For more than half a century, the Center for Contemporary Music (CCM) has been known internationally for its groundbreaking work in electroacoustic and computer music, interactive installations and performances, sound art, performance art, visual arts, recording media, and sound synthesis. CCM is praised for its “pedagogical emphasis on interdisciplinary collaboration, hands-on engineering, and aesthetic risk” (read KQED’s feature on CCM).
CCM originated as the San Francisco Tape Music Center in 1961, co-founded by former Mills music students Morton Subotnick and Ramon Sender with help from Pauline Oliveros. In 1966 the center moved to Mills College, where it was later renamed the Center for Contemporary Music.
The evolving circle of artists associated with CCM has played a revolutionary role in music composition, transgressing boundaries of form and genre. Oliveros, who directed the center during its first year at Mills, taught in our Music Department for 20 years before her death in 2017 and inspired generations of musicians. Other groundbreaking directors of the center include Robert Ashley, David Behrman, David Rosenboom, and currently Maggi Payne and Chris Brown.
As a music student at Mills, you can become part of this tradition. The classes and faculty of CCM will provide you with technological skills—from programming languages to building your own hardware—to facilitate your experiments with sound. The artistic community centered around CCM will help you realize your creative potential in an atmosphere of free-thinking musical pluralism.
You’ll have 24/7 access to a variety of electronic equipment, instruments, and studios
at CCM. You can even use "the original Buchla 100” synthesizer created for the Tape
Music Center in 1963.
The Recording Studio features a Studer A-80 24-track two-inch tape recorder, a 24-channel Dolby SR system, and an API 1608 32x8x2 analog mixing console. Transport control and SMPTE synchronization is available through the Adams-Smith Zeta-Three B synchronizer/controller. Also available are various effects processors and stereo mastering to both analog and digital formats. A remote keyboard and monitor, along with 16 analog and 8 digital channels of audio provide a connection with the 5.1 Pro Tools system in the Hybrid Studio. A large assortment of high-quality microphones are available to those working in this studio.
The Hybrid Computer Music Studio includes two Mac Pro systems for recorded and live music. One system—connected to the Recording Studio—has a Genelec 5.1 monitoring system, an RME audio interface, and a video projector. Installed software includes Pro Tools, Waves plug-ins, and Ableton Live. The other system is optimized for video editing and rehearsals of live performances. Installed software includes Pro Tools, Supercollider, Max, Ableton Live, and Final Cut Pro X.
Synthesizers include a Kurzweil K2000 sampler/keyboard, an Oberheim Xpander MIDI-controlled analog synthesizer, a Yamaha FM sound module, an ARP 2600 analog synthesizer, and a small Serge modular analog synthesizer.
The Electronic Music Studio houses early voltage-controlled analog synthesizers, including a Moog IIIP and the very first Buchla 100 ever created. It also features Focal monitor speakers.