Press releases | Culture 11.05.2011

contempo primo – A training program for contemporary chamber music in China, initiated by Siemens Stiftung, successfully culminated with the foundation of the ensemble ConTempo Beijing.

Debut concert on 14th May 2011 in the Beijing Concert Hall

A year ago the Central Conservatory of Music, Beijing, and the Siemens Stiftung set up a training program for contemporary chamber music under the title contempo primo. The training of young Chinese musicians led to the foundation of China’s first professional ensemble for contemporary music. The foundation of the ensemble ConTempo Beijing will consequently help strengthen and develop the path for chamber music in a manner previously unknown in China. For the first time ever the traditions of Asian and European music are combined within one ensemble.

Since the spring of 2010, highly talented musicians living in China were able to apply for a place on the training program contempo primo. Under the guidance of the internationally renowned Ensemble Modern from Frankfurt am Main in Germany, the fifty instrumentalists selected worked in various phases on a full evening program of music from the 20th and 21th centuries. What makes this program unique is the combination of traditional Chinese and Western musical instruments in one ensemble. During an extended study visit with Ensemble Modern in Frankfurt am Main, one of the Chinese musicians also received support and training on chamber music management.

The conductor Kasper de Roo will be directing the debut concert of ensemble ConTempo Beijing on 14th May 2011 in the Beijing Concert Hall. The highlight of the evening will be the premiere of a work commissioned by Siemens Stiftung written by the Chinese composer GUO Wenjing. GUO is an internationally renowned composer of modern day China, and is strongly influenced by the traditional music of his homeland. Yet at the same time he aims in his works to break down the barriers between East and West, and also between history and modernity. Siemens Stiftung commissioned a further work, written by JIA Guoping, a composer living in China. This piece is written for traditional Chinese instruments, and will offer the audience a greater insight into the rich variety of Asian musical life.

Within the framework of the Year of Chinese Culture 2012, numerous international festivals have already sent out invitations to ensemble ConTempo Beijing. Consequently the ensemble will be performing at the “Schleswig-Holstein Music Festival”, followed by a concert tour. The ensemble’s first project outside of the training program contempo primo will be a master course given at the Central Conservatory of Music in July 2011, where the ensemble will be working as Ensemble in Residence. The Goethe-Institut has expressed interest in supporting a future project with the ensemble ConTempo Beijing (in Chinese Beijing Xian Dai Shi Nei Yue Tuan).

Preliminary Concert
(containing additional works studied during the course)
on 13th May 2011, 7.30pm, in the Central Conservatory of Music, Concert Hall

Directed by Kasper de Roo
with works by Béla Bartók, Luciano Berio, John Cage, Sofia Gubaidulina, Leoš Janáček, György Ligeti, Francis Poulenc, Arnold Schönberg, Nikos Skalkottas and Isang Yun

Debut Concert

on 14th May 2011, 7.30pm, in Beijing Concert Hall
Beijing Xicheng District Xinhuajie No. 1

Directed by Kasper de Roo
with works by GUO Wenjing (World premiere), Georg Friedrich Haas, Paul Hindemith, JIA Guoping (World premiere), Edgard Varèse

The Central Conservatory of Music, located in the former residence of Prince Chun from the Qing Dynasty, is the leading musical education institution in China. Today the grounds cover approximately 53 hectares in the centre of Peking. Lessons are given in both traditional and modern buildings. Founded in 1950, the conservatory offers a wide range of lessons in various areas of music, for all levels of education. The library has over 500,000 works, and is the largest of its kind in China. For a few years now the Central Conservatory of Music has intensified its international relations through exchanges with overseas institutions and artists. Further information can be found at

Ensemble Modern is considered to be one of the leading ensembles in the field of contemporary music. The thirty years of experience gathered while working closely together with composers on their works have helped the ensemble gain a thorough, wide-ranging knowledge of twentieth century music. The International Ensemble Modern Academy was founded in 2003, and aims to offer a high-quality platform for active education, experimentation and exchange. Further information can be found at

The Siemens Stiftung, a nonprofit foundation under German civil law, wasfounded in the fall of 2008 by Siemens AG. The foundation works with projectsto strengthen civil society, particularly in Africa, Latin America andGermany/Europe. Its aim is to make a long-term contribution to reducingpoverty and improving education. The foundation operates in three areas: Itsupports enlarging basic services and improving social structures; initiates educational projects; and helps reflect cultural identities and arts. The overarching principle for the foundation's work is to help people help themselves. The Siemens Stiftung works in close cooperation with local and international partners as well as in alliance with the other Siemens foundations established by Siemens in Argentina, Brazil, France, Colombia and the United States.