Ensemble InterContemporain

Biography

Active: 1976 -
Based in Paris, Ensemble Intercontemporain is one of the leading performance organizations devoted to new music, and is closely associated with composer/conductor Pierre Boulez, a leader of the European musical avant-garde establishment. Boulez developed the idea of the Ensemble during the planning stages for IRCAM (The Institut de Recherche et de Coordination Acoustique/Musique). IRCAM was established by the French government as an international Read more center for experimental music, to further pursue the explorations that Boulez, Iannis Xenakis, Bruno Maderna, and Luciano Berio had been carrying out with either government, broadcasting organization, or university assistance.

IRCAM was planned to have the latest in computer and electronic music technology, and to be located underneath the new Georges Pompidou Center in Paris. Boulez, whose public pronouncements concerning the present and future of music tend to be absolutist, concluded that the advances of the twentieth century called into question the nineteenth century institution of the symphony orchestra. He proposed to establish a more flexible structure designed to play new works, which are often quite variable in instrumentation. His suggestion, patterned on the recent success of the London Sinfonietta (founded in 1968 to play twentieth century music), was for an in-house ensemble. He decided on its size and instrumentation by referring to the works of Austrian composer Anton Webern. Accordingly, Boulez proposed a 31-member group containing all the instruments needed to perform the chamber works of Boulez, as well as important works by Igor Stravinsky, Webern, and Arnold Schoenberg.

In 1976, Michel Guy, the French Minister of Culture, approved the plan for the Ensemble Intercontemporain, and the organization was quickly formed. Boulez, who has been in charge of the Ensemble since its inception, invited 31 players to make up the Ensemble. The Ensemble uses an innovative staffing plan where members sign to long-term contracts, but they are required only two-thirds of the normal working time. The rest of the time remains at the musicians' discretion, affording them the opportunity to refresh themselves with different musical activities that the busy members of standard full-time orchestras often don't have time for. Furthermore, Ensemble members often function as a soloists within the group. Smaller sub-groups of the Ensemble are often billed as "Soloists of Ensemble Intercontemporain."

Organizationally, Ensemble Intercontemporain is not a part of IRCAM, although it usually performs there and is widely regarded as an IRCAM's group. In the first twenty years of its existence, the Ensemble performed over 1,400 different works, including 200 world premieres, of which 115 were specifically commissioned for the group.

