A History of The Canadian Electronic Ensemble

Book cover for An Orchestra at my Fingertips

When the Canadian Electronic Ensemble (CEE) began as a group of students at the University of Toronto in 1972, they performed with cumbersome, finicky analog instruments and DIY logistics, never sure if everything would work as intended. Today’s CEE sound comes from a sophisticated mixture of digital and analog hardware, laptops, and acoustic instruments. Across a long and ongoing history of tours, recordings, and performances, countless listeners have heard and appreciated the innovations at the heart of the CEE’s music.

An Orchestra at My Fingertips is the first detailed study of the history, music, and legacy of the CEE. Covering the ensemble since its inception and drawing on extensive interviews with group members, Alexa Woloshyn provides unique insight into the musicians that make up the group as well as analyses of the CEE’s compositions, commissions, and improvisation and performance practice. Woloshyn’s account traces the evolution of electronic music technology across the decades-long history of the group, paying close attention to how audiences have perceived the CEE’s artistry as effortless rather than as the careful employment of technologically generated sounds. To foster appreciation and understanding of the CEE’s legacies, Woloshyn presents several listening methodologies and includes numerous listening guides to engage all readers.

An Orchestra at My Fingertips speaks to the global development and transformation of live electronic music through the history of a group that has been a consistently innovative voice in Canada and beyond.


McGill-Queen’s University Press