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.


  • Michael Gordon: No Anthem: für Ensemble (2014/15) UA
    Louis Andriessen: De Snelheid (1982-84)
    Louis Andriessen: De Staat (1972-76)
    Ensemble Modern Orchestra (EMO/IEMA)
    Conductor: Ingo Metzmacher
    Location: Köln, Acht Brücken
  • Johann Sebastian Bach / Ichiro Nodaira: Die Kunst der Fuge, BWV 1080 – transkribiert für Orchester von Ichiro Nodaira (2002) (Excerpts)
    Pierre Boulez: Mémoriale – (...explosante - fixe ... Originel) (1985/1993)
    Johann Sebastian Bach / Ichiro Nodaira: Die Kunst der Fuge, BWV 1080 – transkribiert für Orchester von Ichiro Nodaira (2002) (Excerpts)
    Ludwig van Beethoven: Konzert für Violine und Orchester D-Dur, op. 61 (1806)
    Thomas Zehetmair (violin); Dietmar Wiesner (flute)
    Ensemble Modern Orchestra
    Conductors: Kent Nagano und Clemens Heil (Assistance)
    Location: Ingolstadt
  • Luigi Nono: Prometeo - Tragedia dell'ascolto – für Vokal- und Instrumentalsolisten, gemischten Chor, vier Instrumentalgruppen und Live-Elektronik (1981-84, 1985)
    Ensemble Modern Orchestra (EMO/IEMA)
    Conductors: Ingo Metzmacher, Matilda Hofman
    Locations: Duisburg, Ruhrtriennale
  • Helmut Lachenmann: Air, für großes Ensemble mit Schlagzeug-Solo (1969/2015) UA
    Helmut Lachenmann: Schwankungen am Rand, Musik für Blech und Saiten (1974/75)
    Rumi Ogawa, drum set
    Ensemble Modern Orchestra (EMO/IEMA)
    Conductor: Brad Lubman
    Location: Wiesbaden, cresc... - Biennale für Moderne Musik Frankfurt Rhein Main