Creative Music Studio

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The Creative Music Studio (CMS) was a premier study center for contemporary creative music during the 1970s and 1980s, based in Woodstock, New York. Founded in 1971 by Karl Berger, Ingrid Sertso, and Ornette Coleman, it brought together leading innovators in the jazz and world music communities. Unprecedented in its range and diversity, CMS providing participants with a rare opportunity to interact personally with musical giants of improvisation and musical thought on a daily basis.

At CMS, the concept of 'Worldjazz' was born: the improvisational and compositional expansion of the world's musical traditions. Now one of the main driving forces in many styles of music, this concept was pioneered very early at CMS, guided by authentic leaders. Hundreds of live concerts were recorded, many heralded as landmark performances. Thousands of workshops, master classes, concerts and colloquia inspired a generation of musicians who took with them the ideas, concepts and practices developed at CMS. The CMS community still exists in a network of creative musicians, many of whom came to CMS from Asia, Europe and South America. In 1981, the organization celebrated its 10th anniversary at a concert titled the "Woodstock Jazz Festival".

The CMS facility closed in 1984. CMS's World Jazz Encounters program (in the United States, Germany, Italy, Brazil, West Africa, India, the Philippines and Japan) survived.

2013 saw the re-establishment of the Creative Music Studio's intensive workshop programs, with sessions in the spring and fall in Big Indian, NY. In addition, the Creative Music Foundation (the non-profit organization under which the Creative Music Studio operates), began efforts to digitize the immense archive of recorded performances recorded during CMS workshops and special events.


  • Sweet, Robert E. Music Universe, Music Mind: Revisiting the Creative Music Studio, Woodstock, New York (1996). Ann Arbor, Michigan: Arborville Pub.

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