The Ensemble Modern

The Ensemble Modern (EM) was founded in 1980 and belongs to the world’s leading ensembles for contemporary music. Situated in Frankfurt/Main since 1985, the ensemble consists of soloists from various nationalities. : Argentina, Australia, Bulgaria, France, Germany, Great Britain, India, Japan and Switzerland. The founding members were originally the students of the Young German Philharmonic Orchestra, who wanted to create a new forum to promote and accurately perform New Music. The EM became a private shareholding company in 1987, and the musicians in the ensemble became its associates.

The work of EM is a rich and diverse as its musicians. EM is famous for its special working and organizational form yet to be matched by any ensemble in the world. All the members are responsible for jointly selecting and dealing with artistic directors, projects, guest musicians, co-productions, and financial matters. Each associate incorporates his/her own personal experience and preferences into the planning, resulting in unique and distinctive programs, ranging from music theater, dance and video projects, chamber music, ensemble and without fail, orchestral concerts. Its program has spawned extraordinary and often long-term cooperative ventures with renowned artists, such as Heiner Goebbels, Frank Zappa, Bill Viola, and Steve Reich.

The EM also guest-performs at outstanding venues throughout Germany. It has performed a subscription concert series at the Alte Oper in Frankfurt since 1985. In cooperation with the Oper Frankfurt, the EM regularly performs opera productions and workshop concerts titled “Happy New Ears” in which key works of contemporary music are presented and explained. The EM also closely cooperates with numerous German music venues, including the Kölner Philharmonie, the Konzerthaus Berlin, the Philharmonie Essen, and the Festspielhaus Baden-Baden.

In the past, Ensemble Modern has ventured Russia, South America, Japan, Australia, India, Korea, Taiwan, and the United States. It has participated in renowned festivals on a regular basis, such as the Lincoln Center Festival in New York, Settembre musica in Torino, Festival d’Automne in Paris, Ars Musica Festival in Brussels, Holland Festival in Amsterdam, Lucerne Festival, Klangspuren in Schwaz, and various other festivals in Salzburg and Berlin, just to name a few.

The EM gives approximately 100 concerts each year. The ensemble strives to achieve the highest degree of authenticity by working closely with the composers themselves. The musicians rehearse an average of 70 new works every year, 20 of which are world premieres.

In 2003, the German Federal Cultural Foundation nominated the Ensemble Modern as one of Germany’s “beacons” of contemporary culture. As the recipient of this honour, the Ensemble Modern received a five-year funding package from the federal government in 2004 to support two important projects at the Ensemble Modern – the Ensemble Modern Orchestra and the International Ensemble Modern Academy.