Intergalactic Contemporary Ensemble (= ICE) (formerly Minnesota Contemporary Ensemble = MCE) is a flexible chamber orchestra dedicated to making the universe safe for new music. Started as Minnesota Contemporary Ensemble in 1993, MCE has quickly become recognized as one of the nation's leading new music ensembles. In past projects, MCE has collaborated with John Harbison, Libby Larsen, David Soldier, Lou Harrison, and Zeitgeist. Under Artistic Director Duane Schulthess, the ensemble has performed tours and concerts around the country to critical and public acclaim. ICE has been called by the Dallas Morning News "one of the country's leading advocates of the new in music." ICE has been guest conducted by Pulitzer Prize winning composer John Harbison and has also collaborated with Libby Larsen, LA producer Skip Heller, and the new music quartet Zeitgeist.
Their fifth anniversary was celebrated with a cd: "180° From Ordinary", a selection of highlights and special moments. It includes a registration of Frank Zappa's 'The Black Page', a piece that they had performed live at the Walker Art Center. At last, the eagerly-awaited debut release from the gritty Minnesota Contemporary Ensemble (MCE), known for the energy and vitality of their live performances. 180º from Ordinary features concert recordings made during the first four years of MCE's existence. It includes not only Frank Zappa's The Black Page and Astor Piazzola's Four, for Tango, but also the world premiere recordings of Black Roller by Libby Larsen, Rituale by Paul Siskind, Two Trumpets by Allen Gleck, and watch...wait by Tom Trenka, recipient of the 1997 American Composers Forum Composers Commissioning Program.