Helmut Lachenmann, composer
Lachenmann was born in Stuttgart and after the end of the Second World War (when he was 11) started singing in his local church choir. Showing an early aptitude for music, he was already composing in his teens. He studied piano with Jürgen Uhde and composition and theory with Johann Nepomuk David at the Musikhochschule Stuttgart from 1955 to 1958 and was the first private student of the Italian composer Luigi Nono in Venice from 1958 to 1960. He also worked briefly at the electronic music studio at the University of Ghent in 1965, composing his only published tape piece Szenario during that period, but thereafter focused almost exclusively on purely instrumental music.
Lachenmann has referred to his compositions as musique concrète instrumentale, implying a musical language that embraces the entire sound-world made accessible through unconventional playing techniques. According to the composer, this is music
in which the sound events are chosen and organized so that the manner in which they are generated is at least as important as the resultant acoustic qualities themselves. Consequently those qualities, such as timbre, volume, etc., do not produce sounds for their own sake, but describe or denote the concrete situation: listening, you hear the conditions under which a sound- or noise-action is carried out, you hear what materials and energies are involved and what resistance is encountered.
His music is therefore primarily derived from the most basic of sounds, which through processes of amplification serve as the basis for extended works. His scores place enormous demands on performers, due to the plethora of techniques that he has invented for wind, brass and string instruments.
His more important works include his opera Das Mädchen mit den Schwefelhölzern (1990–96, after Hans Christian Andersen, Leonardo da Vinci and Gudrun Ensslin), the orchestral pieces Schwankungen am Rand (1974–75, for eight brass, two electric guitars, two pianos, four thunder sheets, and 34 strings), Accanto (1975–76, for clarinet, large orchestra and tape) and NUN (1997–99, for flute, trombone, male chorus, and large orchestra), the ensemble works Mouvement (- vor der Erstarrung) (1982–84, for three ad hoc players and 14 players) and "...zwei Gefühle...", Musik mit Leonardo (1992, (later incorporated in opera Das Mädchen mit den Schwefelhölzern), after Leonardo da Vinci, for two speakers and 22 players) and three string quartets (Gran Torso, 1971, revised 1976, 1988; Reigen seliger Geister, 1989; Grido, 2001), as well as other orchestral, ensemble and chamber works and six piano pieces.
He has regularly lectured at Darmstadt since 1978. From 1976 to 1981 he taught composition at the Musikhochschule Hannover, from 1981 to 1999 the Musikhochschule Stuttgart. Among his students are Mark Andre, Alvaro Carlevaro, Clemens Gadenstätter, Harald Muenz, Manuel Hidalgo, Shigeru Kan-no, Juliane Klein, Mayako Kubo, Wolfram G. Schurig, Kunsu Shim and Stefan Streich.
He is also noted for his articles, essays and lectures, many of which appear in Musik als existentielle Erfahrung (Music as Existential Experience) (Breitkopf & Härtel, Wiesbaden, 1996).
Lachenmann has received many distinguished awards such as the Bach-prize of Hamburg (Bach-Preis der Freien und Hansestadt Hamburg) in 1972, the Ernst von Siemens Music Prize in 1997 and the BBVA Foundation Frontiers of Knowledge Award in the Contemporary Music Category.
Invited by Walter Fink, he was the eighth composer featured in the annual Komponistenporträt of the Rheingau Musik Festival in 1998. Two chamber music concerts with Salome Kammer and members of the ensemble musikFabrik showed among others temA for flute, mezzosoprano and piano, his string trio and Allegro sostenuto for clarinet, violoncello and piano.
In spring 2008 he was appointed Fromm Visiting Professor at the Music department at Harvard University. He was also a composer-in-residence at Oberlin Conservatory during the same time, teaching alongside his longtime collaborator Lewis Nielson.
The founding of the Ensemble Modern (EM) in 1980 as an initiative of students of the Junge Deutsche Philharmonie pursued the goal of supporting New Music and giving it appropriate performances. Since 1985 the EM, which is democratically organised, has been resident in Frankfurt am Main since 1985. It is among the world’s leading ensembles for Contemporary Music.
Since 1987 the EM has been incorporated as a GbR under German law, with the musicians as partners. Currently, the EM is comprised of 19 soloists of different nationalities: Argentina, Bulgaria, Germany, Great Britain, India, Japan, Poland, and Switzerland form the cultural background of the ensemble.
