European Bridges Ensemble

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European Bridges Ensemble
Background information
Also known asEBE
Genreselectronic music
Occupation(s)Electronic Ensemble
Years active2005 – present
MembersStewart Collinson
Georg Hajdu
Johannes Kretz
Kai Niggemann
Ivana Ognjanović
Ádám Siska
Andrea Szigetvári
Past membersMarlon Schumacher

The European Bridges Ensemble (EBE) was established for Internet and network music performance. Its current members are the five performers Kai Niggemann (Münster, Germany), Ádám Siska (Budapest, Hungary), Johannes Kretz (Vienna, Austria), Andrea Szigetvári (Dunakeszi, Hungary), Ivana Ognjanović (Belgrade, Serbia), the conductor and software designer Georg Hajdu (Hamburg, Germany), and video artist Stewart Collinson (Lincoln, England).

Using the term bridges as a metaphor, the Ensemble attempts to bridge cultures, regions, locations and individuals, each with their specific history. Particularly, Europe with its historical and ethnic diversity has repeatedly gone through massive changes separating and reuniting people often living in close vicinity. The aim is to further explore the potential of taking participating musicians and artists out of their political and social isolation by creating virtual communities of like-minded artists united by their creativity and mutual interests.

The first Bridges concert on 17 June 2005 (simultaneously in Münster, Stuttgart and Vienna) brought together musicians from the former West (Austria and Germany) and East (Hungary and Serbia) – all connected by the river Danube – and thus demonstrated the potential of Internet performance as a means to overcome national borders and political single-mindedness.

Network Music and[edit]

The term "network music" is often used to refer to musical activities that utilise computer network technologies in a performative context. Network music can be performed by laptop ensembles, for example PLOrk, SLOrk, The Hub, or PowerBooks_UnPlugged.[1] The extent to which network technology is utilised in performance can vary. EBE's implementation of network music involves the use of software called which was developed by the ensemble's co-founder, Georg Hajdu, using Max/MSP/Jitter.

The basic concept of is that there's a conductor and several (up to five) performers (or clients), connected to each other using a central server. The clients get instructions from the conductor. These instructions can be messages sent to the clients, but usually it is a score part to play. On the other hand, control data created by the clients are sent back to the network. This latter, combined with the fact that an unlimited number of clients can connect to the server in a so-called listener mode (that is, a mode where the client only receives data but doesn't send control data back) lets anyone connect to the server and listen the music being played in real time.[2]

Since the network is only used to send control data (using Open Sound Control[3]) and the music itself is always created locally, the normal household bandwidths are generally sufficient to transmit all the data needed for the platform. This means that the performers don't need to be physically present at the performance's place, but can play from anywhere in the Globe (this is a big difference compared to the usual concept of musical performance, and at the time when the Ensemble was founded, the EBE was the only group playing music in a Wide Area Network). As an example, during the first concert of the Ensemble the performers were located at four different cities of Europe (Budapest, Münster, Stuttgart and Vienna), and the concert itself was broadcast at three different concert halls (and, of course, the Internet) in Münster, Stuttgart and Vienna at the same time.[4]

After video artist Stewart Collinson joined the EBE, the original concept was expanded with a new tool called Viewer, which is an extension that makes able to manage video mixing as well.


The ensemble plays pieces mostly written by the members of the group itself, but music by outside composers is played occasionally as well.

Repertoire of EBE
Title Composer First Performance
Bridges (2005) K. Niggemann, M. Schumacher, J. Kretz, A. Szigetvári, I. Ognjanović 17 June 2005, Münster, Stuttgart, Vienna
Quintessence (2007) K. Niggemann, M. Schumacher, J. Kretz, A. Szigetvári, I. Ognjanović 6 September 2007, Budapest
Ivresse '84 (2007) Georg Hajdu 6 September 2007, Budapest
Keep Calm and Carry On (2007) Kai Niggemann (music & text), Maria Popara (text) 6 September 2007, Budapest
Brokenheart (2007) Anne La Berge 6 September 2007, Budapest
Netze spinnen # Spinnennetze (2007) Sascha Lino Lemke 13 October 2007, Berlin
Radio Music (1956/2008) John Cage, Georg Hajdu 26 November 2008, Hamburg
185 (2008) Ádám Siska 26 November 2008, Hamburg
Pundit Bingo (2009) Daniel Iglesia 23 November 2009, Hamburg
f0choir (2009) Fredrik Olofsson 23 November 2009, Hamburg
isms (2009) Jacob Sello 23 November 2009, Hamburg
A few plateaus (2009) Alexander Schubert 23 November 2009, Hamburg
Two Arias (May I Feel and Kiss Me) and Encore (2009) Johannes Kretz 23 November 2009, Hamburg
D(é)RIVE (2010) K. Niggemann, Á. Siska, J. Kretz, A. Szigetvári, I. Ognjanović 10 December 2010, Pécs

