The ULYSSES network federates eleven European partners involved in the support and promotion of young artists. These partners (academies, summer schools, support programs connected with ensembles or festivals) play a fundamental role in the recognizing, accompanying, professionalizing, and developing of the carriers of young European composers and performers, some of them for longer than 20 years already.
The network has chosen the name ULYSSES, European figure of an emblematic and symbolic journey, personified in human and artistic adventures.
Four associate partner institutions support the network, prolonging certain activities and increasing visibility for the young artists beyond the network, augmenting the geographic coverage and over time, and increasing connections and cooperation perspectives for the network and the benefitting artists.
IRCAM, the Institute for Research and Coordination in Acoustics/Music directed by Frank Madlener, is one of the world’s largest public research centers dedicated to both musical expression and scientific research. This unique location where artistic sensibilities collide with scientific and technological innovation brings together over 160 collaborators. IRCAM’s three principal activities — creation, research, transmission — are visible in IRCAM’s Parisian concert season, in productions throughout France and abroad, and in two annual rendezvous: ManiFeste that combines an international festival with a multidisciplinary academy and the Vertigo forum that presents technical mutations and their tangible effects on artistic creation. Founded by Pierre Boulez, IRCAM is associated with the Centre Pompidou, under the tutelage of the French Ministry of Culture. The mixed STMS research lab (Sciences and Technologies for Music and Sound), housed by IRCAM, also benefits from the support of the CNRS and Sorbonne University. In 2020, IRCAM created Ircam Amplify, a spin-off for the commercialization of the institute’s audio innovations. A true interface between the state of the art of audio research and the industrial world on a global scale, Ircam Amplify is a major actor in the sound revolution of the 21st century.
The Divertimento Ensemble was founded in 1977 in Milan and has now over 1000 international concerts and 19 CDs to its credit. The composer Sandro Gorli is the ensemble’s conductor and artistic director since the birth of the group.
Over one hundred composers have dedicated new compositions to the Divertimento Ensemble. These works, and many others, have helped consolidate one of the most inclusive and up-to-date repertoires of new music, both Italian and international.
The ensemble organizes the Rondò concert season every year in Milano, which is entirely dedicated to contemporary music.
Through its academy – IDEA International Divertimento Ensemble Academy – the group promotes the creativity and the education of young musicians, realizing commissions of new works to young composers, conducting courses for the contemporary repertoire, national and international composition competitions, workshops, and masterclasses for young composers, master classes for instrumental and vocal performance of new music, music workshops for children.
The Gaudeamus Festival, held annually at the beginning of September in Utrecht, the Netherlands, presents the work of young music pioneers. From classical crossover and multidisciplinary soundscapes to modern composition with (live) electronics, theatre, dance, video, etc.: each year new works are presented in exciting programming formats at extraordinary locations.
An important part of the Gaudeamus Festival is the Gaudeamus Award, an incentive prize for composers younger than 35. Prior to the festival itself, the Gaudeamus Academy takes place, offering several public workshops for young composers, as well as a glimpse behind-the-scenes at rehearsals of the shortlisted works. The Gaudeamus Festival is THE international meeting place for young composers from all over the world.
The International Summer Academy of Contemporary Music, taking place at the Hochschule für Musik und Theater (HfMT), Hamburg (DE), is an open space for young qualified postgraduate students, where they can immerse themselves intensively in contemporary chamber- and ensemble music.
At the Academy, a varying group of postgraduate composers, instrumentalists, and conductors get together with an experienced «ensemble for New Music» and various tutors for an intensive work experience. In daily workshops, the musicians rehearse new pieces and commissions together with the members of the ensemble in residence and the tutors. Biennially, a distinguished «composer in residence» will be present, who also works with the young composers and instrumentalists and instructs them in the preparation of his/her own piece. The participating composers explore how to perform and conduct their own pieces with the instrumentalists and the «ensemble in residence». The practical workshops are complemented by lectures of the invited composers and by career training.
The Summer Academy provides an opportunity for international instrumentalists and composers to experience contemporary music in a truly personal and inspiring atmosphere that facilitates experimentation and the encounter with different aesthetics. At the end of the Summer Academy, the workshop results are presented in a final concert.
