Students from music, art, engineering and dance have made up the Digital Music Ensemble (DME) directed by Stephen Rush for the last 25 years. Students work to collaborate in the creation of new works, or perform innovative music/art works from the past, works largely ignored by mainstream academe. DME delves into the intricacies and problems of “Performance Art” or “Telepresence/Telematic” performance (performance with other musicians via the Internet). Annually, DME creates a project called Gypsy Pond Music, which is a site-specific work taking place at the U-M School of Music Pond. The work often utilizes advanced technologies to create a natural/un-natural landscape of sound and sight, all informed by deep study of comparative mythology involving the labyrinth.
DME has performed at neighboring institutions, festivals and abroad, including performances in Berlin’s experimental cafe, the “Schmalzwald”, and exhibitss at the Aurreale Festival in Baitz, Germany, it has achieved a remarkable reputation over the past 25 years. The Ensemble and its director received the “Compuworld” (formerly Smithsonian) Award for Technological Innovation in 2001. DME has premiered works by composers Philip Glass, La Monte Young and John Cage; recorded a DVD project with legendary composer Pauline Oliveros and a CD with . with Avante-Garde pianist/composer “Blue” Gene Tyranny (receiving excellent reviews in the Vaillage Voice and Wire magazine). In addition, DME has collaborated in performance with such legends as Elliott Sharp and Robert Ashley.