Center for Contemporary Music

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).

inside of a recording studio

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 2016 and inspired generations of musicians. Other groundbreaking directors of the center include Robert Ashley, David Behrman, David Rosenboom, 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.