The Elementary Music Ensemble was founded in 1900 by progressive musical thinkers in the Forest Hill area of South London. The original aims of the group was to promote international understanding through adventurous music making. In 1902 the founding members gave thier first experimental afternoon concert in the pavillion of the Horniman Museum in South London. The ensemble has since toured throughout the UK on a number of occasions. Its archives are held in the Study Collections Centre of the Horniman Museum, which also holds some of the ensemble's original instruments in its Musical Instruments Collection —including the famous concertina shaped biscuit tin and the still little understood device of unknown function— are maintained by the museum. An article on these holdings is to be be published in a forthcoming edition of the museum's journal, Contributions in Critical Museology and Material Culture.
Current members of the Elementary Music Ensemble includes a simlar representation of leading progressive musical thinkers from the Forest Hill area as over a hundred years ago, with some new additions from further afield. Amoung them are Tom Hall (ex-Melbourne, Australia), Julian Rohrhuber (Cologne, Germany) and Renate Wieser (Hamburg, Germany), who bring an interest in formal laptop improvisation to the ensemble. In particular they use the SuperCollider programming language to demonstrate how the ideals of the slow code movement can have wide application within and beyond livecoding communities and in doing so further the ensemble's original aims of the promotion of international understanding through adventurous music making.