Zafraan stands for music that reflects today's life, today's society, today's reality in all its facets. In interaction with other art forms, Zafraan observes, explores and processes what surrounds us: people, events, nature, technologies, the normalities and absurdities of today.
The group, consisting of ten permanent members from Spain, France, New Zealand, Australia and Germany, was formed in Berlin in 2009 and plays mainly contemporary repertoire covered by the core instrumentation of violin, viola, cello, bass, flute, clarinet, saxophone, harp, piano and percussion. In collaboration with conductors such as Manuel Nawri or Titus Engel, with artists such as Chiharu Shiota, Aliénor Dauchez, Salome Kammer, Ulrich Rasche, Christoph Winkler, with composers such as Samir Odeh-Tamimi, Johannes Schöllhorn, Elena Mendoza, Stefan Keller, Lula Romero, Eres Holz, Sarah Nemtsov or Johannes Boris Borowski, they push the limits, take risks and create something new.
Dramaturgically cleverly conceived programmes are a trademark of the ensemble, but also staged concerts or immersive formats in which a linkage with art forms such as theatre, performance, installation and dance takes place.
In 2017, the ensemble launched the festival series “Match Cut” at the Musikbrauerei Berlin, which experienced its second edition at the Volksbühne Berlin in 2019. Here, the ensemble explored the musical interfaces with adjacent genres together with the audience, which was integrated by Invisible Playground, and with groups such as the Andromeda Mega Express Orchestra, Squintaloo, Babylon Orchestra or Phillip Sollmann and John Gürtler. Next year will see the third edition.
The ensemble used its tenth anniversary as an occasion for joint concerts with other groups such as L'Itinéraire, Court-Circuit and KNM Berlin. In September 2020, the ten-part concert series “UA Berlin” began, presenting important Berlin premieres since Arnold Schönberg's “Pierrot Lunaire” and placing them in artistic contexts.
The ensemble's high live presence quality is regularly combined with going into recording studios, often in collaboration with WDR, SWR and RBB. Most recently, this has resulted in the recording of chamber music works by Christophe Bertrand “Vertigo” on bastille musique (2020); the chamber music works by Johannes Schöllhorn are in the process of completion.
The CD releases “Palimpsesto” on Testklang (2014), “Borowski, Holz, Keller: Klangrede” on bastille musique (2016), “Samir Odeh-Tamimi: Chamber Works” on Kairos (2018) “Lula Romero: Ins Offene:” on Wergo (2019) were each met with a very positive response internationally and were longlisted for the German Record Critics' Prize.