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The KOMED building at MediaPark 7 in Cologne, where musikFabrik is based.

The musikFabrik (musicFactory) is an ensemble for contemporary classical music located in Cologne. Their official name is musikFabrik Landesensemble NRW e.V. (musikFabrik ensemble of the state of North-Rhine Westphalia, registered association).


MusikFabrik was founded in 1990, and is regarded as one of the leading ensembles for contemporary music. As the name suggests, musikFabrik is especially dedicated to artistic innovation.[vague] New and in their medial form unknown works that they have often commissioned are their actual production area. The results of this work, frequently in a close collaboration with the composers, are presented by the ensemble of international soloists in 80 to 100 concerts a year in Germany and abroad in festivals and in their own world Première series "musikFabrik in WDR" along with regular radio and CD productions. The musikFabrik is supported by the state of North-Rhine Westphalia.


They gave their debut under the name „Ensemble Neue Musik Nordrhein-Westfalen“, 28 April 1991, at the Wittener Tage für neue Kammermusik (Witten Days for new chamber music). The formation of the ensemble took place at the end of 1990. The founders of the ensemble, Bernhard Wambach, Nicolaus A. Huber, and Gerhard Stäbler and the designated conductor and artistic director Johannes Kalitzke selected and summoned almost 20 musicians and presented the proposed project. Most of the musicians present were excited about the idea of forming a full-time professional ensemble that would be working on contemporary music and programs in close collaboration with composers.[1]

Since 1997, the ensemble has organised itself and made all important artistic decisions within its own ranks. The emphasis shifted then from North-Rhine Westphalian composers to a more international focus.[2]

Founded after the Amsterdam Asko Ensemble (formed 1965), the London Sinfonietta (1968), the Schoenberg Ensemble (Den Haag, 1974), Ensemble InterContemporain (Paris, 1976), Ensemble Modern (Frankfurt, 1980), Klangforum Wien (Vienna) and Freiburg's ensemble recherche (both 1985), musikFabrik is one of the youngest leading New Music ensembles in the world.[3]

In 2003, musikFabrik moved from Düsseldorf to Cologne. Thanks to generous support from the Kunststiftung NRW, WDR (West German Radio) and KölnMusik, musikFabrik has now a highly successful world Première concert series "musikFabrik in WDR“. MusikFabrik prepares for these concerts and for other projects in their new domicile in the KOMED building in MediaPark (Cologne), where they moved in the summer of 2008.


The musicians of musikFabrik have collaborated with both the younger generation of conductors, composers, directors and choreographers as well as the more renowned ones. The guest list of the ensemble is as long as it is prominent: Mark Andre, Louis Andriessen, Stefan Asbury, Richard Ayres, Sir Harrison Birtwistle, Earle Brown, Unsuk Chin, Joël-François Durand, Péter Eötvös, Vinko Globokar, Heiner Goebbels, Georg Friedrich Haas, Toshio Hosokawa, Nicolaus A. Huber, Michael Jarrell, Mauricio Kagel, Helmut Lachenmann, Klaus Lang, Diego Masson, Martin Matalon, Zsolt Nagy, Emmanuel Nunes, Carlus Padrissa (La Fura dels Baus), Emilio Pomarico, Enno Poppe, Henri Pousseur, Wolfgang Rihm, Peter Rundel, Rebecca Saunders, Steffen Schleiermacher, Martin Smolka, Christoph Staude, Karlheinz Stockhausen, Sasha Waltz, James Wood and Hans Zender were amongst them, to name just a few.[4]

The experimentation and implementation with modern forms of communication, experimental electronics, dance, theatre, film, literature, and creative arts broaden the conventional form of a conducted ensemble concert along with chamber music and the frequent confrontation with works that have an open form and include improvisation.[2] Lecture discussion concerts and experimenting with a concert form that allows the integration of audience participation belong to these ideas.


Helen Bledsoe (Flute), Carl Rosman (Clarinet), Peter Veale (Oboe), Alban Wesly (Bassoon), Christine Chapman (Horn), Marco Blaauw (Trumpet), Bruce Collings (Trombone), Melvyn Poore (Tuba, Sound), Benjamin Kobler (Piano), Ulrich Löffler (Piano), Dirk Rothbrust (Percussion), Juditha Haeberlin (Violin), Hannah Weirich (Violin), Axel Porath (Viola), Dirk Wietheger (Violoncello).[5]


  1. ^ Interview mit Thomas Oesterdiekhoff (in German)
  2. ^ a b Wieschollek, Dirk: Erfolgreich als Kollektiv, in: FonoForum 08/06, pages 59, 60.
  3. ^ Mosch, Ulrich: Ensemble - zusammen, in: Gesellschaft der Musikfreunde Donaueschingen e.V. (eds.), Donaueschinger Musiktage 2008, pages 44, 48 f.
  4. ^ Komponisten composers
  5. ^ Ensemble

External links[edit]