Ensemble Modern Orchestra

In 1998, the Ensemble Modern founded the world’s first orchestra performing only music of the 20th and 21st century: the Ensemble Modern Orchestra (EMO). The core of the orchestra consisting of 30 to 130 musicians is formed by the Ensemble Modern soloists. They are supported by musicians from all over the world with whom the Ensemble has established contact in the course of its more than 30 years of existence. These include young instrumentalists and New Music specialists. Thanks to the support of the Federal Cultural Foundation, this model will be developed further from 2014 onwards, when the EMO opens its doors to the outstanding current and former fellows of the Master’s Degree course and to selected participants of international master classes of the International Ensemble Modern Academy (IEMA).

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. The EMO's ambitious concert programmes confront new commissioned works by e.g. HEiner Goebbels, Hanspeter Kyburz, John Adams with key works of modern times.

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, Konzerthaus Vienna, Philharmonie Berlin, Alte Oper Frankfurt, Philharmonie Cologne, Lucerne Festival, RuhrTriennale, Festival d'Automne à Paris, Klangspuren Schwaz among 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.

The projects of EMO/IEMA are enabled by the Kulturstiftung des Bundes.

Chronicle

2000
  • Olivier Messiaen: Des Canyons aux Etoiles (1974)
    Conductor: George Benjamin
    Locations: Gütersloh, Frankfurt, Berlin
  • Tristan Murail: Gondwana (1980)
    Magnus Lindberg: Cantigas (1999) (European premiere)
    Hanspeter Kyburz: Klavierkonzert (2000) (premiere of complete version)
    George Benjamin: Sudden Time (1990-93)
    Conductor: George Benjamin
    Locations: Cologne, Frankfurt, Vienna
  • Luigi Nono: Prometeo - tragedia dell'ascolto (1981-85)
    Conductors: Emilio Pomarico, Yoichi Sugiyama
    Locations: Bochum, Berlin, Frankfurt, Paris, Vienna, Mailand