premieres of Stockhausen’s Mikrophonie No. 1, Telemusik, and Zyklus, and Luciano Berio’s Laborintus II. The concert series also featured first performances of Pauline Oliveros’ and Anthony Martin’s multi-media collaboration Hallo, Earl Kim’s They are Far Out, and Wearing the Earth, and a new work by Janice Giteck, who was at that time a composition student at Mills. Following her first year as director of the Mills Tape Music Center, Oliveros left for a teaching position at the University of California, San Diego. Martin departed for New York City to work with Subotnick at New York University. Oliveros’ successor, Jaap Spek--who had worked as Stockhausen’s technician--had only a brief tenure as director of the Center. He was followed by co-directors Lowell Cross and Anthony Gnazzo (1967-69). During this period, pianist and composer David Tudor lectured at the Center and participated in a performance of John Cage’s Variations IV in the College Art Gallery on January 16, 1968. Robert Ashley, who directed the CCM from 1969-81, created a new genre of twentieth-century opera. Facing the financial obstacles preventing the performance of modern operatic works, he composed a series of operas intended for television, several of which have now been performed in concert versions around the world. In the best of Tape Music Center traditions, they involve a joint effort utilizing a multi-media presentation with video, electronic music, and improvisation. Ashley created a spontaneous vocal style that is somewhere between speech and song. His libretti employ complex literary structures that have multiple levels of narrative and meaning. Just as was the case during the period of the San Francisco Tape Music Center, the Ashley years were marked by an often iconoclastic irreverence for institutionalized art; for example, incoming graduate students at the CCM were warned by the Center’s motto "if you’re not weird, get out!" But those who did remain became part of an extraordinary collaborative environment. Ashley’s organizational genius is evident in his operas as well as in the series of videos entitled Music with Roots in the Aether which document the work of an extraordinary group of American experimentalist composers including Gordon Mumma, Alvin Lucier, Pauline Oliveros, and David Behrman. During the 1970s, Ashley periodically shared the directorship of CCM with David Behrman. Behrman, a former member of the Sonic Arts Union (Behrman, Ashley, Gordon Mumma, and Alvin Lucier) specializes in live electronic music. Until the 1960s, most electronic music was designed to be played back to its audience on magnetic tape. Works by Behrman and his colleagues added a human element to electronic music. Behrman was among the first composer to write music in which music performers play conventional instruments that interact with computers in real time. This performance practice continues to thrive at Mills today. David Rosenboom, famous for his research on "brain wave" music, was director of the CCM from 1981-1990. His works involve multi-media, theater, interactive electronics, and improvisation. During his tenure at Mills, Rosenboom collaborated with Larry Polansky and Phil Burk in the development of a computer music language, HMSL or Hierarchical Musical Specification Language, now used around the world. Rosenboom is a pianist with an uncanny technique and a master improviser. Together with the legendary composer and multi-instrumentalist Anthony Braxton (who was a faculty member during that period) and percussion virtuoso William Winant he formed the group Challenge--a an ensemble that unites interactive electronics and improvisation with musical perspectives from around the world. Today, Maggi Payne and Chris Brown are co-directors of CCM. Payne is a composer, performer, interdisciplinary artist, and a recording engineer. As a composer, she specializes in music for electronic tape using a rich palette of sound ranging from synthesized to highly processed natural sound. Brown is an instrument builder, a pianist, and a composer. He has developed live electronic performance systems for interactive computer music and is a specialist in improvisational music and twentieth-century performance practice. They are joined by John Bischoff, CCM’s Studio Coordinator, and one of the pioneers of live interactive computer music; and by Leslie Stuck, CCM’s technical director. Darius Milhaud Professor of Composition Alvin Curran, a former member of the legendary improvisatory group, Musica Elettronica Viva, and one of the world’s leading composers of live electronic music and large-scale environmental sound works, is also in residence. Pauline Oliveros returned to Mills as the Darius Milhaud Professor of Composition in the fall of 1996, and continues her association with the CCM today, while also teaching at Rensselaer Polytechnic University in Troy, New York. With her return, the history of CCM completed a thirty-year cycle; much has changed, but those working at CCM today still share the aesthetic convictions that helped shape the San Francisco Tape Music Center more than three decades ago. Above all, the CCM remains a place where composers and performers working in new music can realize their own creative potential in an atmosphere of free-thinking musical pluralism not limited by the conventions of the academic mainstream.
Website Link to Organization's History / Organization Overview:
Website Link to Exhibition / Programming / Publishing History:
Part 3.
3a. Names and email addresses of Founders, Board Members, Directors or other key individuals:: 
Morton Subotnick
Additional Names and email addresses of Founders, Board Members, Directors or other key individuals: 
Ramon Sender
Additional Names and email addresses of Founders, Board Members, Directors or other key individuals: 
Pauline Oliveros
Additional Names and email addresses of Founders, Board Members, Directors or other key individuals: 
Anthony Martin
3b. Could any of these individuals assist in providing an oral history of your organization?: 
Part 4.
4a. Is organization currently active?: 
4b. Year activity suspended if no longer active.: 
Organization Still Active
Part 5.
5a. Type of organization at its founding.: 
Non-Profit [IRS certified]
5b. Type of organization currently, or at the termination of activities.: 
Non-Profit [IRS certified]
Part 6.
6a. Does the organization have an archive?: 
6b. Are there any short or long-term threats to the organization?: 
None / Not Applicable
6c. Other threats to the organization:: 
Are there other threats to your organization? Please describe below.
