Press releases | Culture 25.07.2012

Modernity in Dialogue: The ConTempo Beijing Ensemble at the Schleswig-Holstein Musik Festival

The young members of China’s first contemporary music ensemble represent a momentary musical snapshot of modern-day China. Having come of age within extremely dynamic surroundings, these musicians will be presenting the German debut of this generation’s artistic explorations.

Thanks to the initiative of the Siemens Stiftung, an educational program for contemporary ensemble music has been taking place in China in cooperation with Beijing’s Central Conservatory of Music since 2010. Under the direction of the Frankfurt-based Ensemble Modern and conductor Kasper de Roo, 48 select instrumentalists have prepared an evening-long program of 20th- and 21st-century music over the course of rehearsals separated into various developmental working phases. On May 14, 2011, at the conclusion of this educational program, a concert was held to mark the founding of the ConTempo Beijing ensemble. This first concert has already propelled the ensemble into the international spotlight, and projects undertaken by the Beijing-based ensemble since that point have centered exclusively on contemporary music.

In a further developmental working phase, the Siemens Stiftung will be supporting and accompanying the professionalization of these young Chinese musicians in the framework of the Schleswig-Holstein Musik Festival through its sponsorship of the ensemble’s collaboration with the Ensemble Modern in Frankfurt (Main) and Lübeck and the ensemble’s first international concert appearance to follow that. Within the framework of the international Schleswig-Holstein Musik Festival masterclasses, some 20 members of the ConTempo Beijing ensemble, which features a collection of both western and traditional Chinese instruments, will be working out a demanding concert program in Frankfurt (Main) and at Lübeck’s music conservatory under the direction of members of the Ensemble Modern. The fruits of this labor will be made public in open rehearsals and a concert at Lübeck’s music conservatory as well as in NDR’s Rolf-Liebermann-Studio in Hamburg in conjunction with the NDR program ›das neue werk‹.

The programming for the first portion of the concert will be carried out under the aegis of the Ensemble ConTempo Beijing, the third portion under the direction of the Ensemble Modern. The middle portion of the concert will be featuring a collaboration between the two ensembles. Promising to be the high point of the program is the world premiere of three compositions chosen as prizewinners of the Chinese-German ConTempo Composition Competition. This competition was publicized and carried out in a joint cooperation between the Ministry of Culture of the People’s Republic of China, the Schleswig-Holstein Musik Festival, the Hindemith Foundation, the Ernst von Siemens-Musikstiftung and the NDR concert series entitled ›das neue werk‹. Li Bo, first prizewinner with ›Mondlicht – Stadtmauer – Prosadichtung – Chamber Music for Eleven Instruments‹ (2011), is also winner of the 2012 Paul Hindemith Prize. His prizewinning composition is to be heard in Hamburg. The compositions submitted by second prizewinner Wang Ruiqi and third prizewinner Rao Pencheng are to be performed in Lübeck.

Set in unmistakable counterpoint to the first portion of the program, with its emphasis on contemporary Chinese music, will be music from the US, as the ensembles collaborate in a performance of John Cage’s work ›Atlas Eclipticalis‹; the Ensemble Modern will also be playing works by John Adams and Steve Reich.

With its workshop, open panel discussion (Hamburg’s Chinese Teahouse, August 12, 11:00 am) and concert featuring the collaboration of ConTempo Beijing and the Ensemble Modern, the Schleswig-Holstein Musik Festival aims to bring international attention to the work of contemporary Chinese composers.

The ConTempo Beijing Ensemble emerged from ›contempo primo‹, an ensemble project at the Central Conservatory of Music in Beijing, and the Siemens Stiftung, in cooperation with the Internationale Ensemble Modern Akademie.

Time and place:

First concert:
August 11, 2012, 4:00 pm, Lübeck, Musikhochschule Lübeck

Panel discussion:
August 12, 2012, 11:00 am, Chinese Teahouse, Hamburg, with Rolf Beck, Schleswig-Holstein Musik Festival; Jens Cording, Siemens Stiftung; Roland Diry, Ensemble Modern; Jia Guoping, Central Conservatory of Music

Second concert:
August 12, 2012, 7:00 pm, Hamburg, NDR, Rolf-Liebermann-Studio
The Paul Hindemith Prize will be awarded at this concert.

Program: Three-part concerts

Ensemble ConTempo Beijing
Paul Hindemith:
Kammermusik Nr. 1 for Twelve Solo Instruments, Op. 24, No. 1 (1922)
Guo Wenjing:
Capriccio for Zheng and Ensemble (2011)
Jia Guoping:
Whispers of a Gentle Wind, for Pipa, Zheng, Banhu und Sheng (2011)
Wang Ruiqi:
The Legend of Kua Fu (2012 | UA) (only performed in Lübeck)
Rao Pengcheng:
The Ambition & Voice (2011 | UA) (only performed in Lübeck)
Li Bo:
Mondlicht – Stadtmauer – Prosadichtung – Chamber Music for Eleven Instruments (2011 | UA) (only performed in Hamburg)

Ensemble Modern & Ensemble ConTempo Beijing
John Cage:
Atlas Eclipticalis (1961-62)

Ensemble Modern
John Adams:
Chamber Symphony (1992)
Steve Reich:
Double Sextet for ensemble (2007)
Steve Reich:
City Life (1995)

Kasper de Roo, Conductor  |  Norbert Ommer, Sound Direction

anbruch – neue Hörwelten is supported by the following: Siemens Stiftung | NDR’s ›das neue werk‹ | Hindemith Foundation (Blonay, Switzerland) | Rudolf and Erika Koch Foundation | Walther and Käthe Busche Foundation | Gerhard Trede Foundation | Ministry of Culture of the People’s Republic of China | ZEIT-Stiftung Ebelin und Gerd Bucerius, HamburgAt the time it was brought to life in 1986, the basic concept underlying the Schleswig-Holstein Musik Festival was virtually peerless. Just as its surrounding cultural landscape considered decentralization revolutionary, the goal of the festival was to leave the traditional temple to the muses and bring musical happenings out to the masses, directly to the people themselves. Since its inception, the Schleswig-Holstein Musik Festival has been one of the largest festivals worldwide, not only in terms of space and numbers but also in terms of its international cultural prominence. One of the core values of the SHMF is encouraging the growth of the up-and-coming musical generation. With its orchestral and choral academies as well as its masterclasses, the festival has solidly positioned itself on the international scene as a leading institution for the educational advancement of music.The Ensemble Modern is considered to be one of the world’s leading contemporary music ensembles. It is known for its unique methods of self- organization and its distinctive programmatic scope. Over the course of its more than 30 years of existence, the ensemble’s intensive collaboration with artists and their works have allowed it to amass a thoroughly extensive collection of 20th-and 21st-century music. The Internationale Ensemble Modern Akademie, founded in 2003 with the goal of fostering vitality in learning, experimentation and mutual artistic exchange at the highest niveau, offers a rich variety of programs, ranging from international master’s studies in contemporary music and masterclasses to school-specific educational projects. Further information is available at www.ensemble-modern.comENCOURAGE. empowering people. The Siemens Stiftung wants to empower people to actively address today’s social challenges and is dedicated to the values of Werner von Siemens. Together with partners, the foundation designs and implements local and international projects with the aim of promoting individual responsibility and self-initiative. The foundation is committed to enlarging basic services and social entrepreneurship, promoting education and strengthening culture. The Siemens Stiftung pursues an integrative approach and stands for responsible, impact-oriented and innovative project work.