The EM is known for its unique organisation and working method: there is no artistic director; projects, guest musicians, co-productions and financial matters are decided and implemented jointly. The current managing director is chosen from the member musicians and is the interface for all projects and questions between the artistic level of the musicians and the organisational level of the staff. Every partner brings his personal experience and preferences to the planning, which results in a unique and distinctive programming range. It includes musical theatre, dance and video projects, chamber music, ensemble and orchestral concerts. Its programme has led to extraordinary and often long-term cooperative ventures with renowned artists, such as John Adams, George Benjamin, Peter Eötvös, Heiner Goebbels, Hans Werner Henze, Mauricio Kagel, Helmut Lachenmann, György Kurtág, György Ligeti, Benedict Mason, Karlheinz Stockhausen, Steve Reich or Frank Zappa.
The Ensemble Modern has gone on tour to Africa, Australia, China, India, Japan, Korea, South America, Taiwan, Russia and the United States. It regularly performs at renowned festivals and outstanding venues, such as the Salzburg Festival, Klangspuren Schwaz, Festwochen Wien, Musikfest Berlin, MusikTriennale Cologne, Lincoln Center Festival in New York, settembre musica in Turin, Festival d’Automne à Paris, the Festival Ars Musica in Brussels, the Holland Festival in Amsterdam and the Lucerne Festival.
The EM also gives concerts in Germany at outstanding venues. It has had its own subscription series at the Alte Oper Frankfurt since 1985 and regularly produces operas in cooperation with the Frankfurt Opera, as well as a series of workshop concerts entitled ›Happy New Ears‹, featuring central works of contemporary music that are introduced and explained. The EM enjoys a close cooperation with numerous German concert producers, including the Kölner Philharmonie, Konzerthaus Berlin, Philharmonie Essen and the Festspielhaus Baden-Baden.
The Ensemble Modern gives approximately 100 concerts each year. The ensemble strives to achieve the highest degree of authenticity by working closely with the composers themselves. The musicians rehearse an average of 70 new works every year, 20 of which are world premieres. The Ensemble Modern was declared a ›Leuchtturm‹ or ›Beacon‹ of contemporary culture in Germany in 2003 by the German Federal Cultural Foundation.
The Ensemble Modern is funded by the German Federal Cultural Foundation, the City of Frankfurt, the German Ensemble Academy, the Ministry of Science and Art of the State of Hesse, the Deutsche Bank Foundation, the GEMA Foundation and the GVL. Special projects are made possible by the Kulturfonds Frankfurt RheinMain. hr2-kultur is cultural affairs partner of the Ensemble Modern.
Ilan Volkov, conductor
Born in Israel in 1976, Ilan Volkov was appointed Young Conductor in Association to the Northern Sinfonia at the age of nineteen. In 1997 he became Principal Conductor of the London Philharmonic Youth Orchestra and two years later was invited by Seiji Ozawa to join the Boston Symphony Orchestra as Assistant Conductor. He was Chief Conductor of the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra from 2003 to 2009, subsequently becoming Principal Guest Conductor. Ilan Volkov is a frequent guest with orchestras throughout the world, including the Israel and Munich Philharmonic orchestras, the Bamberg, City of Birmingham, Melbourne and Tokyo Metropolitan Symphony orchestras, National Symphony Orchestra (Washington DC), Orchestre de Paris, SWR Freiburg, MDR Leipzig, Berlin Radio Symphony Orchestra, Orchestre National du Capitole de Toulouse, Orchestre National de Lyon and the Ensemble Modern. In the opera house he has conducted Tchaikovsky’s Eugene Onegin for San Francisco Opera, Britten’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream at the Glyndebourne Festival (having previously appeared with Glyndebourne Touring Opera) and Britten’s Peter Grimes for Washington National Opera.
His critically acclaimed recordings for Hyperion include two CDs of Stravinsky ballets; a disc of Janácek orchestral music; a recording of Britten’s complete works for piano and orchestra with Steven Osborne, which won a 2009 Gramophone Award; two discs of Roslavets, including the violin concertos with Alina Ibragimova; violin concertos by Taneyev and Arensky with Ilya Gringolts; viola concertos by Rubbra and Walton with Lawrence Power; and Reger’s Piano Concerto and Richard Strauss’s Burleske with Marc-André Hamelin.
Ilan Volkov is one of the guiding forces behind Levontin 7, a performance venue in Tel Aviv that brings together differing musical genres, including classical, jazz, electronic and rock. In 2011–12 he assumed the position of Music Director and Chief Conductor of the Iceland Symphony Orchestra, where his role includes creating an annual new-music festival in which he envisages the orchestra collaborating with contemporary composers, non-classical musicians and artists.
Jörn Peter Hiekel
Jörn Peter Hiekel graduated from the Cologne and Bonn Universities with degrees in musicology and art history. He also studied double-bass performance and was awarded the degree of doctor.