The Ensemble's emphasis is certainly on new works, but it saves a place in its schedule for works considered "classics" of the twentieth century. The Ensemble has recorded frequently, including works by iconoclastic American composer Frank Zappa (1940-1993), in an album called The Perfect Stranger, although Zappa complained that it was under-rehearsed and inaccurate. Read less
Browse 1-25 of 60 Available Recordings
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  • 1.
    Erato - 50 CD Collection
    Label: Erato   Catalog: 46441 Release Date: 11/19/2013   Number of Discs: 50
    Composer:  Tomaso Albinoni,  Giuseppe Tartini,  Georg Philipp Telemann,  Giuseppe Torelli  ... 
    Performer:  Maurice André,  Pierre Pierlot,  Paul Hongne,  Jacques Chambon  ... 
    Conductor:  Sir Neville Marriner,  Jean-François Paillard,  Frigyes Sándor,  Kent Nagano  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Academy of St. Martin in the Fields Chamber Ens.,  Paillard Chamber Orchestra,  Vienna Soloists  ... 
    On sale! $299.98
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  • 2.
    Pierre Boulez: The Complete Works [13-CD Set]
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 001836502 Release Date: 07/23/2013   Number of Discs: 13
    Composer:  Pierre Boulez
    Performer:  Sophie Cherrier,  Pierre-André Valade,  Emmanuelle Ophèle,  Pierre-Laurent Aimard  ... 
    Conductor:  Pierre Boulez,  Diego Masson,  Roger Desormière
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Ensemble InterContemporain,  BBC Symphony Orchestra,  BBC Singers  ... 
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  • 3.
    Pierre Boulez Conducts Schoenberg
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 5429572 Release Date: 03/12/2013   Number of Discs: 11
    Composer:  Arnold Schoenberg
    Performer:  Siegmund Nimsgern,  Kenneth Bowen,  Ian Partridge,  Paul Hudson  ... 
    Conductor:  Pierre Boulez
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  BBC Symphony Orchestra,  BBC Singers,  New York Philharmonic  ... 
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  • 4.
    Boulez: Le Marteau Sans Maitre / Summers, Ensemble Intercontemporian
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 001767202 Release Date: 12/11/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Pierre Boulez
    Conductor:  Pierre Boulez
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Ensemble InterContemporain
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  • 5.
    Ligeti: Atmospheres
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 001767302 Release Date: 12/11/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  György Ligeti
    Performer:  Gerd Zacher
    Conductor:  Pierre Boulez,  Helmut Franz,  Claudio Abbado
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Ensemble InterContemporain,  North German Radio Chorus Hamburg,  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra
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  • 6.
    Schoenberg: Pierre Lunaire
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 001767002 Release Date: 12/11/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Arnold Schoenberg
    Performer:  Florent Boffard,  Jeanne-Marie Conquer,  Jean-Guihen Queyras,  Sophie Cherrier  ... 
    Conductor:  Pierre Boulez
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Ensemble InterContemporain
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  • 7.
    Hector Parra: Caressant L'horizon
    Label: Col Legno   Catalog: 40402 Release Date: 10/09/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Hèctor Parra
    Conductor:  Emilio Pomàrico
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Recherche Ensemble,  Ensemble InterContemporain
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  • 8.
    Yann Robin: Vulcano, Art of Metal I & III / Billard, Malkki, Ensemble Intercontemporain
    Label: Kairos   Catalog: 13262 Release Date: 10/09/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Yann Robin
    Performer:  Alain Billard
    Conductor:  Susanna Mälkki
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Ensemble InterContemporain
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  • 9.
    Boulez Conducts Stravinsky
    Label: Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog: 001660502 Release Date: 04/10/2012   Number of Discs: 6
    Composer:  Igor Stravinsky,  Hugo Wolf
    Performer:  Christopher Hanulik,  Franklin Cohen,  David McGill,  Michael Sachs  ... 
    Conductor:  Pierre Boulez
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Chicago Symphony Orchestra,  Cleveland Orchestra,  Cleveland Orchestra Chorus  ... 
    Recommendation
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  • 10.
    Milano Musica Festival Vol 5 - Francesconi, Fedele, Verrando
    Label: Stradivarius   Catalog: 33891 Release Date: 10/11/2011   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Luca Francesconi,  Ivan Fedele,  Giovanni Verrando
    Performer:  Enrico Dindo,  Jean Christophe Vervoitte,  Jens McManama
    Conductor:  Roberto Abbado,  Pierre Boulez
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Ensemble InterContemporain
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  • 11.
    Pierre Jodlowski: Drones; Barbarismes; Dialog/No Dialog
    Label: Kairos   Catalog: 13032 Release Date: 08/09/2011   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Pierre Jodlowski
    Performer:  Pierre Jodlowski,  Sophie Cherrier
    Conductor:  Susanna Mälkki
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Ensemble InterContemporain
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  • 12.
    Unsuk Chin: Fantaisie Mecanique; Xi; Akrostichon-wortspiel; Double Concerto
    Label: Kairos   Catalog: 13062 Release Date: 05/10/2011   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Unsuk Chin
    Performer:  Piia Komsi,  Samuel Favre,  Dimitri Vassilakis
    Conductor:  Patrick Davin,  David Robertson,  Kazushi Ono,  Stefan Asbury
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Ensemble InterContemporain
