Essential Music was active from 1987 to 2002 as an ensemble dedicated to new and neglected music of the American Experimental Tradition. Hailed by The New York Times as “brilliantly resourceful” and The Village Voice as “New York’s fearless and intrepid new music ensemble” the group was founded by Co-Artistic Directors John Kennedy and Charles Wood. Essential Music presented over 100 premieres of both new and resurrected work, including historically important performances of works by John Cage, Cornelius Cardew, William Russell, Johanna Beyer, and Henry Cowell. The group also presented major New York retrospectives of composers including Robert Ashley, Kyle Gann, Peter Garland, and James Tenney. Festivals at which Essential Music has appeared include Spoleto USA, the Aspekte Salzburg Festival, the Zurich June Festival, and the Kanagawa Arts Festival. Other releases on Mode include works by John Cage, Peter Garland, and William Russell.