Based in Allendale, Michigan, the New Music Ensemble at Grand Valley State University promotes the music of our time through commissions, tours, recordings, educational events, workshops, and videos. Founded in 2006 by their director Bill Ryan, the ensemble not only prepares students for careers that include contemporary music, but also helps them become exceptional educators, advocates, and leaders in the music field.
The group has been profiled in numerous publications including Newsweek and the New York Times, and featured on NPR’s Weekend Edition, All Things Considered, WNYC's Radiolab, and Performance Today. They have released three critically acclaimed recordings named to best release lists by the New York Times, Washington Post, LA Weekly, Time Out Chicago, and many others. Their recordings have appeared in films and television shows on MTV, Showtime, and at over 75 film festivals around the world. Their CD of Steve Reich’s Music for 18 Musicians was named one of the top five classical recordings of the decade by WNYC’s John Schaefer, as well as the #1 classical recording of the decade in the WNYC Soundcheck listener poll.
The ensemble has completed four tours and performed at major cities and venues throughout the country including New York six times, Philadelphia, Cleveland, Baltimore, Washington DC, Chicago, Indianapolis, Detroit, and at nine national parks. With awards from New Music U.S.A. and the National Endowment of the Arts, the ensemble has commissioned and premiered compositions by 33 composers, as well as over 180 GVSU student compositions. Their YouTube videos recently passed 1.5 million views, all without the aid of a cat or Lady Gaga tune.
The Grand Valley State University New Music Ensemble is at the forefront of contemporary repertory groups, alongside other established groups including Kronos Quartet, Alarm Will Sound, So Percussion, Bang on a Can and Germany's Ensemble Modern. --ALL ABOUT JAZZ
The Grand Valley State University New Music Ensemble - the band of Michigan undergraduates whose CD of Steve Reich's "Music for 18 Musicians" was the surprise new-music hit of 2007 - has struck again. --SAN FRANCISCO CHRONICLE
The players of the Grand Valley ensemble play with giddy exuberance and energy, rhythmic drive and an exceptional tonal blend. --DETROIT FREE PRESS
The members of Grand Valley State's ensemble play with a confident swing…To put it another way, these kids are a trip. --NEWSWEEK
A hyper-propulsive and yet silkily beautiful, entrancing and utterly alive interpretation that more than holds its own. --BILLBOARD
The Michigan musicians play with glistening precision, yet they also bring out the variously jubilant and wistful emotions beneath the surface of Reich’s score. The result is a vibrant recording that deserves to leap from the new-music ghetto onto the mainstream charts. --NEW YORKER