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  • 13.
    Alberto Posadas: Oscuro Abismo De Llanto Y De Ternura; Nebmaat; Cripsis; Glossopoeia
    Label: Kairos   Catalog: 13112 Release Date: 03/08/2011   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Alberto Posadas
    Performer:  Jeremie Dufort,  Alexis Descharmes,  Nathalie Shaw,  Christophe Grindel  ... 
    Conductor:  François-Xavier Roth
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Ensemble InterContemporain
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  • 14.
    Hector Parra: Hypermusic Prologue
    Label: Kairos   Catalog: 13042 Release Date: 05/11/2010   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Hèctor Parra,  Spoken Word
    Performer:  Charlotte Ellet,  James Bobby
    Conductor:  Clement Power
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Ensemble InterContemporain
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  • 15.
    American Clarinet - Carter, Reich, Sandroff, Adams
    Label: Warner Classics   Catalog: 67133 Release Date: 01/26/2010   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Howard Sandroff,  Elliott Carter,  Steve Reich,  John Adams
    Performer:  Franck Rossi,  Alain Damiens,  André Trouttet
    Conductor:  David Robertson
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Ensemble InterContemporain
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  • 16.
    Jarrell: Cassandre / Malkki, Bas, Ensemble Intercontemporain, Et Al
    Label: Kairos   Catalog: 12912 Release Date: 05/12/2009   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Michael Jarrell
    Performer:  Astrid Bas
    Conductor:  Susanna Mälkki
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Ensemble InterContemporain
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  • 17.
    Manoury: Fragments Pour Un Portrait, Partita No 1 / Malkki, Desjardins, Et Al
    Label: Kairos   Catalog: 12922 Release Date: 05/12/2009   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Philippe Manoury
    Performer:  Christophe Desjardins
    Conductor:  Susanna Mälkki
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Ensemble InterContemporain
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  • 18.
    Ravel: Orchestral Songs;  Roussel: Symphony No 3 / Boulez
    Label: Sony   Catalog: 64107 Release Date: 05/08/2009   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Maurice Ravel,  Albert Roussel
    Performer:  Jill Gomez,  Jessye Norman,  José Van Dam
    Conductor:  Pierre Boulez
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  BBC Symphony Orchestra,  Ensemble InterContemporain,  New York Philharmonic
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  • 19.
    Mozart, Berg: Works For 13 Wind Instruments / Boulez, Tetzlaff, Uchida, Ensemble Intercontemporain
    Label: Decca   Catalog: 001224802 Release Date: 11/11/2008   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,  Alban Berg
    Performer:  Christian Tetzlaff,  Mitsuko Uchida
    Conductor:  Pierre Boulez
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Ensemble InterContemporain
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  • 20.
    The Edition - Boulez, Carter, Glass, Messiaen, Pärt
    Label: Juxtapositions   Catalog: 3078398 Release Date: 10/28/2008   Number of Discs: 5
    Composer:  Philip Glass,  Elliott Carter,  Pierre Boulez,  Arvo Pärt
    Performer:  Philip Glass,  Patricia Rozario
    Conductor:  Alan Johnson,  Pierre Boulez,  Ed Spanjaard,  Myung-Whun Chung
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Ensemble InterContemporain,  Nieuw Ensemble,  Voices of Europe
    Recommendation
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  • 21.
    Berg: Chamber Concerto, 4 Pieces For Clarinet And Piano, Etc
    Label: Dg 20th Century Classics   Catalog: 423237 Release Date: 09/16/2008   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Alban Berg
    Performer:  Pinchas Zukerman,  Daniel Barenboim,  Antony Pay
    Conductor:  Pierre Boulez
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Ensemble InterContemporain
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  • 22.
    Bruno Manotvani: Le Sette Chiese; Streets; Eclair De Lune
    Label: Kairos   Catalog: 1272 Release Date: 07/08/2008   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Bruno Mantovani
    Conductor:  Susanna Mälkki
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Ensemble InterContemporain
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  • 23.
    Messiaen: La Transfiguration De Notre Seigneur Jésus-Christ, Visions De L'amen / De Leeuw
    Label: Naive   Catalog: 782179 Release Date: 05/27/2008   Number of Discs: 6
    Composer:  Olivier Messiaen
    Performer:  Wim Vos,  Marja Bon,  Hans Dullaert,  Ger De Zeeuw  ... 
    Conductor:  Reinbert De Leeuw,  Pierre Boulez
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Schönberg Ensemble,  The Hague Percussion Group,  ASKO Ensemble  ... 
    Recommendation
    On sale! $41.99
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  • 24.
    Holnd Fstvl - A Dutch Miracle - Fifty Years - 1947-1997
    Label: Globe   Catalog: 6900 Release Date: 05/09/2006   Number of Discs: 7
    Composer:  Gioachino Rossini,  Rudolf Escher,  Richard Strauss,  Manuel de Falla  ... 
    Performer:  Renato Capecchi,  Teresa Berganza,  Giulietta Simionato,  Elisabeth Schwarzkopf  ... 
    Conductor:  Carlo Maria Giulini,  George Szell,  Jean Fournet,  Kiril Kondrashin  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Hague Residentie Orchestra,  Milan Teatro alla Scala Chorus,  Danzi Woodwind Quintet  ... 
    On sale! $59.98
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  • 25.
    Boulez: Eclat, Sur Incises
    Label: Juxtapositions   Catalog: 15 Release Date: 02/21/2006   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Pierre Boulez
    Conductor:  Ed Spanjaard,  Pierre Boulez
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Nieuw Ensemble,  Ensemble InterContemporain
    DVD: $24.99
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