Tradition of Curiosity

Tradition of Curiosity

For more than three decades ensemble KONTRASTE (eK) has been an important fixture in Nuremberg’s cultural landscape.
The City of Nuremberg acknowledged this achievement in 2020 by awarding ensemble KONTRASTE its Major Cultural Prize; an achievement which we are particularly proud of, and one which inspires us to carry on, more determined than ever!
Therefore, innovative and original program concepts in our series  KONTRASTE – Classic in in the Tafelhalle  are a “must” – in chamber music groups or large ensembles, whether classical or contemporary music, on our own or in combination with theatre, video, visual arts, film or literature. Our large subscriber base appreciate myriad of events including concerts, theatre, silent movies and film or video productions and last but not least, the thriving Poets Café, where music and literature go hand in hand.

The 2024/25 Season
Cooperation with composers, conductors, directors, actors and singers continue to play a major role this year and our diverse artistic network is evident in our program; this time under the motto "FRIENDSHIP. LOVE. WORLD". This year’s title was inspired by Alban Berg's comments on his chamber concert - "if only one knew what I have secretly embedded in these three movements of friendship, love and the world in terms of human and spiritual relationships" - a work at the intersection of late romanticism and modernism, the era that has been a focus point of our musical intentions for more than 30 years. Friendship and love - our  program is full of it:

Testimonies of friendship ...
... are for example: Modest Mussorgsky's Pictures at an Exhibition, a musical monument to his painter friend Hartmann, which Kandinsky later revived with imaginative images, and Alban Berg's highly complex Chamber Concerto, a birthday present for his teacher Arnold Schoenberg.

... and testimonies of love in all its facets
Berg was filled with "feelings of detachment from the world" during Gustav Mahler's Song of the Earth, a work about the love of life and the fleeting, inexpressible beauty of the world despite all the pain. Johannes Maria Staud subjects Schubert's Die Schöne Müllerin, the story of unfulfilled male love, to a modern and female perspective – this is a newly commissioned composition for eK! Out of a love for nature, Gregor A. Mayrhofer, conductor of the New Year's Eve Concert, composed his Insect Concerto - a captivating work with serious intention! And Friedrich Wilhelm Murnau's classic silent film Tabu tells a moving love story from the South Seas, enriched by the exciting sounds of composer Violeta Dinescu.

Love in all its diversity will also play a major role in our popular Poetry and Prose events. In the "most beautiful love story in the world", Tschingis Aitmatow's Dshamilja, tells of a young woman who chooses love over her family. In Death in Venice, Thomas Mann addresses the love of an ageing man for a boy. Ossip Mandelstam's texts speak of the love for his country in the aftermath of Stalin. However, love also comes with loss and Judith Schalansky "conjures up great literature inspired by lost things."

The ensemble KONTRASTE (eK)

Ensemble KONTRASTE prides itself on approaching both the old and new with respectful enthusiasm and an Avant-Garde attitude. Our passion however, to endorse new and contemporary music has led to a number of world premieres through collaborative efforts with composers such as Heinz Winbeck, Martin Smolka, Klaus Ospald, Michael Obst, András Hamary, Leo Dick, Marcus Maria Reißenberger, Manfred Knaak, Gene Pritsker, Stefan Hippe and Johannes Maria Staud.

Ensemble KONTRASTE is proud to acknowledge the generosity of our financial supporters, including the Ernst von Siemens Music Foundation, the German-Czech Fund for the Future, the Bavarian Music Fund, the Bavarian Cultural Fund, the Sparkasse Nuremberg’s ‘Foundations for the Future’, the Fund for Performing Arts, and the German Music Council. Additional funding is provided by the State of Bavaria, the region of Middle Franconia and the City of Nuremberg, who include eK in their yearly budget.

The Ensemble’s success has been readily acknowledged through numerous awards, including the Wolfram-von-Eschenbach Cultural Grant (1999, 2015), the City of Nuremberg Cultural Support Grant (2004), the Friedrich Baur Award from the Bavarian Academy of Fine Arts (2007), the E.ON Bayern AG Cultural Grant (2010) and the City of Nuremberg Major Cultural Prize (2020)

In addition to its concert series in Nuremberg, eK has also performed in a number of major European cities including Luxemburg (Philharmonie), Vienna (Konzerthaus), Paris (Louvre-Museum), Berlin (Volksbühne), Athens (Concert Hall), and Lisbon (National Theater). Ensemble KONTRASTE has also received invitations to participate at the Vienna Festival, the Schwetzinger Festival, the Chopin-Festival in Warsaw, the Berlinale, the Salzburg Festival, the Schleswig Holstein Music Festival, Music Festival Nara in Japan and the Gavroche Festival in Moscow.

Our most prominent media partners include the Bayerischer Rundfunk and ZDF/Arte.

Change of management for the 2025/26 season
After more than 30 years as joint managers of ensemble KONTRASTE, the 2024/25 season marks the end of an era, as Anke Trautmann, Eckhard Kierski, Stefan Danhof and Helmut Bott pass the baton on to Luise Heiss, Philipp Heiss, Henrik Blumenroth and Jeany Park-Blumenroth. Ensemble KONTRASTE will live on and continue to offer new and exciting programs bursting with new energy.