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The New Music Ensemble at Grand Valley State University (Allendale, MI) has established itself as an innovator and incubator within the new music community. Founded in 2006 by Director Bill Ryan, the ensemble has commissioned over 60 new works, toured extensively, and received wide recognition for its recordings of both Steve Reich’s Music For 18 Musicians, and Terry Riley’s In C. These albums have been on year-end best-of lists at WNYC, Time Out Chicago, the Washington Post, the New York Times, LA Weekly, and many others.

In its 11 years, the program at GVSU has developed a proud and supportive culture. Realizing a longtime goal of an “100% homegrown project,” Ryan, who also teaches composition at GVSU, turned to program graduates: Adam Cuthbert, Matt Finch, and Daniel Rhode after continuing to follow the work of the three composers on their recently formed experimental collective, slashsound.

Return is a forward-looking electro-acoustic vision. The 15 tracks are a lush and explorative marriage of electronic and acoustic sounds and gestures, in what Cuthbert describes as “electronic chamber music.” While rooted in the initial notation provided by the composers to the ensemble, recordings of this material were then used by the composers as the raw material (or “samples”) for the album. Despite creating something completely new out of the source material, the traditional composer/performer foundation provides an undeniable intimacy and warmth.


released October 27, 2017

Grand Valley State University New Music Ensemble

Innova 983
Bill Ryan: Director

Hannah Donnelly: flute, alto flute, bass flute, piccolo
Ryan Schmidt: clarinet, bass clarinet, contrabass clarinet
Darwin McMurray: soprano, alto, tenor, baritone saxophones
Makenzie Mattis: percussion
Reese Rehkopf: piano
Jenna Michael: violin
Kirk McBrayer: cello
Niko Schroeder: sound engineer

Producer: Bill Ryan
Recording Engineer: Niko Schroeder
Assistant Recording Engineer: Nate Bliton
Mixing Engineer: Adam Cuthbert
Mastered: Randy Merrill at Sterling Sound
Art and Design: Michael Cina
film by Four/Ten Media

Thanks to the Board of Trustees, administration, faculty, staff and students at Grand Valley State University. Thanks to violinist Todd Reynolds for his guest performance on glass surface.

innova is supported by an endowment from the McKnight Foundation
Philip Blackburn, director
Chris Campbell, operations director
Tim Igel, publicist

For more information on this and other projects visit

© Bill Ryan, 2017. All Rights Reserved.
innova is the label of the American Composers Forum.


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GVSU New Music Ensemble Allendale Charter Township, Michigan

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