Ensemble U:

Ensemble U:, currently the most active and renowned contemporary music ensemble in Estonia, has gained recognition for its ability to perform even the most demanding works without conductor, openness for bold experimental ideas and sensitivity for sound. It was founded in 2002 by Tarmo Johannes and Taavi Kerikmäe.

The first full concert took place on October 16, 2003 in the International Contemporary Music Festival NYYD 2003 in Tallinn. Since then U: has been performing in contemporary music festival in Estonia (NYYD Festival, Pärnu Contemporary Music Days, Estonian Music Days in Tallinn, Tartu International Contemporary Music Festival Afekt, Autumfestival of Estonian Academy of Music and Theatre) and important international abroad festivals like Time of Music (Viitasaari, Finland), GAIDA (Vilnius, Lithuania), Sounds New (Canterbury, UK), Nordic Music Days (Helsinki, Finland), Nuova Consonanza (Rome, Italy), Third Practice (Richmond, USA). Biennale di Musica Venezia (Italy).

U: performs the masterworks of modern composers (Pierre Boulez, Karlheinz Stockhausen, Tristan Murail, Franco Donatoni, Salvatore Sciarrino, John Cage et al) as well as experimental compositions. One distinct field for U: is to delve into improvisational works and perform pieces that require the rendering of non-traditional notation. The repertoire includes authors from Estonia and abroad and the ensemble values the opportunity to continuously commission new music to be written for them. Estonian composers like Toivo Tulev, Mari Vihmand, Tatjana Kozlova-Johannes, Märt-Matis Lill, Tauno Aints, Helena Tulve, Ülo Krigul, Andrus Kallastu and Andres Lõo and foreign composers like Roméo Monteiro and Gérard Pape (France), Antti Auvinen and Kimmo Kuitunen (Finland), Arash Yazdani (Iran), Benjamin Broening, Brian Christian Scott Miller, Heather Stebbins, Christopher Chandler (USA) and Eugen Birman (Estonia/USA), Fausto Sebastiani (Italy) have composed new works for Ensemble U:.

In the field of musical theatre U: has worked with Mart Kangro, one of the internationally most renowned conceptual dance choreographers in Estonia (performances Play (2006), Romeo & Juliet (2008) and Harmony (2009)).

In recent years U: has gained recognition for its original interactive porject „Audience orchestra“ where audience can control how the concert develops, what is the music played and give instant feedback of their opinions using their smart devices.

In seasons 2013/14 ensemble U: celebrated its tenth anniversary and started their own lecture-and-concert series titled URR – 10 years of resistance, continuing at the present day. Important themes of the modern music scene are introduced and performed in the concerts of URR.

Ensemble U: has released three CDs: „U:“ (2009), „Protuberances“ (2011) and „Alive“ (2015).

Ensemble U: was awarded the annual prize of the Cultural Endowment of Estonia twice: in 2009 for their engagement in the Estonian contemporary music and 2016 for its remarkable programs of new music.

The members of the ensemble:
Tarmo Johannes (flute)
Helena Tuuling (clarinet)
Merje Roomere (violin)
Levi-Danel Mägila (cello)
Vambola Krigul (percussion)
Taavi Kerikmäe (piano)

See also the homepage of Ensemble U:

© EMIC 2009
(updated January 2017)

The texts on the EMIC's homepage are protected by the copyright law. They can be used for non-commercial purposes referring to the author (when specified) and source (Estonian Music Information Centre).