Most of the School of Music's ensembles are active every year. Additional ad hoc ensembles are frequently convened by students and faculty.


The Ensemble

Varying in size, this conducted ensemble performs major works from all eras, with an emphasis on recently-composed music.

Alphonso Johnson Combo

Jazz ensemble under the direction of Jazz Electric Bass faculty member Alphonso Johnson.

Aza African Music & Dance Ensembles

Instruction in the performance of authentic traditional music and dance of West Africa. These include singing in the language and playing percussion instruments indigenous to the area of origin.

Aza Talking Drum Ensemble

Music of the Dagomba people of Northern Ghana.

Balinese Gamelan

Instruction in the techniques of playing Balinese instruments, collectively called the Semar Pelgulingan.

Bach Aria and Baroque Chamber Ensemble

Period-specific performance studies for instrumentalists and vocalists.

Beginning Shakuhachi Workshop

Study of breathing, sound production, basic scales, Japanese music notation and repertoire, including traditional folk songs, meditative pieces, contemporary works, and improvisation.

Brass Ensemble

Ensemble studies for brass, from quintets to dectets or more.

CalArts Salsa Band

Latin jazz ensemble regularly led by Jazz Program Chair David Roitstein.

Chamber Ensembles

A variety of project-driven chamber ensembles are formed each semester, with faculty members and students often playing side-by-side in these groups.

Contemporary Vocal Ensemble

Study and performance of literature from the 20th and 21st Centuries for small groups of singers. Studies of compositions by CalArts students and faculty are included.

Darek Oles Combo

Jazz ensemble under the direction of Jazz Bass faculty member Darek Oles.

Gender Wayang Ensemble

Small ensemble performances by quartet of metallophones as accompaniment to Balinese shadow plays.

Gong Suling: Balinese Flute Ensemble

Studies of Balinese flute ensemble music, with sixteen bamboo flutes of varied sizes and percussion instruments.

Grids, Beats & Groups

Musicians networked to share a common temporal context and explore live electronic performance of rhythmically complex music.

Improvisation Ensembles

In leaderless ensembles, using structured and unstructured improvisational forms, the groups strive to develop collective and individual voice. Regular performances are presented.

Institute Choir

A traditional choral ensemble focusing on music from the last 50 years and influential masterworks from the past.

Jazz Ensembles

Small jazz groups under the direction of Jazz Studies faculty perform regularly on concerts at the Institute.

Javanese Gamelan: Kyai Doro Dasih

Instruction in playing and singing in the central Javanese classical orchestra, a traditional Eastern art form that integrates dance, drama and music.

Joe LaBarbera Combo

Jazz ensemble under the direction of Jazz Drumset faculty member Joe LaBarbera.

Kecak: Balinese Monkey Chant Ensemble

Balinese Monkey Chant ensemble.

Larry Koonse Combo

Jazz ensemble under the direction of Jazz Guitar faculty member Larry Koonse.

Machine Orchestra

Ensemble members write software, build interactive controllers, control robotic systems, project graphics and perform live interactive music in a networked system.

Miroslav Tadic Group

Ensemble under the direction of Guitar faculty member Miroslav Tadic.

Multi-Focus Ensemble

Cross-disciplinary ensembles in which students from various programs within The Herb Alpert School of Music at CalArts may combine for special projects.

Networked Music Ensemble

Live electronic music and video ensemble.

North Indian Music Ensemble

Vocal and instrumental performance studies using both Indian and European instruments.

Paul Novros Combo

Jazz ensemble under the direction of Jazz Reeds faculty member Paul Novros.

Percussion Ensemble

Ensemble studies for percussionists, in groups of various sizes.

Persian Ensemble

An ensemble specializing in the techniques and performance of Persian music.

Readers' Chorus

New works and repertoire for the spoken voice, playing with assigning parts, timbral combinations of voices, rhythms of speech, and spatializing the material.

Sonic Boom

An ensemble/band between avant-garde rock, noise, ambient, new music and other things that fall between the cracks. Explores the hidden tradition of experimental rock music.

Steve Lehman Ensemble

Jazz ensemble under the direction of Jazz Saxophone faculty member Steve Lehman.

Tabla Ensemble

The CalArts Tabla Ensemble is a performing ensemble that draws from the vast repertoire of North Indian tabla, ranging from classical to folk and traditional to contemporary.

Vinny Golia Large Ensemble

Large ensemble performing compositions and structured improvisations under the direction of faculty member Vinny Golia.

Vinny Golia Small Ensemble

Improvising ensemble under the direction of faculty member Vinny Golia.

Woodwind Ensemble

A performance ensemble dedicated to studies of works for woodwinds. Audition preparation and woodwind fundamentals are also covered.

World Percussion Ensemble

An experimental performance group that works toward combining instruments and musical structures from various cultures, integrating improvisation, composition and performance practice.


CalArts chamber orchestra