established in 1984 as an ensemble specializing in the interpretation of contemporary vocal music. Founded under the artistic management of Musik der Jahrhunderte, the vocal chamber ensemble has been artistically independent since the year 2000. Each of the seven concert and opera soloists, with a collective range reaching from a coloratura soprano over a countertenor to a basso profondo, has impact on the ensemble’s work on chamber music and their co-operation with composers and other interpreters through his or her distinguished artistic creativity. Their partners are specialist ensembles and radio orchestras, opera houses and the independent theatre scene, electronic studios and countless organizers of contemporary music festivals and concert series throughout the world.
The ensemble’s chief interest lies in research: exploring new sounds, new vocal techniques and new forms of articulation, in which process great emphasis is placed on establishing a dialogue with composers. Each year, the ensemble premieres about twenty new works. Central to the group’s artistic concept are the areas of music theatre and interdisciplinary work involving electronics, video, visual arts and literature, as well as the juxtaposition of contrasting elements found in ancient and contemporary music. The Ensemble has achieved international renown with its music theatre production such as Hilda Paredes’ Phantom Palace staged in Stuttgart and New Haven (Connecticut), Brian Ferneyhough’s Shadowtime in Munich, Paris, London and New York, Julio Estrada’s Murmullos del páramo in Stuttgart, Madrid, Venice and Mexico City, as well as music theatre a cappella making use of works by many composers, notably by Oscar Strasnoy, Luciano Berio and Lucia Ronchetti, which the Ensemble has performed in many European countries, Los Angeles, and Teatro Colón in Buenos Aires. Productions staged in 2011 include Olaf Nicolai’s interdisciplinary project Escalier du chant at the Pinakothek der Moderne in Munich, two stage productions by José María Sánchez-Verdú, AURA and GRAMMA, the second video-theatrical staging of Hannes Seidl and Daniel Kötter’s Freizeitspektakel in Warsaw, a new interpretation of Oscar Strasnoy’s operetta Geschichte, and more than 30 other concert cycles and workshops.