International Composer & Conductor Seminars

© Wonge Bergmann

Composer &

The International Composer & Conductor Seminars (ICCS) offer a hands-on mentoring programme for composers and conductors presented by Ensemble Modern (EM) and the International Ensemble Modern Academy (IEMA), supported by the Aventis Foundation. The ICCS comprise the modules ICCS young_professionals, ICCS young_talents and ICCS curtain_call. These three complementary modules address the particular needs of young composers and conductors at the beginning of their professional careers. In addition to the opportunity of gaining experience with Ensemble Modern as a highly qualified ensemble, the explicit goal is to create performance and networking opportunities.

ICCS young_professionals

ICCS young_professionals is designed for composers and conductors on the cusp of a professional career: Ensemble Modern accompanies them over several months through the genesis of a composition, presenting the work in an international context and fostering networks.

Currently not accepting applications


Practical working process involving young professionals and Ensemble Modern, aimed at a concert performance at a renowned festival

Ensemble Modern is a highly qualified performing body fostering the careers of young artists

Coaches include Ensemble Modern members and distinguished guests

Working process encompasses three working sessions within 9 months

Final concert as part of „cresc... – Biennial for Current Music Frankfurt Rhine Main”

ICCS_young professionals gives young composers the rare opportunity of being in contact even during the composition process with experienced, highly specialized and professionally equipped instrumentalists, trying out ideas and developing the work further (work in progress). The young conductors also witness the genesis of a new composition, taking an active role. They get to know the working environment of an internationally active ensemble, assess their own competencies and develop them further. Because the final concert is embedded within the „cresc... – Biennial for Current Music Frankfurt Rhine Main”, the work-in-progress idea is flanked by goal-oriented preparation for a concert event as part of a festival continuously searching for innovative and cross-genre forms of presentation. This results in a platform for the participants to introduce themselves and their works to an interested public.

ICCS young_talents

ICCS young_talents closes a gap in the education system, creating key experiences for young composers at the beginning of their studies by collaborating with a highly specialized ensemble. The seminar is intended for international composers at the beginning of their studies.

Currently not accepting applications

The format young_talents targets young composers at the Bachelor’s degree level, who receive the opportunity to have their compositional ideas implemented by a professional ensemble. A one-week intense master course includes rehearsals of their works as well as workshops on subjects such as instrumental expertise, electronics or ensemble sound. This sharpens their technical abilities, the formation and formulation of notions of sound and the assessment of instrumental balance within an ensemble sound, for example.


Gathering practical experience through workshops (instrumental expertise, notation, ensemble sound etc. ) and rehearsal units in collaboration with highly specialized instrumentalists

Ensemble Modern acts as a highly qualified ensemble for young artists

One-week master course including workshops in Frankfurt

Coaches are members of Ensemble Modern and graduates of the „young_professionals“ as composition coaches

Final concert at the residence of the German Ensemble Academy in Frankfurt with livestream

Start of this biennial format: 2023

ICCS curtain_call

ICCS curtain_call opens the legendary concert series „Happy New Ears” to rising young artists, creating an attractive presentation platform immediately alongside pre-eminent composers. The seminar is designed for members of internationally outstanding composition classes at European music academies.

This programme deliberately seeks out collaboration with renowned European composition classes resp. music academies. Thus, one concert is directly connected with the Composer Seminar which Wolfgang Rihm gives as part of the Lucerne Festival Academy. The IEMA Ensemble participates as the instrumental ensemble in this composition seminar of the Lucerne Academy. The final concerts as part of the Lucerne Festival are attended by an Ensemble Modern jury, which selects four or five of the eight compositions presented. These are rehearsed and performed by Ensemble Modern during the following season as part of the „Happy New Ears” concerts. Another concert programme is developed annually in cooperation with one music academy’s composition class or another international academy from which composers are purposefully selected and invited to participate in „ICCS curtain_call”.


