In 1998, the Frankfurt-based Ensemble Modern established the Ensemble Modern Orchestra (EMO), the world's first orchestra devoted to the performance of 20th and 21st-century music. The core of the orchestra is comprised of 18 soloists from the Ensemble Modern, joined by guest musicians from around the world with whom the Ensemble Modern has established contacts during its 30 years of activity. These include both young instrumentalists and specialists in the field of New Music. For the duration of a project, up to 130 instrumentalists form a large symphony orchestra. The Ensemble Modern Orchestra was established as an artistic plea for contemporary orchestral music. It offers composers of our times a highly qualified and engaged instrument to realise their ideas.
Its commissioned compositions include Heiner Goebbels' ›Walden‹ (world premiere 1998), Michael Gordon's ›Sunshine of Your Love‹ (world premiere 1999), Hanspeter Kyburz's ›Klavierkonzert‹ (world premiere of the full version 2000), and John Adams' ›Naive and Sentimental Music‹ (first European performance 1999), as well as works by Mark André, Enno Poppe, Jens Joneleit, Bruno Mantovani and Johannes Maria Staud. The EMO's ambitious concert programmes also confront new compositions with key works of modern times.
The EMO has performed orchestral compositions by Helmut Lachenmann, Charles Ives, Olivier Messiaen, Magnus Lindberg, Tristan Murail, George Benjamin, Luigi Nono, Harrison Birtwistle, Arnold Schoenberg, Pierre Boulez, György Ligeti, Franco Donatoni, Hans Abrahamsen, Igor Stravinsky, Edgard Varèse and Matthias Pintscher.
The EMO has been directed by a number of renowned conductors, such as John Adams, George Benjamin, Pierre Boulez, Peter Eötvös, Heinz Holliger, Ingo Metzmacher and Markus Stenz. Tours have taken the EMO to the major festivals and concert halls in Europe, including the Concertgebouw Amsterdam, European Music Month 2001 in Basel, Philharmonie Berlin, Alte Oper Frankfurt, Philharmonie Cologne, Lucerne Festival, RuhrTriennale, Festival d'Automne à Paris, Konzerthaus Vienna and many others.
It has produced several CDs: these include Charles Ives’ ›Fourth Symphony‹, George Benjamin’s ›Sudden Time‹, Helmut Lachenmann’s ›Schwankungen am Rand‹, Harrison Birtwistle’s ›Earth Dances‹ – conducted by Pierre Boulez – and ›Theseus Game‹. The label Ensemble Modern Medien has released Helmut Lachenmann‘s ›Kontrakadenz‹, ›NUN‹ as well as ›Ausklang/Eine Alpensinfonie‹ by Helmut Lachenmann and Richard Strauß with the EMO conducted by Markus Stenz.
The Ensemble Modern Orchestra is funded by the German Federal Cultural Foundation and the Deutsche Bank Foundation. hr2 is a cultural partner of the Ensemble Modern.
© Ensemble Modern