© Barbara Fahle



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. IEMA offers various education formats for very different target groups: education projects, international master courses, the International Composition Seminar 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
Ensemble Modern Oboist Christian Hommel perfoming with participants of the Master Course epoche_f © Marek Kruszewski
Ensemble Modern Clarinetist Jaan Boosier at the International Composition Seminar © Michael Habes


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 30 performances per year in Germany and abroad, including at major festivals. This degree course, unique throughout the world, has produced more than 200 graduates so far.

Furthermore, IEMA offers regular international master courses for instrumentalists. As part of the annual festival Klangspuren Schwaz in the Tyrol, Ensemble Modern’s docents work with approximately 35 selected international instrumentalists on key works of contemporary music. 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 level and is now open to winners of international music competitions.

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

(Lucas Vis)

In the education field, IEMA has offered the project “CultureDayYear” since 2009, together with the foundation Nantesbuch and other partners. For one year, all the students of one class have one “Culture Day” per week, on which they undertake artistic journeys of discovery into music, visual arts, dance and literature. In the music field, the students try out their own sounds and compositions together with Ensemble Modern musicians. So far, the project has been implemented at the Bettinaschule in Frankfurt, the IGS Nordend and the Charles-Hallgarten-Schule.

The offerings of IEMA also include the International Composition Seminar, another institution which is unique worldwide. Selected young composers are given the chance to exchange views with outstanding guest tutors, and together with Ensemble Modern they can try out and perform their own works over the course of several working periods. Since 2011 the Composition Seminar has taken place as part of “cresc... Biennial for Modern Music Frankfurt Rhine Main”.


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

2004 – First International Composition Seminar in cooperation with the Allianz Cultural Foundation and first presentation of the master courses at the festival Klangspuren Schwaz, 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

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

2009 – Start of the cultural 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 and undertakes its concert tour abroad


Thanks to support from the Kunststiftung NRW, the GVL, the Allianz Kulturstiftung and several 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 and composers who are already in the midst of their careers.

To the calendar



Aventis Foundation — Crespo Foundation — Friedrich Stiftung — GVL — Hochschule für Musik und Darstellende Kunst — Klangspuren Schwaz — Kunststiftung NRW — Ulysses Network — Creative Europe of the European Union