The International Ensemble Modern Academy (IEMA) was founded in 2003 as Ensemble Modern’s training centre, pursuing the goals of educating musicians and audiences about contemporary repertoire and identifying new forms of artistic and creative work today. The education and further education formats developed with various partners have very different target groups. Through regular projects in Frankfurt’s schools, intensive courses as part of the excellence programme ›Jugend musiziert‹ and offers for professional musicians via international master courses, IEMA pursues its mission, passing on to coming generations the knowledge and broad range of experience Ensemble Modern has gathered over many years. Furthermore, it is the only institution to present the International Composition Seminar for composers. The main focus, however, is on the one-year Master’s programme, offered in cooperation with the Frankfurt am Main Academy of Music and the Performing Arts, where instrumentalists, conductors, sound directors and composers work with members of Ensemble Modern and renowned composer and conductor personalities on 20th- and 21st-century repertoire. The results of this work are presented by the IEMA Ensemble of the current year in 20 concerts per year, performed in Germany and abroad. Thus far, 240 graduates have been able to take advantage of this study programme, which is unique throughout the world. Beyond the above-mentioned activities, IEMA considers itself a platform for various formats of discourse. Thus, in 2018 it initiated the Meersburg Concert Conversations together with Hans Zender and the City of Meersburg, a format featuring public rehearsals, lectures and concerts. In November 2019, IEMA hosts a symposium on developments in the ensemble landscape in current music.
Founded by Beat Furrer and Ernst Kovacic impuls, the International Ensemble and Composers Academy for Contemporary Music and Association for the Communication of Contemporary Music has developed into one of the internationally leading institutions in this field within shortly. Instrumental classes and ensemble work, composition classes and special programs (such as Collaboratory, Performative Music, Sounding Places, Machine Learning a.o.) as well as various Call for Scores, Reading sessions, First View-Conductor´s Feedback, …, electronic-and improvisation-workshops…: Every second year the impuls Academy offers young musicians and composers – from all over the world – an intense training and holistic approach to contemporary music, both in a theoretical and practical way. For about 14 days impuls hereby builds an important platform for joint working, mutual learning, and international exchange in Graz, Styria. An international team of renowned musicians and composers as lecturers guarantees the highest quality and builds the basis for excellently educated, highly motivated, and internationally interlinked young musicians and composers as competent and authentic messengers of contemporary music.
In addition to the impuls Academy, the impuls Festival with public concerts, presentations, lectures, and various music communication programs, impuls MinuteConcerts in galleries and public workshops … offer various possibilities – also to a broader audience with open ears – to experience new and contemporary music and turn Graz into a center of contemporary music and festival -city for two weeks in February. Through the impuls Composition Competition, the impuls Composition Workshop and impuls Commissions with first performances of these works with world-class-ensembles such as Klangforum Wien, impuls gains additional relevance and attractivity for interpreters and composers as well as the audiences.
Mixtur was founded in Barcelona in 2012 with the aim to promote creation, pedagogy, just as the diffusion of the music of our time and sound art, the festival is permanently engaged to the research of sound in itself and its interaction with other art forms.
The festival’s commitment to new creation materializes through commissions for composers from all generations that are premiered during the festival. Some of Mixtur main features are the interweaving of pedagogical activities with its program and the diversity of aesthetic proposals that their distinguishing characteristics are innovation and daring.
Year after year Mixtur program offers a journey full of contrasts in which we get the chance to know the work of artists that share a common denominator: the spirit of research.
Music and dance, brought together 25 years ago, today form the Foundation’s two areas of activity. Music is structured in two departments: Voice and Repertoire, and Musical Creation. Dance is covered by the Choreographic Creation department. Together with the Educator Program and the Libraries and Resources departments, which strengthen the Foundation project’s focus on the humanities, the International Center for Music and Dance is thus made up of three arts programs and two general departments. The Foundation gives priority to research, dialogue, and the transmission of knowledge between artistic languages and practices. Building on its three libraries, it is a leading proponent of repertoire interpretation elucidated by the study of historic sources and data, as well as a leading supporter of creative composition and choreography.
Music and dance enrich the creative process by rubbing shoulders with other disciplines. The visual arts, poetry, literature, and of course theater contribute to the artists’ projects and broaden understanding of the heritage.
Music, a strong focus of attention at Royaumont over the course of the 20th century and the object of research carried out there over several decades, remains the cornerstone of the Foundation’s work.
