Ensemble United

The ensemble unitedberlin was founded in 1989 with the symbolic purpose of reconnecting classical musicians in a city long divided by the Cold War. Since its inception the ensemble has been transcending barriers both musically and geographically. Performances at festivals in Albania, Brazil, Hungary, Israel, Poland, Russia, China, South Korea, Spain and Switzerland accompany the ensembles activities in Berlin. Recent performances international engagements include concerts at the ‘Milano Musica’ and „Slowind’ in Ljubljana.

Unitedberlin’s focus lies in presenting a wide range of contemporary music in the context of modernist repertoire ranging from Schönberg and Webern to Nono and Cage. Several concert programs were created in close collaboration with composers of our time such as Mauricio Kagel, György Kurtág, Helmut Lachenmann, Wolfgang Rihm, Mark Anthony Turnage, Christian Wolff, Toshio Hosokawa and Vinko Globokar, yielding a variety of formats such as lecture concerts, instrumental workshops or documentary projects.

A characteristic feature of unitedberlin is its openness to interdisciplinary approaches. A series of five concerts took to exploring sonic intersections with the visual arts. The ongoing «Transfigurations» series looks at unusual connections between video art and musical composition. Music theatre projects have included performances of Schönberg’s «Die Glückliche Hand», Karl Amadeus Hartmann’s satire «Simplicius Simplicissimus», Christian Josts «Death Knocks» based on a film by Woody Allen, or Vinko Globokar’s musical theater piece «The Emigrants».

Current projects include a four part series in Berlin’s eminent Konzerthaus commemorating the 20 anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall with works by composers from East and West Germany as well as a program with new works written for an ensemble of Asian and Western instruments and a portrait concert of works by Vinko Globokar on the occasion of his 75th birthday.

Unitedberlin has released several CD on the Wergo, Col legno and Ars musici labels that have received international acclaim. Paul Griffiths wrote of the ensemble’s disc with works by Luigi Nono (WERGO 6631-2): “There have been a lot of Nono releases since the composer’s death in 1990. This is one of the best.” (New York Times, Dec. 29, 1998)