New Music Ensemble

new music


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 help 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 EditionAll Things Considered, WNYC's Radiolab, and Performance Today. Their critically acclaimed recordings have been named to year-end best release lists by the New York Times, NPR, Washington Post, LA WeeklyTime Out Chicago, and many others. Their recordings have appeared in film and television shows on MTV, Showtime, at over 75 film festivals around the world, and most recently in movie theaters throughout the United States as part of the soundtrack to the 2015 film As I AM: The Life and Times of DJ AM. Their CD of Steve Reich’s Music for 18 Musicians was named one of the top five classical recordings of the decade by WNYC.

The ensemble has completed five tours and performed at major cities and venues throughout the country including New York six times, Atlanta, Baltimore, Chicago, Cleveland, Colorado Springs, Detroit, Indianapolis, Milwaukee, Philadelphia, Washington DC, and at fourteen national parks. With awards from New Music U.S.A. and the National Endowment of the Arts, the ensemble has commissioned over 70 compositions from such notable composers as Sarah Kirkland Snider, Zoe Keating, Nico Muhly, Marc Mellits, Anna Clyne, and David Lang. Their 86 performance and music videos on YouTube recently passed 1.7 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.

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.

The players of the Grand Valley ensemble play with giddy exuberance and energy, rhythmic drive and an exceptional tonal blend.

The members of Grand Valley State's ensemble play with a confident swing...To put it another way, these kids are a trip.

A hyper-propulsive and yet silkily beautiful, entrancing and utterly alive interpretation that more than holds its own.

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.

The New Music Ensemble is open to all instrumentalists and vocalists. For further information please visit the ensemble website at