The impetus of NIUCMS is technology-based musical experimentation, composition, and research. Directed by Dr. James Phelps, NIUCMS is supported by a multitude of technological, creative environments. The studios are comprised of a beginning synthesis/sound design lab (ECMS I) which supports initial studies and creative experimentation with digital audio and computer-music programming; an advanced, 8-channel, optical computer-music composition/performance lab (ECMS II) driven by Macintosh/Protools/MAXMSP hardware and software; and an 8-channel digital sound design/mastering studio (The Annex) centered around Macintosh/Protools/Command8/mastering suite systems. The Annex is designed to provide an environment tailored for a more intimate sound design/mastering need.
NIUCMS supports the Computer Music and New Media Technology program, in which students can earn a Master of Music degree under the Individualized Studies specialization, as well as an undergraduate computer-music emphasis degree under the Bachelor of Arts or Bachelor of General Studies program. The programs reflect the technology-based art scene at the end of one century and at the beginning of a new one. No longer can artists reside only in one discipline to the exclusion of others. Creators need to be well-versed in multimedia capabilities. At NIUCMS, students can explore network-based art (e.g., via Internet and WWW) including real-time video/audio communication/co-location, creations designed for CDROM media as well as sonic/visual works designed specifically for audio CD format, DVD or other digital multichannel formats.