The Royaumont Foundation concentrates on the vocal repertoire with the Voice and Repertoire department, which supports ensembles in residence at the abbey for periods of three to four years. It offers the laureates of its professional training workshops an opportunity to engage in a training
course based on medieval music, vocal polyphony, melody and lied, and opera. Royaumont also brings together contemporary music and composition in transcultural encounters: the Musical creation department supports creative work with a special focus on the dialogue between repertoires and musical practices. The goal is to facilitate and encourage encounters between creative artists from very different aesthetic environments and practices, including written, classical, contemporary, vocal, and improvised music.
Time of Music (Musiikin aika) festival is the only annually organized contemporary music festival in Finland. The festival takes place in Viitasaari, Central Finland, where it was founded in 1982. The festival consists of concerts, courses, master classes, seminars, and other presentations. Time of Music has hosted the most important composers and artists of the field during the past years, gaining an international reputation as a courageous, border-breaking, and innovative event. Names like Aperghis, Cage, Crumb, Ferneyhough, Ligeti, Saariaho, Stroppa, and Xenakis have visited the festival among many others. Currently, the artistic director is composer Johan Tallgren. Finland Festivals chose Time of Music as the Festival of the year 2009.
The Ultima Oslo Contemporary Music Festival is Scandinavia’s largest contemporary music festival, and since 1991 it has been a key arena for contemporary music and related art forms in the Nordic region. The festival is organised as a foundation comprising seventeen of the most influential art institutions and organisations in Norway.
The festival takes place during September and is staged at venues all around Oslo. The events are staged both in large, established venues such as the Norwegian National Opera & Ballet, Oslo Concert Hall, and the University of Oslo’s Great Hall as well as in small clubs, shop premises, industrial premises, museums, schools, and outdoors. The Ultima Festival aims to promote artistic distinctiveness, trends, and innovation and to make music of a high artistic standard accessible by everyone.
The festival is supported by the Arts Council Norway and Oslo City Council.
His Royal Highness Crown Prince Haakon is the patron of Ultima.
Warsaw Autumn (Warszawska Jesień) is an annual festival with a long tradition, founded in 1956, and a true witness to music history. It is the main contemporary music festival in Poland on an international scale and with an international status. For many years, it was the only event of this kind in Central and Eastern Europe. Nonetheless, it remains a living organism: it thrives as much as Polish cultural funding and the general condition of music allow. The Festival is organized by the Polish Composers’ Union. The Repertoire Committee, an independent body appointed by the Union’s Board, determines the program of each edition of the festival. Warsaw Autumn is, therefore, an international and nonprofit festival of a nongovernmental association.
KLANG-Festival is the largest, Danish international festival for contemporary music. Since 2009, KLANG has been part of the backbone of Danish cultural life. Every year, KLANG is visited by thousands of audiences, volunteers, artists, and others who share our interest and fascination of contemporary music. Increasing recognition in Denmark as well as internationally gives KLANG the opportunity to present some of the largest and best orchestras, ensembles, and soloists from Denmark and abroad. Ensemble Recherche (D), Klangforum Wien (A), Ensemble Modern (D), The Danish Radio Symphony Orchestra, Tivoli Copenhagen Phil and many more have visited KLANG in recent years.
“Current” music characterizes the profile of the concert series “open music” based in Graz – “current” partly in the sense of projects being launched at, specifically conceived for respectively commissioned by “open music”, very often “current” both in relation to the actual pieces, projects, and formations to be experienced in Graz for the first time, “current” also not least in its general “content”, which frequently is developed in the direction of cross-genre productions (be it through the inclusion of the performative or visual for instance), or that quite often searches out for interfaces between different musical genres, composition, and improvisation, acoustics, and electronics, amongst others.
Happening every two years since 1961, the festival Music Biennale Zagreb (MBZ) is dedicated to contemporary art music, sound-related practices, and interdisciplinary approaches to contemporary art practices. Closely interrelating music with other arts, the Music Biennale Zagreb fills a considerable and a very distinctive position on the Croatian and regional cultural scene. Such a favourable situation is partly due to the choice of performers, most of whom are superb music professionals. In the changing world of merging art forms, cultural scenes, and art communities, in the pandemic that is equally challenging for art presentation, consummation, and creation, MBZ aims to find different solutions, platforms for discussions, formats, and strategies of bringing contemporary music to the public. The 60th-anniversary edition of the festival will present the pluralistic diversity of today’s male and female composers and call to mind many prominent composers from the second half of the 20th and the beginning of the 21st centuries who left an extraordinary mark on the world of contemporary composing both globally and in Zagreb.