© Barbara Fahle


The International Ensemble Modern Academy (IEMA) trains artists, broadens aesthetic horizons and provides professional orientation within the New Music field. 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. IEMA offers various education formats for very different target groups: international master courses, the International Composer & Conductor Seminars, educational projects and the Master’s degree programme in Contemporary Music offered in cooperation with the Frankfurt University of Music and Performing Arts (HfMDK).


By founding IEMA in 2003, the members of Ensemble Modern bundled their existing education activities. Offering education and further education for various target groups, IEMA takes responsibility for passing on the knowledge and experience gathered over many years by Ensemble Modern to coming generations. All IEMA programmes are conceived and implemented by Ensemble Modern members. Since the IEMA programmes take place in parallel with the ensemble’s continuous touring schedule, Ensemble Modern has established an education arm to fit within its own activities.

Ensemble Modern cellist Michael M. Kasper teaching as part of the Master's Degree Programme © Barbara Fahle
Ensemble Modern trombone player Uwe Dierksen during the education project “CultureDayYear” © Michael Habes
Jagdish Mistry teaching at the 1st Young Ensemble Academy © Wonge Bergmann
Jaan Bossier teaching at epoche f 2018 © Foppe Schut


One main focus of the education formats is the one-year Master’s degree course which IEMA has been offering in cooperation with the Frankfurt Music Academy since 2006. For one year, young artists (instrumentalists, conductors, composers and sound directors) work with Ensemble Modern members and renowned guest docents on the diverse repertoire of modernism. Tuition is offered in contemporary solo literature, chamber music and ensemble works with conductor. The results of this work are presented by the IEMA Ensemble formed by every class, which presents up to 20 performances per year in Germany and abroad, including at major festivals. This degree course, unique throughout the world, has produced more than 250 graduates so far.

In the education field, from 2009 to 2018 IEMA collaborated with the Nantesbuch Foundation and other partners on the interdisciplinary, one-year project „CultureDayYear” at various Frankfurt schools. Since 2019 the music education efforts as part of IEMA’s Master’s degree course have continuously expanded, with students receiving dedicated training in this area and developing and implementing their own education projects.

I think this Academy is unique in the world. There are similar academies, but not on this high level.

(Lucas Vis)

Furthermore, IEMA offers regular international master courses, during which Ensemble Modern docents work on contemporary repertoire with instrumentalists. Thus, from 2003 to 2021 Ensemble Modern members were responsible for the annual master course „Klangspuren International Ensemble Modern Academy” as part of the festival Klangspuren Schwaz in Tyrol. In 2021 IEMA initiated the „Hans Zender Academy” in Meersburg, in memory of Hans Zender. Since 2008 IEMA has offered the master course „epoch_f” for winners of the German federal competition „Jugend musiziert”. In 2017 the course was expanded to encompass an international element; it is now open to winners of international music competitions.

The offerings of IEMA also include efforts for the coming generation of composers. After nine successful editions of the International Composition Seminar between 2004 and 2020, from 2022 onwards a more comprehensive mentoring programme with a radical focus on practical work is available: the International Composer & Conductor Seminars. The goal is to meet the demand for differentiated offerings for young composers and conductors at various stages of technical and artistic maturity.

Complementing IEMA’s offerings for young professional musicians, from 2022 onwards another target group has come into focus: the new coaching programme “Young Ensemble Academy” addresses the needs of very young contemporary music ensembles.

Thanks to support from the Kunststiftung NRW, the GVL, the Crespo Foundation, the Aventis Foundation and several donors and cooperating partners, IEMA is able to offer very different formats. It is active on various levels: starting with children and teenagers, via academy students finishing their professional education, all the way to conductors, composers and instrumentalists, who are already in the midst of their careers.


2003 – IEMA is founded as the education arm of Ensemble Modern; implementation of the first fellowship programme

2004 – First International Composition Seminar and first presentation of the „Klangspuren International Ensemble Modern Academy” master courses at the festival Klangspuren Schwaz in the Tyrol, which has taken place every year since

2006 – Establishment of the fellowship programme as a Master’s degree course at the Frankfurt University of Music and Performing Arts (HfMDK)

2008 – First master course „epoch_f” for winners of the German federal competition „Jugend musiziert”

2009 – Start of the education project „CultureDayYear” at schools in Frankfurt, sponsored by the foundation Nantesbuch (formerly Altana Cultural Foundation)

2012 – Founding of the Ulysses Network together with 13 other European music institutions

2013 – 10-year Anniversary of IEMA, celebrated with the CD production „Euclidian Abyss” by Deutschlandfunk in Cologne

2014 – Inclusion of current students and graduates of the Master’s degree course in projects of the Ensemble Modern Orchestra

2017 – Master course „epoch_f” opened to international participants through cooperation with EMCY (European Union of Music Competitions for Youth)

2018 – Start of the series „Meersburg ConcertConversations”, initiated together with Hans Zender and the City of Meersburg

2019 – Organization of the symposium „The Ensemble Landscape in Current Music”

2021 – Founding and organization of the first Hans Zender Academy (master course)

2022 – Expansion of the International Composition Seminar into a comprehensive programme, the International Composer & Conductor Seminars (ICCS), designed to support young composers and conductors via the modules „young_professionals”, „young_talents” and „curtain_call”

2022 – Founding and organization of the first Young Ensemble Academy; first copperation with Lucerne Festival Academy as part of ICCS curtain_Call (until min. 2024)

2023 – various anniversary activites celebrating 20 Years International Ensemble Modern Academy

2024 - 2nd Young Ensemble Academy


Art Mentor Foundation — Aventis Foundation — Crespo Foundation — experimente digital — GVL — Hochschule für Musik und Darstellende Kunst — Kunststiftung NRW — Rotary Club — Ulysses Network — Creative Europe of the European Union — Zender Stiftung