Asko|Schönberg, leading ensemble for new music, performs music of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries in a variety of settings. The music they play comes not just from big and well-established names like Andriessen, Gubaidulina, Boulez, Kurtág, Ligeti and Stockhausen, but also includes new works from the youngest generation. And the founders of twentieth-century music are also well-represented: from Weill to Schönberg and from Stravinsky to Messiaen. They focus special attention on long-term relationships and cooperation with major, significant composers, as well as on unknown and brand-new work of high quality. Thanks to these many forms of intensive collaboration, the musicians are highly specialised in performing new music.
The ensemble has a large number of working alliances with theatre and opera companies as well as opera houses, in which it can place the versatility of the contemporary musical palette in the limelight. Its gives concerts in the Donderdagavondserie (Thursday evening series, a series of contemporary music) in Muziekgebouw aan ’t IJ, in guest appearances in the NTR ZaterdagMatinee (the renowned NTR Saturday matinee series), the Holland Festival, Dutch National Opera and in co-productions with partners such as the Dutch Chamber Choir, Veenfabriek, Silbersee and the Flemish production house LOD. The ensemble regularly performs in a wide range of concert halls in the Netherlands and abroad, and is a regular guest at festivals in places such as Cologne, Krakow and Paris. In recent seasons the ensemble performed in Melbourne, London, Paris, Los Angeles, New York and Jakarta.
Developing talent is a high priority. Asko|Schönberg was one of the founders of the Ensemble Academie, a student programme set up in 2016 to help prepare talented up-and-coming performers and composers for all-round, dynamic careers. Together with professionals they work on performance and composition skills, presentation, marketing, production and programming. In 2017 another programme, called k[h]AOS, will be added in which young performers and composers will be challenged to examine, develop and present their ideas, drawing on the knowledge and network of Asko|Schönberg.
In addition to its conductor Reinbert de Leeuw and permanent guest conductor Etienne Siebens, Asko|Schönberg also regularly works with Oliver Knussen, Clark Rundell, Bas Wiegers and Christian Karlsen. And all this is driven by a passionate group of versatile musicians and soloists from the Netherlands and other countries.
Asko|Schönberg is the ensemble in residence at Muziekgebouw aan ’t IJ in Amsterdam.