Since 1988 he has consistently participated as a double-bassist in various professional music ensembles (such as Das Neue Orchester Köln, Ensemble Contra punctus). From 1994—2003 he worked at Breitkopf & Härtel music publishers (Wiesbaden).
Since 1997 Jörn Peter Hiekel has been teaching musicology at Wiesbaden Music Academy, Frankfurt am Main Higher Music School and Heidelberg University. As of April 2003 he works at the Karl Maria von Weber Higher Music School’s Institute of Musicology in Dresden.
Since April 2004 he has been a member of New Music and Music Education Institute’s governing body in Darmshtadt. Since April 2005 he teaches at the Dresden Technical University and simultaneously directs the Karl Maria von Weber Higher Music School’s Institute of New Music.
Studio for New Music
The Studio for New Music (SNM) is the leading contemporary music group in Russia. The ensemble was founded by composer Vladimir Tarnopolski and conductor Igor Dronov in 1993. Their first concert was given in France with Mstislav Rostropovich as conductor. Every year the ensemble performs about 50 programs in Moscow and throughout the country, and is a frequent guest in many Western contemporary music festivals. SNM has performed at such major venues as Berlin Philharmonie, Paradiso Amsterdam, Konzerthaus Berlin, Jacqueline du Pre Concert Hall Oxford, Deutschlandfunk Koeln, Cite de la Musique Paris, Schoenberg Center Vienna, and Festispielhaus Hellerau Dresden among others. They have conducteda variety of workshops at the universities of Oxford, Harvard and Boston to name a few. SNM has beenthefirst and so far theonly Russian group which was invited as ensemble-in-residence at theDarmstadt International Courses for New Music in 2010. The group has given many concerts in most of European countries several times touring in USA.
SNM has premiered about 900 compositions of Russians and foreign composers including national ones. In association with Ensemble Modern, «Studio» also performed the Russian premiere of Requiem by Henze. In this way it cooperates with other leading foreign ensembles, performing the Russian premieres of pieces by Andriessen, Boulez, Ferneyhough, Grisey, Hurel, Lachenmann, Ligeti, Murail, Rihm, Nono, Stockhausen, and many others.
SNM has presented about 60 concert-portraits of the leading contemporary composers.Many of them such as Ivan Fedele, Nicolaus A. Huber, Enno Poppe, RogerRedgate and many others have written their new works especially for the group. Another particular interest is given to all kinds of collaboration with young composers in competitions, workshops, and various other forms. During last years Studio for New Music actively works on the projects with live electronics, video and multimedia commissioning new works from Russian and European composers as well as promoting in Russia most interesting already existing works such as Romitelli “An Index of Metals” to be premiered in Russia on November 2013. Among vast repertoire of the group, special attention is also given to the Russian Avant-garde of the 1920’s (Gavriil Popov, Nicolai Roslavets, Alexander Mosolov and others). One of the most important events of this kind was the world premiere of the Chamber Symphony No. 2 by Nikolai Roslavets (composed in 1934) which was recently found in an archive.
SNM has won status as the ensemble-in-residence at the Moscow Conservatory. It is the core ensemble for the «Moscow Forum» Festival of contemporary music. In2002,2005and 2012Studio for New Musicwon the prestigious grants of Ernst von Siemens Musikstiftung for several two-years anthological series of concerts in Moscow and Russian regions. In 2010Studio for New Musicwon the grant of European Commission for the realization of the large-scale project “Europe through the eyes of Russians. Russia through the eyes of Europeans” with 18 new compositions by Russian and European composers commissioned.
Igor Dronov, coductor
Igor Dronov was born in Moscow. In 1992 he graduated from Moscow Tchaikovsky Conservatory, where he studied with Professor Boris Tevlin in the Choral Conducting Department, and with Dmitri Kitayenko in the Department of Opera and Orchestral Conducting. He took part in master classes of Sir Georg Solti and Pierre Boulez.
