Canadian Electronic Ensemble | The Canadian Encyclopedia


Canadian Electronic Ensemble

Canadian Electronic Ensemble (CEE). Composer-performers' group founded in Toronto in 1971 by David Grimes, David Jaeger, Larry Lake and James Montgomery, "to promote the live performance of electronic music and thereby the composition of new repertoire for this medium.

Canadian Electronic Ensemble

Canadian Electronic Ensemble (CEE). Composer-performers' group founded in Toronto in 1971 by David Grimes, David Jaeger, Larry Lake and James Montgomery, "to promote the live performance of electronic music and thereby the composition of new repertoire for this medium." Grimes (b Salem, Mass, 9 Mar 1948; B MUS Berklee College of Music 1970, M MUS Toronto 1972; composer of Increscents, which won a prize in the 1976 CBC National Radio Competition for Young Composers) returned to the USA in 1986. Laura Wilcox performed with the group in 1995, then joined 1998-9. Michael Dobinson and Paul Stillwell joined in 1996, and Rose Bolton (winner of the 1995 New Music Concerts H.C. Aitken prize) replaced Wilcox in 1999. Dobinson left in 2006, and John Kameel Farah first performed with the group in 2007 and joined in 2008.

History and Accomplishments
The Canadian Electronic Ensemble gave its first concert in 1971, first appeared with New Music Concerts in 1972, set up its own studio in 1973, and established a regular annual concert series in 1974. The series has included electroacoustic works by Canadian composers, as well as from the US, Mexico, Argentina, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, and various countries in central and northern Europe. The group has performed throughout Canada, in the US and in Europe (1979, 1981, 1986, 1989). It has appeared at the CBC's Toronto Festival, the Okanagan Music Festival for Composers, and at World Music Week (1975), and has given concerts for NOVA MUSIC in Halifax, and for the Vancouver New Music Society. It performed at the 1984 ISCM World Music Days in Toronto, premiered Steven Gellman'sUniverse Symphony with the Toronto Symphony 8 Jan 1986, and later performed that work with the Vancouver and Ottawa symphony orchestras, and at the Festival internationale de Lanaudière. The ensemble has performed with the Orchestre Métropolitain de Montréal. As well, the CEE has presented several festivals, including CEElectric Spring (1987), which featured new works by composers from seven countries, and Wired Winter, a series that was part of the inaugural Quayworks concerts at Harbourfront in 1988. It also performed as an artist-in-residence in 1994 at the Banff Centre for the Arts and at the 2004 Sound Symposium in St. John's, NL.

The ensemble is the oldest continuous live-electronic group in the world. Before synthesizers became practical in live performance (early results were played on tape), its members sometimes designed and built their own instruments. Members of the group were artists-in-residence at York University in 1976, acted as music consultants for the Structured Sound Synthesis Project of the Computer Systems Research Group of the University of Toronto, and in 1978 became co-ordinators of a research project on the life and discoveries of the electronic-music pioneer Hugh Le Caine. The ensemble has performed several of its works for radio broadcasts in Canada, the US, France, Sweden, and Germany. In 1985 it was invited to participate in the European Broadcasting Union's International Art of the Fugue project. It often collaborates with other individuals or groups (such as Trio Collectif), and has performed concerts featuring the works of specific non-CEE composers such as Tim Brady, Gustav Ciamaga, Gustavo Matamoros, and Bernard Parmegiani.

Commissions, Compositions

In fulfilling its schedule of concerts, demonstrations, lecture-recitals, and workshops, the Canadian Electronic Ensemble had commissioned and given premieres of over 100 Canadian works by 1990. Many such works were created at the ensemble's Toronto studio. The members, in addition to composing as individuals, have collaborated on over 40 compositions including Whale Oil (1973), Davies (1974), Piano Quintet (1976), Arnold (1977), Chaconne à son goût (1978), The Eye of the Beholder: an electronic journey (1980), Nightbloom, commissioned by COMUS Music Theatre and produced in 1984, Catbird Seat (1988), Attention Elk! (1996), Something Celtic (2004), Upper Canada Suite (2004), and It's Fun to Shop at Honest Ed's (2006). Other representative works include Jaeger's Favour (1982), Lake's Psalm (1985), Montgomery's Talisman (1988), Montgomery and Stillwell's Dojo (1996) and Stonehenge (1997), and Bolton's Small Breeze Through Long Grass (2004).

See alsoElectroacoustic music.


Canadian Electronic Ensemble. Arnold, Whale Oil, Piano Quintet. Kieser piano. 1977. Music Gallery Edns MGE-8

Symonds. Quintet for Clarinet and Synthesizers. Campbell clarinet. 1978. RCI 484

Canadian Electronic Ensemble - Chaconne à son goût. 1981. Centrediscs CMC-1

Beecroft. Consequences for Five. Kieser piano, Malone trumpet, Stimpson horn, Dowden trombone. (1982). 4-ACM 13

The Electronic Messiah. Elmer Iseler Singers, Iseler conductor. 1983. Moss Music Group D-MMG 113

Anthology of Electroacoustic Music in Canada. 1990. Radio Canada International RCI ACM 37 (4 CDs)

Catbird Seat. Cram flute; Armin Strings; Petrowska piano; L. Cherney oboe; Petric accordion. 1990. Trappist Trap-9003 (CD)

The Canadian Electronic Ensemble presents MEGAJAM. 1992. Trappist Trap-0006 (2 CDs)

SuperTrio. Trio Collectif. 1994. Trappist Trap-9004 (CD)

The Canadian Electronic Ensemble LIVE. 1998. Trappist Trap-9805 (CD)

Further Reading

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