© © Kiran Ridley

Afro-Modernism in Contemporary Music

Experiencing Diversity

From the beginning, Ensemble Modern decided to forego an artistic director. This was a conscious decision: the competencies and plentiful, often heterogeneous musical interests of the ensemble members are the focus of attention, and are open to collective discussion. They form the group’s artistic capital. Based upon structures of grassroots democracy, the collective’s work also includes a commitment to aesthetic diversity in current music. Depending on the musical material at hand, the ensemble chooses project-based artistic leadership from its international pool of conductors, musicians and experts. This guarantees living polyphony and diversity. For the concert and symposium ›Afro-Modernism in Contemporary Music‹ – the current lack of composers of color on European concert programmes is alarming and anything but an affirmation of globality – Ensemble Modern has engaged George E. Lewis, a composer and trombone player teaching at New York’s Columbia University, as curator. Lewis is a renowned expert on the many facets of the output of composers of color.

With brilliance [...] in Singleton‘s ›Again‹, with sinking into noises like quicksand in Cox‘ ›Existence lies In-Between‹ (wp), [...] veering between dream-like and perturbed states in Kidane’s ›Foreign Tongues‹, with dramatic fluctuations in Kendall’s ›Verdala‹, with incredible lightness [...] in Khumalo’s ›Invisible Self‹ (wp) and with explosive phrasings [in] León’s ›Indigena‹.Neue Zeitschrift für Musik, Egbert Hiller
›Afro-Modernism‹ – a highlight of the 2020 ›Now‹ Festival and a project that cries out to be continuedNeue Zeitschrift für Musik, Egbert Hiller
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1 2 3 4 ty Years Ensemble Modern - Afro-Modernism in Contemporary Music (Trailer)