Since 1991 he has conducted at the Bolshoi Theater, where his repertoire included such operas as Tchaikovsky's "Eugene Onegin", Gounod's "Faust", Verdi's "Il Tovatore" and "La Traviata" Rachmaninoff's "Aleko" and "The Covetous Knight", Puccini's "Madama Butterfly" and Leonid Desyatnikov's "The Children of Rosenthal". In 2004 he became the musical director of a production of an evening of one-act ballets ("Chamber N.6" to the music of Arvo Pärt, "Magrittomania" by Yuri Krasavin and "Lea" set to the music of Leonard Bernstein), in 2005 – the musical director of a production of a ballet "A Midsummer Night's Dream" by J. Neumeier to the music of Felix Mendelssohn-Bartholdy, Gyorgy Ligeti and traditional mechanical music ("Golden Mask" prize for the best ballet production), in 2006 – the musical director of a production of ballet "Serenade" by G.Balanchine to the music of P.Tchaikovsky, ballet "Miserecordes" by Ch.Wheeldon on music of Simphony #3 by Arvo Pärt (world premiere), in 2007 – the musical director of a production of ballet "The Lesson" by F.Flindt to the music of Georges Delerue. He also performs together with the orchestra of the Bolshoi Theater with concert programs.He has frequently performed as a guest conductor with numerous well-known music ensembles and orchestras, including the Russian National Orchestra, the Ensemble Modern (Germany) and numerous others.
Since 1992 he has taught at Moscow Conservatory at the Department of Opera and Orchestral Conducting (since 2002 he has been a professor). He is the chief conductor of the "Studio for New Music" ensemble, with which he has performed over 500 Russian and world premieres by 20th century composers. Since the time of the founding of the "Moscow Forum" contemporary music festival Igor Dronov has been the chief conductor of the festival. Since 1994 he has been the chief conductor and artistic director of the youth chamber ensemble "Premiera".
He has recorded a series of compact discs of contemporary music of Russia and other countries. He frequently tours the countries of Europe, USA and Japan.
Studio for New Music String quartet
The Studio for New Music string quartet was created within the walls of the Moscow Conservatory by its graduates in 2004. The performers studied chamber music with such well-known professors as A.Bonduryansky, A.Korchagin, N.Kogan, A.Rudin, T.Alikhanov and A.Shishlov.
During the course of their studies and participation in various ensembles, the participants of the string quartet frequently became winners of international competitions (including the Sergei Taneyev Competition in Russia in 1999, the Vincenzo Bellini Competition in Italy in 2000) and musical festivals, such as the «Russian Youth Academy» in 2003, 2004 and 2005, the festival «Commemorating Sixty Years», the Usidom Chamber Festival held in Germany and Poland, the festival of Russian culture in Cannes, France in 2006, and others.
Since 2005 the string quartet has performed as part of the «Studio for New Music» ensemble. During the time of its participation in the ensemble, the string quartet has performed with great success the Russian premieres of compositions by Alban Berg, Gerhard Zinsstag, Gyorgy Ligeti, Steve Reich, Wiltold Lutoslawski, Luciano Berio, Franco Donatoni and many others. In the relatively short time period of its activity, the quartet has already earned the most complimentary comments from famous contemporary composers, including Valentin Silvestrov, Krzysztof Penderecki and Allain Gaussin. The quartet has toured extensively both in Russia and abroad, taking part in various music festivals, such as «Suono Immagine» in Milan, «Lenin, Stalin and Music» in Paris, the Bach festival in Istanbul, the festival in El Djem, Tunisia, the Moscow Forum and Moscow Autumn festivals, the P.I.Jurgenson International Competition in Moscow, and many others.
Sergej Tschirkov, accordion
Sergej Tchirkov was born in St.Petersburg in 1980 and studied the accordion at the Rimsky-Korsakov Special Secondary Music Lyceum. He graduated from the Rimsky-Korsakov Conservatory in 2003, class of Professor Alexander Dmitryev. In 2003-2005 he took a postgraduate course and qualified as an assistant teacher in accordion performance and chamber music.
Sergej has attended seminars on composition conducted by Sergej Slonimsky, Gerard McBurney, and Ernst-Helmuth Flammer. In 2004 he received a scholarship from the European Centre of Arts Hellerau (EzdK) where he also studied improvisation with Anton Lukaszeviece.
Sergej Tchirkov has been awarded prizes at the following international competitions:
2003 - Citta di Capistrello, Italy
2001 - Lasse Pihlajamaa competition for virtuoso accordionists, Finland
2001 - Coupe Mondiale, UK
1999 - Citta di Castelfidardo, Italy
1999 - Citta di Lanciano, Italy
1998 - Citta di Castelfidardo, Italy
1996 - Coupe Mondiale jr. Cat, Slovak republic
1996 - Andreev competition, Russia
Sergej has collaborated with composers such as Pierluigi Billone, Ivan Fedele, Klaus Lang, John Palmer, Hanna Eimermacher, Dieter Schnebel, Martin Schlumpf, Matthias Müller, Boris Filanovski, Sergej Newski and more, and premiered numerous works featuring the accordion. He has performed at various new music festivals including Sound Ways, Territoria, Dresden Days of Contemporary Music, Pythian Games, Musical Spring in St.Petersburg, Northern Flowers. In 2002 he was guest performer at EXPO 2002 (Switzerland).
