The Canadian Electronic Ensemble was founded in 1971. It is the oldest continuous live-electronic group in the world.
Today we take synthesizers for granted. But when the CEE was founded, electronic music could only be heard on tape. The CEE developed a new medium: live electronic music. The synthesizers of the time were enormous and not meant for live performance. Often, the members of the CEE had to design and build their own instruments.
Forty years later, the CEE is still at the forefront of live electronic music. Now using mostly laptop computers the CEE often pushes new technology to the limit. With various software based synthesizers the CEE is able to deploy all of today’s and yesterday’s most advanced synthesis techniques – often concurrently. Standard instruments are also used, but keeping with the ensembles penchant for anything electronic they are usually not heard without some kind of processing.
The CEE first toured Canada in 1975. Their first European tour was in 1979. In the years since, the group has toured extensively throughout North America and Europe and has appeared with the Toronto Symphony, the Vancouver Symphony, the Ottawa Symphony Orchestra and the Orchestre Métropolitain de Montréal.
From 1974 until 2003 the CEE presented its own Toronto concert series. This became a major venue for new electroacoustic works by composers from Canada and abroad. The series presented artists from every province in Canada, as well as international artists from Argentina, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Denmark, England, France, Italy, Japan, Mexico, New Zealand, Norway, Sweden, and the United States. Over the past 40 years, the CEE has aided the creation of over one hundred new compositions, most of which have been premiered by the CEE.
Today, the CEE continues its tradition of performing live improvised electronic music and performs several times a year mostly around the Toronto area.