Part 7.
urgency as there are extensive tape archives that are deteriorating
7a. How important is to the organization to preserve the organization’s historical material. From 1 – Very Important to 5 – Not Important.: 
1. Very Important
7b. Has planning for the preservation and documentation of archive begun?: 
7c. Does the organization know how and where to seek expertise and assistance?: 
7d. Does the organization have specific concerns regarding starting an archive working with its historic materials?: 
Fiscal Need
Part 8.
8a. Is the organization's archives in the collection of another institution or promised to one?: 
8a. Location: 
We are part of the Music Department at Mills College. The Mills College library contains CD copies of the transfers of some of the tapes we hold in our archives, as well posters and programs.
8b. Archival materials are also located at:: 
Where are these locations?: 
Where are these locations? [I.E. Home / Office of Private Individual(s) (i.e. Former Board, Staff, Funders, etc)]
Part 9.
9. Does the organization maintain archives for any other organization.: 
IF YES to 9: 10a. Please describe:
Part 10c.
10c. How are arrangements made for access to archive?: 
The materials in the library are accessible to researchers, composers, faculty, and students. The online catalog is available at Search for Center for Contemporary Music for information re: transfers to CD.
Part 10d.
10d. Would you allow access in the future?: 
Part 10e.
10e. Under what circumstances would access to archives be allowed.: 
Researchers need to contact the library to make arrangements to view programs, posters, or listen to CD transfers. The CCM tape archives that have not been transferred are not accessible due to the possibility of damage.
Part 11.
The following questions address the historical materials (type, quantity and storage) of the organization. 11a. Paper Files and Documents: 
Artist Files
Financial Records
Other Paper Files
11b. Artwork and Documentation: 
Audiotapes [Any Format]
Oral History, Recordings and / or Transcripts
Other Audio Recordings (i.e. records, etc.)
CDs / DVDs [Pre-Recorded or CD-R / CD-RW / DVD-R / etc.]
Prints / Lithographs / Etchings / Screenprints / etc.
Other Artwork
11c. Press and Promotional Materials: 
Announcements, Mailing Cards, etc.
Newspaper / Magazine / Media Clippings
Posters / Flyers
Other Press or Promotional Materials:
11d. Printed Publications: 
Checklists / Performance Programs / Price Lists
Programs of Events
Other Printed Publications
11e. Other: 
Architectural Drawings / Floor Plan
Part 12.
12. What years does the materials cover?: 
Part 13.
13a. How is the material stored?: 
File Cabinets
Three-Ring Binders
Please describe: 
tape boxes
13b. Are some or all of these storage units “archival”?: 
I don’t know
Part 14.
14a. Estimated Number of Boxes or Milk-Crate Sized Storage Units: 
31 - 40
14b. Estimated Number of Archive Drawers: 
14c. Estimated Number of Archive Notebooks: 
14d. Estimated the total Linear Feet. ["Linear Feet" is standard measure of the quantity of archival materials on the basis of shelf space occupied or the length of drawers in vertical files or the thickness of horizontally filed materials. For example, a: 
I don’t know
Other Archive Storage Units - Please describe below.: 
10.5", 7", 5’ reels in boxes, DAT tapes in cases, cassettes in cases, video in cases, etc.
Part 15.
15. Is the historical materials - or archives - inventoried or catalogued in any way, either formally or otherwise?: 
Part 16.
16a. Is there a key, index or finding aid to the materials inventoried?: 
16c. Electronic Based:: 
Part 16 / Electronic Files & Archival Management
16f. Does the organization have a back-up program, or back-up schedule, for its electronic records and perform monitoring of its removable media (i.e. floppies, ZIP disks, CD-ROMs, DVDs, portable hard drives, etc.)?: 
16g. Who is responsible for working with the archival material?: 
Other - Please describe below.
Please describe: 
Maggi Payne and John Bischoff
Part 16 / Database
16d. What type of database software is in use?: 
Part 17.
17. How are new materials processed?: 
Electronic (Database, etc.)
Part 18.
18. What, if any, conservation methods are in place for both physical materials and electronic data?: 
Controlled Access
Part 19.
19. What type of climate-controls are present in the area[s] in which the archives are stored?: 
No or minimal climate controls [i.e. in an attic, basement, unheated / uncooled storage area, etc.]
Part 20.
20a. What are the goals for the historical materials for the next year?: 
build an archive storage room
20b. What are the biggest challenges to reaching these short-term goals?: 
finances and time
20c. What goals are in place for the historical materials for the next three to five years?: 
reorganize when move to archival storage room
20d. What are the biggest challenges to reaching these long term goals?: 
finances and time
20e. Are there any additional goals for the organizations historic materials?: 
to transfer all materials to contemporary media with multiple copies for access in library
Part 21.
21. Estimated cost to achieve these archival goals for the next year.: 
$70,001 - $80,000
Part 22.
22. Estimated cost to achieve these archival goals for the next five years.: 
$250,001 +
Part 24.
24. What archival issues could / should visual arts organizations address collectively in the next three to five years? Ranked from 1 (highest priority) to 5 (lowest priority).24a. Shared standards / protocols for digitization: 
Promote professional standards / protocols for digitization
Part 25.
25a. Is the organization a member of, or in contact with, any organizations concerned with archival issues?: 
25b. Who?: 
National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences (NARAS) Audio Engineering Society (AES)
Who executed this survey.: 
Maggi Payne
Is this survey complete and all appropriate questions answered?: