Music and Sound

studio musikFabrik. Foto: Klaus Rudolph

Studio Musikfabrik

New Music

The Federal Cultural Foundation regularly supports projects in the field of new music through major funding programmes and General Project Funding support. Several years ago, the Foundation initiated the New Music Network, a multi-year programme comprised of 15 networks with 255 partners, focused on promoting new music and increasing its popularity nationwide. Although cultivating new talent was always an integral part of the local projects, the New Music Network demonstrated over time that introducing young people to New Music and training them to become tomorrow’s musicians was an essential aspect of musical education in Germany.

Following the successful conclusion of the New Music Network, the Federal Cultural Foundation remains committed to supporting efforts to promote new music. The Foundation launched the model project Studio Musikfabrik, coordinated by the Ensemble musikFabrik of Cologne, to cultivate and train young talent.

The Ensemble musikFabrik is one of the world’s leading ensembles of new music today. Since 1990 the ensemble of soloists has performed unknown pieces and commissioned new compositions, developed in large part in collaboration with the composers and other artists. The list of illustrious figures who have worked with the ensemble include Mark Andre, Sir Harrison Birtwistle, Heiner Goebbels, Toshio Hosokawa, Helmut Lachenmann, Olga Neuwirth, Emmanuel Nunes, Carlus Padrissa (of the theatre company La Fura dels Baus), Sasha Waltz (dance), Rebecca Saunders and Karlheinz Stockhausen. The central aim of the Ensemble musikFabrik is to explore the experimental possibilities of expression in the areas of music and performance. In 2009, the ensemble accepted responsibility of the Studio Musikfabrik, a programme dedicated to training young musicians.

In cooperation with the NRW State Music Council, the ensemble’s professional musicians work together with the State Youth Ensemble. Since 2006, they have helped young musicians (ages 14 to 21), who have participated in the “Jugend musiziert” festival or regularly perform in chamber or state youth ensembles, to become members of the North Rhine-Westphalian State Youth Ensemble and gain experience performing contemporary music in a large ensemble. In the meantime, the State Music Council and the Ensemble musikFabrik have acquired joint responsibility for the State Youth Ensemble. For the young musicians, the affiliation with a professional ensemble offers enormous opportunities for professional development. Not only are they trained in performance techniques and interpretation of new music, but also gain first-hand experience with the day-to-day activities in a professional ensemble of new music.

The NRW State Music Council and the Ensemble musikFabrik have established the basic structure of their cooperation with financial resources of their own. In two brief rehearsal phases, they have succeeded in producing five to seven concerts per season, though only in the state of North Rhine-Westphalia and without any significant publicity measures. With additional support from the state of NRW and other sponsors, the Federal Cultural Foundation offered its support to intensify this collaborative project. The funding primarily went toward lengthening the rehearsal and training period with the professional musicians, increasing the number of public performances, enhancing the young musicians’ artistic experience, and offering them the chance to make national and international contacts. The Federal Cultural Foundation committed to ensuring that the state of North Rhine-Westphalia will continue supporting the Studio Musikfabrik after the Foundation’s project-funding period concludes.

The Federal Cultural Foundation allocated a total of 320,000 euros to fund the Studio Musikfabrik project from 2013 to 2016.