Sergej has played both as a soloist and a member of an orchestra, including with the Mariinsky Theatre Orchestra, the St.Petersburg Philharmonic Orchestra, the Musica Aeterna ensemble, Neue Dresdner Kammermusik and more, under the direction of Valery Gergiev, Teodor Currentzis, Timothy Redmond, Arkady Steinlucht, Federico Mondelci, and Alexis Soriano.
He has been a member of following ensembles: Pro Arte Foundation eNsemble (St.Petersburg), Zero ensemble (Zürich), Moscow Contemporary Music Ensemble, Studio of New Music (Moscow), CNMRG computer and new music research group (St.Petersburg).
Tchirkov has been a guest lecturer at the Zürich University of Music and Theatre, Gothenburg University, EMS Stockholm, Perm State Pedagogical University, and the Kazakh National University of Arts Astana. He has been an adjudicator at several compositon and new music competitions. His thesis on John Palmer's DRANG for accordion solo has been recommended as an education tool for higher schools of music. He is an expert of the Pro Arte Foundation music programs and a member of the expert council of the St. Petersburg Contemporary Music Centre 'ReMusik.org'.
In 1999 - 2001 Sergej Tchirkov coordinated AWW East European News for Accordion. In 2009 - 2010 he worked as deputy-director of the State Russian Concert Orchestra, St.Petersburg.
Since 2011 he has taught at the International New Music Academy organised by the Moscow Contemporary Music Ensemble in the town of Tchaikovsky.
Sergej Tchirkov works as a lecturer and performer at the Centre of Contemporary Music at Moscow State Tchaikovsky Conservatory.
Mark Pekarsky Ensemble of Percussion Instruments
Mark Pekarsky was the first in Russia who organized the “Percussion Instruments Ensemble”, the only concerting Ensemble since 1976 till now.
The Ensemble’s debut took place in the Moscow Scientists’ House on December 6th, 1976 and was met by press and public with delight. Since then the “Percussion Instruments Ensemble” plays in Russia and abroad with permanent success, participates in large festivals, has recordings on radio and TV, phonograph records and compact discs.
In 1990 – 1992 the Ensemble was the regular collective of All-Union Tour Concert Association “Soyuzkontsert” of the USSR Ministry of Culture. The Ensemble’s debut in 1986 at the 36th Berlin Festival “Berliner Festwochen” was really triumphal. Newspaper “Tagesspiegel” called the Ensemble “The catalyst of Soviet composers’ creativity”, and recognized it as an “east competitor” of the famous percussion ensemble in Europe “Les Percussions de Strasbourg”. “Their comparison with the famous “Les Percussions de Strasbourg” is not an exaggeration, — commented the Swiss newspaper “Neue Züriche Zeutung”. — Unreal accuracy and teamwork, easy handling with really uncountable toolkit, and there is also an ability to stylistic transformation! It is clear now, why Russian composers are eager to work with Pekarsky’s Ensemble”.
“Can music keep the spectators’ attention within the whole evening? — Perhaps, it can, if we speak about such a brilliant group as Mark Pekarsky’s Moscow Ensemble”, writes the reviewer of Berliner Morgenpost (Germany) newspaper. The listeners of Pekarsky’s Ensemble gladly share his opinion.
Mark Pekarsky’s Moscow Ensemble is the participant of many ceremonies, such as opening of art exhibitions in the Pushkin Fine Arts State Museum, in the State Tretyakov Gallery, in the Central Artists’ House on the Krymsky Val and others, opening of the international film festivals in Moscow and Sochi, opening of sports competitions, including the Judo Championship in St.-Petersburg, Awarding Procedure of “Golden Mask”, “Golden Eagle”, “Crystal Turandot”.
Each Pekarsky’s Ensemble performance is considered as significant event of a modern cultural life and each time their programmes includes a premiere of a new composition or a debut of a young composer.
The ensemble has exclusive repertoire (about 200 compositions), created by the Russian and foreign composers especially for it. The main repertoire of the Ensemble comprises the compositions written specially for the Ensemble by such composers as S. Gubaidulina and E. Denisov, V. Suslin and A. Schnittke, V. Martynov and A. Knaifel, A. Vustin and A. Raskatov. So several generations of the Russian composers contributed to the creation of unique repertoire of the Ensemble.
Working on the concert programmes of the Ensemble has turned to the original dramatized actions. “You think, that there are four elements of music, aren’t there? Melody, harmony, rhythm and timbre? It is wrong! There are five of them as demonstrated Mark Pekarsky … You should add theatre!” — Glasgow Gerald (Scotland).