The first music written for EBE was Bridges, a work of five movements composed by Kai Niggemann, Marlon Schumacher, Johannes Kretz, Andrea Szigetvári and Ivana Ognjanović in 2005. Each movement was composed by a different musician, and every movement reflects somehow on the city where the actual musician lives (in other words, there is a movement about Münster, Stuttgart, Vienna, Budapest and Belgrade). It was first performed on the Internet with live broadcast in Münster, Stuttgart and Vienna on 17 June 2005.[4]

A similar piece is Quintessence, also with five movements, each one about one of the five elements. The composers are Kai Niggemann (Earth), Marlon Schumacher (Fire), Johannes Kretz (Quintessence), Andrea Szigetvári (Air) and Ivana Ognjanović (Water). It was composed in 2007 and first played during the Music in the Global Village conference on 6 September 2007.[5]

Ivresse '84 (composed by Ensemble leader Georg Hajdu in 2007) is the first piece for the group where only four laptop players are needed as the fifth player is replaced by a violinist. The piece reflects on the riot that happened during the premiere of the first two books of John Cage's Freeman Etudes in Ivrea (Turin), in 1984. It was first performed during the Music in the Global Village conference on 6 September 2007[5] by János Négyesy, the same violinist[6] who played the Etudes on the original premiere.

The first piece having also text spoken was Keep Calm and Carry On. The text is a dialogue written by Maria Popara and Kai Niggemann using the typical slang of chat. The music was composed by Kai Niggemann in 2007, and the piece was also first performed during the Music in the Global Village conference on 6 September 2007.[5]

Anne La Berge, a composer and flutist composed Brokenheart for LOOS Ensemble and EBE in 2007, where the goal was to write a piece where the laptop ensemble plays together with an acoustic ensemble (including flute, piano and percussion). It was first played during the Music in the Global Village conference on 6 September 2007.[5]

In 2007 the Ensemble was invited to play at a concert of Projekt Bipolar in Berlin on 13 October 2007. There was a young composers' competition "Hommage à György Ligeti"[7] among the activities of Projekt Bipolar, and the prizes were given to the winners also during this concert. For this event, EBE commissioned a piece from Sascha Lino Lemke. Netze spinnen # Spinnennetze is a work where the five players are split in space. The material used by Lemke relates in several ways to Ligeti's music, including the use of metronomes and other polyrhythmical solutions.

Ensemble member Ádám Siska wrote his piece 185 in 2008 (first performed during the Hamburger Klangwerktage 2008 Festival on 26 November 2008[8]). This was the first piece in the repertoire not using sampling techniques at all.

The Ensemble created also transcriptions of two pieces of John Cage. One was Five[9] (composed in 1988, EBE version first performed on 27 April 2006), the other was Radio Music[10] (composed in 1956, transcribed by Georg Hajdu in 2008, EBE version first performed on 26 November 2008[8]).

