“a very Ensemble Klang kind of party”

Introducing Musical Utopias

At some moment in the autumn of 2003 Ensemble Klang performed its first concert. To mark the momentous 15th anniversary of that occasion we wanted to throw a party, but not just any kind of party: we wanted to throw a very Ensemble Klang kind of party. Rather than look back at what we’d done, we wanted to look as far into the future as possible. Together with some of the artists we love the most we wanted to continue dreaming about new worlds and new possibilities, from the impossible and the imaginary to the very concrete changes we’d like to see happening tomorrow. And so Musical Utopias was born.

With our home venue, the Korzo, in The Hague, we’ve gathered music-makers and artists across multiple genres, all of whom strive to build new worlds in their work, and dare to step into the unknown in their process of creation. While assembling some of the group’s key artistic collaborators the music looks optimistically to the future.

Between the 20th and the 22nd of December 2018 the Korzo will be filled with concerts, world premieres, dance, music theatre, video works, sound installations and a special listening sauna!

Hot Listening Booth by Stelios Manousakis & Stephanie Pan

“we’ve gathered music-makers and artists who strive to build new worlds in their work, daring to step into the unknown”

We’re delighted to open the festival with an important new work by one of our closest collaborators, composer Peter Adriaansz. We’ve been working with Peter since 2008, when we commissioned a series of his Waves works, which also formed the first album on our record label. Ten years later comes the next significant, evening-length work, Environments.

In Environments Peter Adriaansz examines humankind’s relationship to – and its perception of – society, as well as ways that that perception can be illustrated in the musical construction itself. Our changing understanding of time, over the centuries, is a central metaphor, with the work exploring developed notions of time: linear; circular; imaginary; and binary. Time eventually becomes space itself, with the audience placed centrally, sounds, voices and music travel through space, circle the listeners, emerge from all around, and ping from left to right to deliver a fully immersive sonic experience.

We can’t wait to premiere the work and open Musical Utopias on 20th December!

Premiere of Watts by Peter Adriaansz, Elektriciteits Fabriek, The Hague, Festival Dag in de Branding (c) Rob Hogeslag

Friday 21st December revolves around American minimalism and liberation-oriented free jazz that invokes social and political causes. In a collaboration with Keir Neuringer (whose music featured in that very first concert back in 2003), Irreversible Entanglements and Moor Mother, we’ll present individual sets including a brand new work for Ensemble Klang by Keir (something we’ve been hoping to get for some years already!). And musicians from both ensembles will join forces for a very special performance of Julius Eastman’s Femenine. It’s fair to say that the Wire magazine’s assessment of Keir Neuringer holds true for the whole evening, it’ll be a night of “music where mortal purpose is a given”.

Irreversible Entanglements

Saturday 22nd December sees the festival climax with a whole day of performances engendering trance and transcendence.  An afternoon combining music-theatre, dance and new music: our very own surreal marching band 9×13 bring their production Trance to Musical Utopias, followed by a special performance of Julia Wolfe’s Arsenal of Democracy and Andrew Hamilton’s Music for People Who Like Nature by a mega-ensemble combining the players of 9×13 and Ensemble Klang.

Fields - Astrid Boons (Photo Jim de Block)

Saturday night brings a jam-packed evening of brand new dance, award-winning fado, maximal-minimalism, dreamy pop, head-banging rock, and metropolis-inspired electronica.

With all the brass players in the building from 9×13 and the Royal Conservatoire we couldn’t resist staging one of our all-time favourite works, Michael Gordon’s modern-day classic Trance. An ensemble of 22 musicians, featuring keyboards, electric guitars, percussion, saxophones, trumpets and trombones, conjures the ecstatic harmonies and polyrhythms of what one online reviewer defines as “young Philip Glass meets Jimi Hendrix”.

Knalpot © Danulis

“young Philip Glass meets Jimi Hendrix”

We’re incredibly proud to present a preview of Astrid Boons’ new dance work Fields in which dancers fuse with their surroundings. Fado singer extraordinaire Magda Mendes combines with duo AttemaHaring for a set of songs that parallel the landscape of central Portugal with our modern day mobility and migration.

Late in the evening, a long-time Ensemble Klang favourite, and some-time artistic collaborator, Knalpot bring their electrifying live set of ‘ultrarock’ to celebrate the launch of their latest album dierendag. While Matthew Wright and Keir Neuringer join forces for Speak Cities, where heavenly music emerges from the chatter, clutter and noise of the city.

As if all that weren’t enough, across the festival we’ll be featuring a new iteration of Matteo Marangoni and Dieter Vandoren’s sound installation Lampyridae, a set of artificial firefly-like sound-generating creatures, the work explores emergent swarm behaviours originating in the electronic simulation of ecosystems.

There are very specially-priced Early Bird tickets for the whole festival. Grab yours for just 35 euros before 1 December!