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La Biennale di Venezia

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Biennale Musica 2024

Ensemble Modern

Silver Lion

Award Ceremony

Sunday 29 September, 12:00 noon
Ca’ Giustinian, Venice

Ensemble Modern

La Biennale di Venezia will present the Silver Lion to the Ensemble Modern.

The Ensemble Modern is awarded the Silver Lion “for the fearless and courageous creation of musical projects in collaboration with the most interesting and acknowledged composers and performers in the fields of media and different musical languages. In its 44 years of activity, the Ensemble has distinguished itself for its curiosity, energy, innovation, virtuosity and the passion with which it has dedicated itself to every new project. Unlike other historic ensembles dedicated to new music, the Ensemble Modern has a democratic organizational structure that allows all the members of the ensemble to discuss and together choose the new productions and performance engagements, which makes their interpretations passionate and precise. Their attitude towards composers from around the world is professional and respectful, both in the case of emerging young composers, and of great established composers. The members of the ensemble are soloists with different and contrasting personalities, and each of them responds to the demands of the new music in a different way, creating a complex multiform dialogue that enriches the compositional experience and stimulates research and creativity” (from the motivation).

Performing at the Biennale Musica since 1985, this year the Ensemble Modern will return to the Biennale for the Italian premieres of two important complex instrumental works by Rebecca Saunders: Wound, which will inaugurate the Festival on September 26th at the Teatro La Fenice and for which the famous German ensemble will be joined by the Orchestra del Teatro conducted by Tito Ceccherini, and Skull, commissioned by La Biennale in collaboration with the Festival Acht Brücken, the Ensemble Contrechamps of Geneva, the Oslo Sinfonietta and the Ensemble Modern itself, which will perform it on September 28th at the Teatro Piccolo Arsenale, conducted by Bas Wiegers.

Biographical notes

The Ensemble Modern is one of the most well-known music formations in the world. This democratically organized ensemble, founded in 1980 and at home in Frankfurt am Main, is composed of 18 soloists. The musicians from Belgium, Bulgaria, Germany, Greece, India, Japan, Switzerland and the USA jointly decide on artistic projects, partnerships with other artists and all financial matters. Its aesthetic spectrum includes musical theatre works, dance and multimedia projects, chamber music, ensemble and orchestral concerts. Tours and guest appearances regularly take Ensemble Modern to renowned festivals throughout the world and major national and international performance venues.
Ensemble Modern rehearses an average of 70 new works every year, 20 of which are world premieres, some of them commissioned by the ensemble itself. The works are mostly rehearsed in close contact with their composers. Ensemble Modern’s concept and goal is to achieve the highest possible precision in implementing a composer’s ideas. Its work is characterised by extraordinary and often long-term cooperative ventures with artists such as John Adams, Mark Andre, George Benjamin, Unsuk Chin, Peter Eötvös, Brian Ferneyhough, Heiner Goebbels, Hans Werner Henze, Heinz Holliger, Mauricio Kagel, György Kurtág, Helmut Lachenmann, György Ligeti, Cathy Milliken, Brigitta Muntendorf, Olga Neuwirth, Enno Poppe, Steve Reich, Wolfgang Rihm, Rebecca Saunders, Iris ter Schiphorst, Simon Steen-Andersen, Karlheinz Stockhausen, Mark-Anthony Turnage, Frank Zappa, Hans Zender and Vito Žuraj, as well as outstanding personalities from other artistic genres.
Ensemble Modern has run its own label, Ensemble Modern Media, since 2000. Further audio media, approximately 150 so far, have been released by other established labels. In 2003, the International Ensemble Modern Academy (IEMA) was founded to support Ensemble Modern’s education activities. Its goal is to convey the numerous artistic movements of our times as well as an open, creative manner of dealing with artistic processes.

Biennale Musica
Biennale Musica