Ensemble Modern Orchestra

Founded in 1980 and situated in Frankfurt am Main since 1985, the Ensemble Modern is one of the world’s leading ensembles of contemporary music. Currently, the EM is comprised of around 20 soloists from nine countries. The Ensemble is famous for its special working and organizational form without an artistic director and its unique and distinctive programme that includes musical theatre, dance and video projects, chamber music, ensemble and orchestral concerts. The Ensemble Modern gives approximately 100 concerts each year at renowned festivals and outstanding venues worldwide.

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 40 years of existence. These include young instrumentalists and New Music specialists, for example 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 Heiner Goebbels, Hanspeter Kyburz, John Adams and many others 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. Enno Poppe and Markus Stenz. Tours have taken the EMO to the major festivals and concert halls in Europe, including the Concertgebouw Amsterdam, Philharmonie Berlin, Alte Oper Frankfurt, Konzerthaus Vienna, Elbphilharmonie Hamburg, Philharmonie Cologne, Prinzregenten Theater Munich, Wigmore Hall, Lucerne Festival, Festival Acht Brücken | Musik für Köln, Klangspuren Schwaz and Ruhrtriennale, among others.

The EMO has produced several CDs: these include Charles Ives’ “Fourth Symphony”, George Benjamin’s “Sudden Time”, Harrison Birtwistle’s “Earth Dances” – conducted by Pierre Boulez – and “Theseus Game”, and Helmut Lachenmanns' “Schwankungen am Rand”, “NUN”, “Kontrakadenz” and “Ausklang”.

Ensemble Modern Orchestra

© Ben Knabe

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