New European Ensemble
Top musicians from throughout Europe founded the New European Ensemble in 2008. Their goal is to bridge the gap between new music and the public at large through exciting and expressive performances of 20th and 21st century chamber and ensemble music. The New European Ensemble also strives to renew the concert format with the aim of showing new music’s relevance to society.
New European Ensemble is made up of young soloists, chamber musicians and orchestral leaders who are forging new paths in musical performance and connecting with a new generation of young composers. The ensemble is made up of a core group of 13 musicians and guest musicians are often invited to perform with the ensemble to expand the setting.
Since its inception in 2008 the ensemble has been invited to perform at most of the leading concert halls in the Netherlands including Muziekgebouw aan ‘t IJ (Amsterdam), De Doelen (Rotterdam) and the Dr. Anton Philipszaal (Den Haag). In 2010 the ensemble created a partnership project with Amnesty International for a performance of Hans Werner Henze’s ‘Voices’, exploring human rights issues in the world today. New European Ensemble has also presented a festival around Arnold Schönberg’s music and performed at the opening concert of the Antillen Festival.
“Tranströmersånger (Tranströmer Settings)” by Benjamin Staern
Live concert recording, Malmö (Sweden), as part of the New European Ensemble’s 2010 Sweden Tour with artists Carina Vinke, New European Ensemble and Christian Karlsen conducting.
“Tranströmersånger (Tranströmer Settings)” was commissioned by New European Ensemble and dedicated to alto singer Carina Vinke and conductor Christian Karlsen.
The poems are from the collection The Sad Gondola, written by the Swedish poet Tomas Tranströmer. The title is as such derived from a work for piano solo by Franz Liszt ”La lugubre gondola”. Musically seen, I wanted to bring out the lyric and dramatic moods in these poems so the listener can picture the poetic content as a ”music drama without a stage”.
Mixed and edited by Ronald Boersen.
Recorded live at Caroli Kyrka, Malmö 13 October 2010.
Benjamin Staern (b. 1978) studied composition at the Malmö Academy of Music during 1998-2005 with Rolf Martinsson, Hans Gefors and Luca Francesconi, and made an early breakthrough, while still a student at the Malmö Academy of Music, with the symphonic work The Threat of War (1999).
From this point on, Staern has developed a deeply personal style with an output including orchestral and chamber works, solo pieces and electro-acoustic music. An interesting aspect of his work as a composer is his unusual ability to associate tones and timbres with different colours and tints. This is a variant of a phenomenon called synaesthesia which is fundamental in his perception and the creation of his music, and which is reflected in his sound world as well as in many of his work titles (“Yellow Skies”, “Colour Wandering”, etc.)
The conductor Stefan Solyom is an important champion of Staern’s music, and has with his performances in Germany and the UK, presented Staern’s music to a European audience. Works by Benjamin Staern is today performed not only by all the major Swedish orchestras. Internationally they have been performed by orchestras such as the MDR Sinfonieorchester, Tokyo Symphony Orchestra, Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Bremen, Iceland Symphony Orchestra, Staatsorchester Rheinische Philharmonie and the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra. Staern has collaborated with ensembles including New European Ensemble, Sonanza Chamber Ensemble, Ensemble Aspekte and Stockholm Chamber Brass. Conductors and soloists include Håkan Hardenberger, Anna Larsson, Johannes Möller, Carina Vinke, Gitta-Maria Sjöberg, Philippe Cassard, Michael Christie, Daniel Raiskin, Christian Karlsen, Mats Rondin and Stefan Solyom.