In 2010 EBE was invited to perform a concert in collaboration with Marek Chołoniewski as part of the European Capital of Culture program taking place in Pécs, Hungary that year.[11]


The founding event of EBE was the Lange Musik Nacht on 17 June 2005. Conductor Georg Hajdu and performers Ivana Ognjanović and Marlon Schumacher were in Stuttgart, Kai Niggemann in Münster, Johannes Kretz in Wien and Andrea Szigetvári in Budapest.[4] The piece played was Bridges, and it demonstrated that the idea of playing music via Wide Area Network is possible. This same piece was performed again on a concert a year later, where the whole Ensemble played in a Local Area Network at the Making New Waves 2006 festival in Budapest, Hungary.[12]

This concert was followed by a long pause: next time the band appeared again on stage was only in early Autumn 2007 at the Music in the Global Village Conference Budapest (this was the first international conference dedicated exclusively to network music composition and performance[13]). Here, the opening concert was played by the EBE, together with Anne La Berge and the LOOS Ensemble.[5] The conference itself was part of Projekt-Bipolar, a two years long German-Hungarian cultural programme.[7] The Ensemble had two more concerts organized by members of Projekt-Bipolar during October 2007 in Berlin, Germany. These included the closing concert of Projekt Bipolar[14] and also the closing event of a young composers' competition.[7][15]

During 2008 the band played on five concerts at three festivals: two subsequent nights during the ICMC 2008 at the Whitla Hall in Belfast.,[16] two concerts at the Klangwerktage 2008 festival in Hamburg[8] (from which one was a Wide Area Network concert with ensemble member Johannes Kretz playing from Krems, Austria[17]) and one at Making New Waves 2008 festival in Budapest, Hungary.[18] After this last concert, the Hungarian Television made an interview presenting the Ensemble.[19]

In 2009 the Ensemble had concerts in Prague at the Enter4 festival,[20] the Klangwerktage 2009 festival in Hamburg, the Making New Waves 2009 festival with its second edition of the Music in the Global Village conference and a Wide Area Network concert at the SIGGRAPH Asia conference with ensemble members playing from Yokohama, Lincoln, Budapest and Belgrade.


  1. ^ "PowerBooks_UnPlugged official website". Retrieved 5 August 2008.
  2. ^ Hajdu, Georg (February 2005). " An Environment for Composing and Performing Music on the Internet" (PDF). Leonardo. Cambridge, Massachusetts (USA): The MIT Press. 38 (1): 23–30. doi:10.1162/leon.2005.38.1.23.
  3. ^ Hajdu, Georg (30 July 2004). "Quintet.Net: an interactive performance environment for the Internet" (PDF). Proceedings of the Open Sound Control Conference 2004. Berkeley, California (USA): CNMAT. Retrieved 5 August 2008.
  4. ^ a b c "Lange Musik Nacht programme in GNM Münster" (in German). Retrieved 5 August 2008.
  5. ^ a b c d e "Music in the Global Village". Archived from the original on 18 November 2008. Retrieved 3 August 2008.
  6. ^ Cage, John. "Freeman Etudes". Archived from the original on 27 August 2008. Retrieved 11 October 2008.
  7. ^ a b c "Hommage à György Ligeti". Retrieved 4 August 2008.
  8. ^ a b c "Klangwerktage Hamburg 2008 concert schedule". Archived from the original on 6 February 2013. Retrieved 22 December 2008.
  9. ^ Cage, John. "Five". Archived from the original on 27 May 2008. Retrieved 5 August 2008.
  10. ^ Cage, John. "Radio Music". Archived from the original on 26 December 2008. Retrieved 22 December 2008.
  11. ^ "Schedule of the 3rd Music in the Global Village Conference (2010), Pécs, Hungary". Retrieved 19 August 2011.
  12. ^ "Making New Waves 2006 concert schedule". Retrieved 22 December 2008.
  13. ^ "Overview of network art projects". Retrieved 4 August 2008.
  14. ^ "Bipolar Nachlese und Party". Retrieved 22 December 2008.
  15. ^ "Hommage à György Ligeti". Retrieved 22 December 2008.
  16. ^ "ICMC 2008 concert schedule". Archived from the original on 31 August 2008. Retrieved 6 August 2008.
  17. ^ "Official Homepage of Johannes Kretz – Concert Schedule". Retrieved 22 December 2008.
  18. ^ "Making New Waves 2008". Retrieved 22 December 2008.
  19. ^ "MTV – Kultúrház" (in Hungarian). Retrieved 22 December 2008.
  20. ^ "QUINTET.NET BY EUROPEAN BRIDGES ENSEMBLE". Retrieved 18 April 2010.

External links[edit]