epoche_f, 2020 © Lennert Moeller


Master Courses

Klangspuren Schwaz

Intensive training in the challenges of contemporary music: the master course at the festival Klangspuren Schwaz is designed for young musicians at the end of their professional training who are cognisant of the special challenges which 20th and 21st-century music poses. Members of Ensemble Modern as docents and an exceptional composer personality as “composer in residence” guarantee a multi-faceted and hands-on approach to key works of contemporary music.


Ten-day master course as part of the festival Klangspuren Schwaz (Tyrol)

Approximately 35 selected international instrumentalists and two conductors work on key contemporary works with Ensemble Modern musicians as docents and a “composer in residence”

Performance of the works in public concerts as part of the international festival Klangspuren Schwaz


Since 2004, IEMA has offered master courses at the Klangspuren Festival in Schwaz, Austria. Since its founding in 1994, the festival has become the largest and most important music festival in Austria focussing on contemporary music. Today, the original concept – to provide a professional platform for contemporary, living music – is still the cornerstone of the festival’s programming. The IEMA master courses are one of the festival’s most successful and important projects.

Every year during the master courses, up to 35 selected international instrumentalists and conductors dedicate themselves to key contemporary works together with members of Ensemble Modern as tutors. Renowned composers, e.g. Helmut Lachenmann, György Kurtág, Wolfgang Rihm, Steve Reich, Johannes Maria Staud, George Benjamin, Unsuk Chin, Hans Zender, Enno Poppe and Sofia Gubaidulina, as “composers-in-residence” ensure that these master classes are an intense and challenging experience, where music from the 20th and 21st century is studied and performed within the framework of the festival. The courses conclude with a public performance of the works in question during final concerts presented by the festival. Another special format in Schwaz is “Rent a musician”, house concerts at private homes and galleries, breaking through the anonymity of the concert hall in the intimacy of private performances.

Klangspuren Schwaz, 2013 © Gerhard Berger
Klangspuren Schwaz, 2014 © Vier und Einzig

A place where young musicians and conductors have got the opportunity to get lessons from the members of the Ensemble Modern. (Franck Ollu)

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Kindling enthusiasm for New Music: the master course epoch_f for contemporary music offers an opportunity to winners of national and international youth music competitions and is open to musicians aged 14 to 20. Approximately 20 such prize winners work on repertoire of the 21st and 20th century, together with Ensemble Modern musicians as docents and a renowned guest conductor. In addition to music-making, the accompanying workshop in music education provides cause for reflection: not only about music per se, but also the artist’s relationship with the audience.

epoche_f, 2017 © Marek Kruszewski
Ensemble Modern Oboist Christian Hommel perfoming with participants of the Master Course epoche_f © Marek Kruszewski
epoche_f 2018 © Foppe Schut
epoche_f, 2020 © Lennert Moeller
epoche_f, 2020 © Lennert Moeller


One-week master course in Lower Saxony

Rehearsals of core works of the contemporary repertoire (chamber music and ensemble works with conductor) under the supervision of Ensemble Modern members and a renowned guest conductor

Workshops in rhythm and music education / stage presence

Public performances in Germany and abroad


Since 2008, IEMA has run the epoch_f master classes in cooperation with the Stiftung Niedersachsen and Lower Saxony’s Jugend musiziert Foundation. The master class offers young prize winners of international music competitions the chance to learn how to decipher unknown scores, practice New Music playing techniques and, step by step, give shape to this new sound experience as part of an ensemble. In addition, the participants have the opportunity to take instrumental lessons focusing on one selected solo work.

The daily rhythm workshop with the percussion docent and the additional training in music education and stage presence round out the course.
A selection of the repertoire is presented to the public at a joint concert at the end of the course. This gives participants the unique opportunity to perform side by side with the professionals of Ensemble Modern and jointly play larger ensemble works.

Incidentally, the letter “f” in “epoch_ f” stands for music after 1950: The “Jugend musiziert” competition guidelines divide the musical epochs chronologically according to musical styles, assigning a letter to each epoch.

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