ULYSSES – a European odyssey for young artists

The ULYSSES Network project was originally inspired by an illustrious generation of 18th Century artists who wandered all across Europe, visiting at each “stop” along the way the greatest master’s workshops in order to improve and to complete their skills. Following the steps of the Homeric hero, their odyssey was an initiatory journey paving the way for future generations of young European artists.

In this spirit, it is the goal of the ULYSSES partner institutions and associated partners to propose and construct a variety of opportunities that target particular needs and offer unique work conditions to young artists all over Europe.
Composers, performers, conductors, and ensembles will all be able to undertake projects providing them with rich and diverse experiences, to develop creative and professional interaction with their social context, with their fellow artists, and with diverse audiences.

With these objectives in mind, the ULYSSES Network has structured its activities according to the following threads:

# ULYSSES Journeys
Supporting careers of young talents on their journey to becoming mature professionals.
By offering concrete working experiences – workshops and residencies with relevant tutors and always in cooperation with other young or confirmed artists – in different production contexts, among which the young artists can define their own journey. By putting them on the path leading to professional commissions with European-wide tour dates.

# ULYSSES Ensemble
Each year the network publishes a call to select international young musicians who come together to form the ULYSSES Ensemble. The ensemble tours for one season through Europe and benefits from several work-sessions in different places, including rehearsals and a series of public concerts with world-class conductors while presenting a different repertoire at each stop. Performing alongside members from renowned professional ensembles, working with young or confirmed composers on their repertoire or on new pieces in the making – the ULYSSES Ensemble offers a unique opportunity for professionalization.

# Young Ensembles
Besides the ULYSSES Ensemble, the network also supports existing young ensembles. Identified by the network partner institutions, these young ensembles get the chance to tour among the network’s partner and associate partner institutions in order to develop their own professional contacts, to work with confirmed and young composers on new commissions, and to participate in other projects within the different activity threads implemented by the network.

# InSitu/City
Putting young artists in the middle of different European social contexts and creating closer relationships with European citizens. The city, including its historical, cultural, political, and social facets, will be the focal point of these activities.
Tackling artistic creation not only from a musical point of view but also by establishing links to other relevant disciplines and art forms. With this shared approach, and resulting in multilayered activities, the project aims to highlight matters of central concern for Europe today.

# Collaboratory
Providing new perspectives on creative collaboration, questioning the authorship and “signature” of a work, and evolving in a situation where a collective of artists shares the responsibility for the development of an experience, a new work, or device.
Using this approach, aesthetic decisions are transformed into shared participative processes with methodologies that generate new questions and challenges. The objective is to create various creative processes for young artists, allowing them to reflect on their experiences acquired over time, in cooperation with others as well as in interaction with a specific context and audience.

# Replay musical heritage/Young audiences
Audience development is an important aspect of the ULYSSES Project by recognizing the simple fact that today’s young are tomorrow’s audiences. In that sense, the ULYSSES Network offers activities to raise awareness of the role of art in society for young people between 12 and 18.
The youngsters are invited to become active themselves in the creative process and thus gain cultural awareness and agency. Beginning with an examination of a chosen reference work and learning about its particular historical and aesthetic context, the young participants are enabled to create and eventually present a new work by using their own means of expression.

# ULYSSES Network Associate Partners
Offering even more visibility and professional experience to the young talents supported by ULYSSES activities. That also aims at creating additional alliances with European institutions, which are programming and supporting young artists in the field of contemporary music and their work.
The ULYSSES Associate Partners offer “re-runs” to works and concerts created by and/or with the young artists in the framework of the ULYSSES activities and consequently help to strengthen all the more the young artists’ professional network.

# ULYSSES Platform
Developing the ULYSSES Platform, enabling music professionals and organizations from all over the world on the one hand to announce their activities and to manage calls and competitions, to spot interesting new artists for upcoming projects, and to follow their evolution and accomplishments.
On the other hand, offering young artists a free opportunity to promote their work and to develop their own network, to exchange within an international community, to apply to opportunities, and to start new cooperation projects.
Learn more about the platform here.

The current project period, running from October 2020 to September 2024 and co-funded through the Creative Europe program of the European Union, aims to leverage the positive results and accomplishments of the first two ULYSSES Network projects, which have been running from May 2012 to April 2016 (archives available here) and from June 2016 to October 2020 (archives available here).

Detailed information about the ULYSSES Network activities can be found in our Timeline.
You can also follow us on Facebook or Instagram @ulyssesnetwork.