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 almost 40 years of existence. These include young instrumentalists and New Music specialists e.g. graduates of the Master’s Degree Programme or Master Courses 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.


  • Luigi Nono: Prometeo – tragedia dell'ascolto (1981-85)
    Conductors: Ingo Metzmacher und Baldur Brönnimann
    Location: Cologne, MusikTriennale
  • Luigi Nono: Compositione per orchestra (1951)
    Igor Strawinsky: Requiem canticles (1966)
    Luigi Nono: A Carlo Scarpa Architetto Ai Suoi Infiniti Possibiliti (1985)
    Luigi Nono: Il canto sospeso (1955-56)
    Conductor: Heinz Holliger
    Locations: Frankfurt und Cologne
  • Klaus Huber: Die Seele muss vom Reittier steigen (2002)
    Harrison Birtwistle: Theseus Game (Schweizer EA) (2002)
    Luigi Dallapiccola: Canti di prigionia (1938-41)
    Gideon Klein, Madrigal (1943)
    Olivier Messiaen/Clytus Gottwald: Louange à l'éternité de Jésus
    György Ligieti: Lux Aeterna (1966)
    Luigi Nono: Il canto Sospeso (1955-56)
    Conductors: Heinz Holliger, Martyn Brabbins, Pierre André Valade
    Locations: Lucerne Festival, Berlin