CCM electronics panel

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.”

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 the 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.

Today, CCM features performances and works by guest and resident artists—many of which result directly from collaborative work underway at CCM. These artists have presented outstanding performances and have participated in the daily life of CCM through class visits, seminars, and informal discussions.