Ensemble Modern

Funded as a Cultural Institution of Excellence

Show the full version of this element's decorative background image.


The Frankfurt-based Ensemble Modern, established in 1980, has become one of the world’s leading ensembles of New Music. With 18 soloists from nine different countries, the Ensemble Modern performs around 100 concerts and rehearses 70 new pieces each year, more than 20 of which are world premieres. The Ensemble Modern has guest-performed at concert halls throughout Europe, in Africa, Australia, China, India, Japan, Korea, South America, Taiwan, Russia and the US and regularly performs at renowned festivals and outstanding venues.

The Ensemble Modern is known for its democratically-based organisational form and a working method that influences its programme planning. There is no artistic director; the ensemble decides which pieces it wishes to perform each season. The musical versatility of the ensemble is the result of each member’s personal experience and ideas. In addition to the ensemble, orchestra and chamber concerts, the Ensemble Modern’s repertoire also includes music theatre, dance and video projects.

1 2 3 4 ty Years Ensemble Modern – Anniversary cycle

In commemoration of its 40th anniversary in 2020, the Ensemble Modern will present a year-long cycle of concerts in Germany and abroad which celebrate the many facets of its musical activities which have been a driving force in recent music history. The seven-part cycle 1 2 3 4 ty Years Ensemble Modern (external link, opens in a new window) highlights distinctive aspects of the Ensemble Modern – the intensive collaboration with composers and the search for performance formats which allow audiences to experience the works and the ensemble in new ways. In addition to the classic “Black on White” by Heiner Goebbels, the ensemble will present the seldom performed, epochal work “Les espaces acoustique” by Gérard Grisey on tour through Germany under the direction of Sylvain Cambreling. Because of the central importance of Anton Webern’s work for the Ensemble Modern, the composer and conductor Enno Poppe will head the concert project “A Look Back Ahead”, a musical dialogue between contemporary composers and Anton Webern. With the project “Afro-Modernism in Contemporary Music”, the Ensemble Modern will pay tribute to composers of the African diaspora with a concert at the Alte Oper in Frankfurt. The Federal Cultural Foundation has allocated an additional 400,000 euros to fund the anniversary programme.

In recent years, the Ensemble Modern has developed two additional projects, which have since made a name for themselves in the contemporary music scene:

The International Ensemble Modern Academy (IEMA) was founded in summer 2003 to introduce young musicians to New Music and allow the ensemble to pass its unique knowledge of contemporary compositions to the next generation. The IEMA, which has sparked impulses and set standards the world over, comprises a master’s degree programme, international master courses, school projects and the International Composition Seminar. The Ensemble Modern Orchestra (EMO) was founded in 1998 as the world’s first orchestra exclusively devoted to New Music. The orchestra’s core complement is comprised of soloists from the Ensemble Modern, supported by musicians from around the world.
From 2014 to 2018, the Federal Cultural Foundation supported several projects, developed by musicians from the Ensemble Modern Orchestra together with graduates of the master’s degree programme offered by the International Ensemble Modern Academy. The projects included a tour with four world premieres, the performance of commissioned works and other joint productions by the EMO and IEMA.

Cultural Institutions of Excellence Awarded Additional Funding

At its session on 28 November 2016, the Board of Trustees of the Federal Cultural Foundation agreed to continue financing and – for the first time – provided additional funding to the currently funded “Cultural Institutions of Excellence” until 2022. In accordance with this funding decision, the Ensemble Modern will now receive 250,000 euros per year.


Ensemble Modern

Schwedlerstr. 2-4
60314 Frankfurt/Main
Tel.: +49 (0)69 9434 3020
Fax: +49 (0)69 9434 3030