Ensemble Modern Orchestra

In 1998 the Ensemble Modern in Frankfurt founded the first orchestra in the world which would exclusively perform music of the 20th and 21st centuries: the Ensemble Modern Orchestra (EMO).  The core of this orchestra of up to 130 musicians is made up of the soloists of the Ensemble Modern. These are supported by musicians from all around the world, with whom the Ensemble has come into contact during its 30 year existence. These are equally likely to include young instrumentalists as specialists in the area of new music. Thanks to funding from the Federal Foundation for Culture this model will be extended from 2014 as from now on the EMO will also be open to distinguished current and former scholars of its masters’ programme and selected participants form the international masterclasses of the International Ensemble Modern Academy (IEMA).  

The foundation of the Ensemble Modern Orchestra is an artistic plea for contemporary orchestral music. It offers the composers of our time a highly qualified and committed instrument for the realisation of their ideas. Compositions it has commissioned include; Heiner Goebbels’ ›Walden‹, Michael Gordon’s ›Sunshine of Your Love‹, Hanspeter Kyburz' ›Klavierkonzert‹, John Adams’ ›Naive and Sentimental Music‹, as well as works by Mark Andre, Enno Poppe, Jens Joneleit, Bruno Mantovani and Johannes Maria Staud. The EMO’s ambitious concert programmes confront new compositions with key works of the modern age.  

It has performed orchestral works by Helmut Lachenmann, Charles Ives, Olivier Messiaen, Tristan Murail, Magnus Lindberg, George Benjamin, Luigi Nono, Harrison Birtwistle, Arnold Schönberg, Pierre Boulez, György Ligeti, Franco Donatoni, Hans Abrahamsen, Igor Strawinsky, Edgard Varèse and Matthias Pintscher.

Distinguished conductors such as John Adams, George Benjamin, Pierre Boulez, Peter Eötvös, Heinz Holliger, Ingo Metzmacher and Markus Stenz have all conducted the EMO. The EMO has toured to Europe’s leading festivals and concert houses including the Concertgebouw Amsterdam, European Music Month 2001 in Basel, the Berliner Philharmonie, the Alte Oper Frankfurt, Cologne Philharmonie, Lucerne Festival, the Festival d'Automne in Paris, the Ruhrtriennale, and the Konzerthaus in Vienna.

Several concert recordings are available on CD: 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‹. Ensemble Modern Media have released Helmut Lachenmann’s ›Kontrakadenz‹, ›NUN‹ and ›Ausklang/An Alpine Symphony‹ by Helmut Lachenmann and Richard Strauss with the EMO conducted by Markus Stenz.

The projects EMO/IEMA have been made possible by the Federal Foundation for Culture.