A platform for young international composers, featuring repeated presentation of existing works by different ensembles (Ensemble Modern and IEMA Ensemble) as well as networking with academies and composition classes

Ensemble Modern acts as a highly qualified ensemble for young artists

2 concerts as part of the moderated series „Happy New Ears” of Ensemble Modern per season in Frankfurt

Composition Seminar

Ensemble Modern as a mentor for young composers: the International Composition Seminar (2004-2020) was designed for composers at the outset of their professional careers. Every two years, it offered four to six composers the opportunity to work intensively with Ensemble Modern. The seminar concluded with the public performance of the newly written works by Ensemble Modern. Starting in 2022, the International Composition Seminar has been replaced with the more comprehensive mentoring programme International Composer & Conductor Seminars (ICCS).


Two one-week working phases, one building on the other

During the first phase (try-out), compositional ideas are tested and discussed with Ensemble Modern musicians; during the second phase (rehearsal phase), the new compositions are rehearsed and given their world premieres

A renowned guest conductor moderates the “work-in-progress” and leads the final concert

The International Composition Seminar was initiated in 2004 by the Allianz Kulturstiftung as the only event of its kind worldwide. Young composers particularly find it difficult to gain a foothold in the professional world: learning and studying generally take place exclusively at universities; there is usually no opportunity to work with professional ensembles. The International Composition Seminar strives to fill this gap, creating a platform which enables learning and working in a professional and international context.

The format is great for young composers who are trying to establish themselves. (Andreas Eduardo Frank)

With their many years of experience as instrumentalists, the members of Ensemble Modern provide invaluable support to the creative process of the participating young composers. The seminar includes two working phases: during a first try-out, composers can experiment with and develop their compositional ideas in conjunction with the musicians. In a second phase, the pieces are then thoroughly rehearsed and given their world premieres. Both of these phases are accompanied by acclaimed personalities from the world of music, including, in the past, Stefan Asbury, George Benjamin, Johannes Kalitzke, Hanspeter Kyburz, Helmut Lachenmann, Franck Ollu and Enno Poppe.

Since 2011 the International Composition Seminar has formed part of the festival “cresc... Biennial for Modern Music Frankfurt Rhine Main”, enabling a more effective and sustainable dissemination of the compositional results.


Franck Bedrossian (France), Dai Fujikura (Japan), Saed Haddad (Jordan), Arnulf Herrmann (Germany), Márton Illés (Hungary), Marko Nikodijevic (Serbia), Johan Tallgren (Finland)

Daniele Ghisi (Italy), Gordon Kampe (Germany), Anna Meredith (Scotland), Tomi Räisänen (Finland), Bánk Sáry (Hungary), Hannes G. Seidl (Germany), Alexei Sioumak (Russia), Manolis Vlitakis (Greece)

Kee Yong Chong (Malaysia), Marios Joannou Elia (Cyprus), Seiko Itoh (Japan), Damon Thomas Lee (US), Matthias Ockert (Germany), Fabrizio Rat Ferrero (Italy), Jakub Sarwas (Poland), Simon Steen-Andersen (Denmark)

Johannes Kreidler (Germany), Leopold Hurt (Germany), Chikage Imai (Japan), Blai Soler (Spain), Anthony Cheung (US), Oscar Bianchi (Italy)

Stefan Beyer (Germany), Torsten Philipp Herrmann (Germany), Balázs Horváth (Hungary), Stefan Keller (Switzerland), Johannes Motschmann (Germany), Shen-Ying Qian (China), Steingrimur Rohloff (Iceland/Germany), Vito Zuraj (Slovenia)

Martin Grütter (Germany), Daniel Moreira (Brasil/Germany), Evis Sammoutis (Cyprus), Karin Wetzel (Germany), Lu Wang (China)

Martin Grütter (Germany), Diego Ramos Rodriguez (Spain), Jeehoon Seo (South Korea), Christopher Trapani (US)

Matej Bonin (Slovenia). Andreas Eduardo Frank (Germany), Malte Giesen (Germany), Vladimir Gorlinsky (Russia), Ole Hübner (Germany)

Michaela Catranis (US), Lawrence Dunn (Great Britain), Yu Kuwabara (Japan), Alex Paxton (Great Britain), Igor Santos (Brasil)

1st Composition Seminar with Helmut Lachenmann, Saed Haddad, Marko Nikodijevic, Márton Illés, 2004 © Barbara Fahle
Composition Seminar, 2017 © Barbara Fahle
Stephan Asbury and Manuel Nawri, 2007 © Barbara Fahle

Format will not be continued.