New Music Ensemble included on NPR's list of 100 Best Songs of 2017

December 14, 2017

New Music Ensemble included on NPR's list of 100 Best Songs of 2017


  • The New Music Ensemble: (standing, left to right) Darwin McMurray, Ryan Schmidt, Amy Zuidema, Hannah Donnelly, Jenna Michael; (sitting, left to right): Nikolaus Schroeder, Makenzie Mattis, Reese Rehkopf.
    Photo Credit: courtesy of Bill Ryan

Posted on December 14, 2017

Among the likes of Jay-Z, Kelly Clarkson, Little Big Town, Selena Gomez and Kendrick Lamar, Grand Valley’s award-winning New Music Ensemble has been included on NPR’s list of the 100 Best Songs of 2017. The ensemble was recognized for its song “Glass Surface” from the album “Return,” which debuted in October.

“Return,” which is comprised of 15 pieces composed by three alumni, is the New Music Ensemble’s fourth commercial CD. The album’s three composers include Adam Cuthbért, ‘10, Matthew Fiinch, ‘15, and Daniel Rhodé, ’12. “Glass Surface” was composed by Rhodé.

"I am thrilled for everyone involved to have our work recognized at the national level," said Bill Ryan, New Music Ensemble director.

For the NPR list, Tom Huizenga, a music producer, reporter and blogger for NPR Music, praised “Glass Surface” for its blend of traditional instrumentation and electronic “tailoring.”

Ryan described the 15 tracks on “Return” as a “lush and explorative marriage of electronic and acoustic sounds and gestures.” The CD was released on the Innova label, and the album was mastered by Grammy Award winner Randy Merrill at Sterling Sound, whose other clients include Lady Gaga, Adele and Katy Perry.

"Return" is available for purchase on iTunes and Amazon.

The New Music Ensemble promotes contemporary classical chamber music, with a special focus on music of the past 20 years, through commissions, tours, recordings, educational events, workshops and videos.

Since the ensemble formed in 2006, the group's three other critically acclaimed recordings have appeared on “best release lists” by The New York Times, Washington Post, LA Weekly and Time Out Chicago. Some of the ensemble’s recordings have also appeared in film, on television shows on MTV, Showtime, and at more than 75 film festivals around the world.

For more information about the New Music Ensemble, visit

For More Information Contact: Matthew Makowski in University Communications - (616) 331-2228

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Page last modified December 14, 2017