Either/Or Ensemble

Avant-garde ensemble Either/Or expands the gray area between composition and installation, composer and performer, music and sonic environment.

About the Residency

At MIT, the experimental and fiercely virtuosic group Either/Or worked with students to workshop their compositions in-progress, educating them in the intricacies of their instruments and proposing novel ways of composing. The residency culminated in Either/Or performing student compositions, an exciting and instructive opportunity for students to benefit from masterful contemporary musicians performing their work in public. Either/Or also performed the work of MIT Associate Professor of Music Keeril Makan, described by The New Yorker as “an arrestingly gifted young American composer.”

The residency was parallel and overlapping with the residency of Robin Rimbaud (Scanner) and Stephen Vitiello, which explores sonic production primarily from the perspective of installation. During their residency, Either/Or performs a concert focused on the works of Alvin Lucier, whose music at the intersection of concert work and installation provides a critical point of departure for the investigation of sound and space.

Either/Or’s visit to the Institute is part of MIT Sounding, an innovative annual performance series that blurs the boundaries between contemporary and world music. Curated by Evan Ziporyn, Faculty Director of the MIT Center for Art, Science & Technology, the 2014-15 season of MIT Sounding’s diverse offerings range from live performances by new music pioneers Alvin Lucier and Terry Riley to early music denizens Boston Camerata and the Grammy Award-winning ensemble Roomful of Teeth.

The 2014-15 MIT Sounding Performance Series is presented by the MIT Center for Art, Science & Technology (CAST) and MIT Music and Theater Arts.


Past Events

Composers Forum featuring the music of Alvin Lucier
February 13, 2014 / 5:00pm
Composers Featuring the music of Keeril Makan
April 3, 2014 / 5:00pm
Alvin Lucier: Chamber Music for Instruments and Sine Waves
February 15, 2014 / 8:00pm

Anthony Burr – Clarinet, Guitar, Electronics
Jennifer Choi – Violin
Wendy Law – Cello
David Shively – Percussion, Guitar, Electronics

World Premiere Featuring the Composition of Keeril Makan: Letting Time Circle Through Us
April 5, 2014 / 8:00pm

Sonic Bodies 
A performance by Scanner and Stephen Vitiello with members of the Either/Or ensemble
Friday May 16, 2014 / 7:00pm

Visuals – Madeleine Gallagher
David Shively – percussion
Jennifer Choi – violin

New Works by MIT Undergraduate Composers
May 17, 2014 / 8:00pm
Jennifer Choi – Violin

Taka Kigawa – Piano
Wendy Law – Cello
David Shively – Percussion

Class Visits

Advanced Studio in Production of Space: Sound Installation
February and May 2014

Advanced Seminar in Music Composition
February and May 2014

Collaborators at MIT

Keeril Makan, Associate Professor of Music in Music and Theater Arts

Gediminas Urbonas, Associate Professor in the MIT Program for Art, Culture and Technology


Either/Or is a cutting-edge contemporary music ensemble based in New York City. Founded in 2004 by pianist/composer Richard Carrick and percussionist David Shively, Either/Or has performed to critical acclaim at numerous renowned concert halls and experimental music venues. The ensemble and its directors have been Artists in Residence at Eugene Lang College of the New School for Social Research and New York University Faculty of Arts & Sciences.

More at the artist’s website: Either/Or.