mce - minnesota contemporary ensemble

The Minnesota Contemporary Ensemble started out in 1992. Their fifth anniversary was celebrated with a cd: "180° From Ordinary", a selection of highlights and special moments. It includes a registration of Frank Zappa's 'The Black Page', a piece that they had performed live at the Walker Art Center.


  minnesota contemporary ensemble: 180° from ordinary
    (1997, cd, usa, innova records innova 513) – incl. ‘the black page’ (frank zappa)


random notes

     From: the big nOte files
the minnesota contemporary ensemble started out in 1992.  their fifth anniversary was celebrated with a cd: "180° from ordinary", a selection of highlights and special moments.  i am not too familiar with most of the composers that are present on this album (it's a pity that the booklet does not include biographical info), but that's about the only remark i can think of.  this is a very impressive album: it sounds very fresh, very versatile.  besides work by astor piazzolla, paul siskind, libby larsen, sofia gubaidulina, allen gleck and tom trenka, the mce also performs frank zappa's 'black page' (percussion & piano).  the track was recorded live at the famous walker art center and sounds absolutely great.
-- peter van laarhoven

     From: (John Henley)
The Fine Arts Library here at the U of Texas, where I work, has just added to its collection a CD of which I was completely unaware until five minutes ago.
Chamber compositions by Astor Piazzola, Paul Siskind, Libby Larsen, Sofia Gubaidulina, Allen Gleck, Tom Trinka, and FZ.  Looks like an interesting variety of instrumentation:  string quartet, strings & percussion, string/wind/piano octet, and like that.
The FZ piece is: The Black Page "for percussion and piano."

The MCE disc is very good, but unfortunately "Black Page" is the least satisfactory track - because the performance is ragged and the recording (live) is unbalanced between the drums & piano.

180º From Ordinary: Minnesota Contemporary Ensemble


At last, the eagerly-awaited debut release from the gritty Minnesota Contemporary Ensemble (MCE), known for the energy and vitality of their live performances. 180º from Ordinary features concert recordings made during the first four years of MCE's existence. It includes not only Frank Zappa's The Black Page and Astor Piazzola's Four, for Tango, but also the world premiere recordings of Black Roller by Libby Larsen, Rituale by Paul Siskind, Two Trumpets by Allen Gleck, and watch...wait by Tom Trenka, recipient of the 1997 American Composers Forum Composers Commissioning Program.

Founded in 1993, MCE has quickly become recognized as one of the nation's leading new music ensembles. In past projects, MCE has collaborated with John Harbison, Libby Larsen, David Soldier, Lou Harrison, and Zeitgeist. Under Artistic Director Duane Schulthess, the ensemble has performed tours and concerts around the country to critical and public acclaim.

"Experiments of the country's leading advocates of the new in music." - Dallas Morning News

"High voltage modern bunny slope jaunt, even sometimes unnerving, but these guys don't shirk the tough stuff." -  Twin Cities Reader

"This young modern music group digs the edgy, abstract." - Minneapolis City Pages

See also:

     From: Marc De Bruyn (



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