Contemporary and Traditional Music from Asia
The AsianArt Ensemble was initiated in 2007, and formed in its present structure in 2009. In 2012 it won the prize of the German record critics (“Preis der deutschen Schallplattenkritik”) for its first CD “asianart ensemble”, published by Celestial Harmonies. Since then the ensemble has attracted more and more attention. In 2017 the AsianArt Ensemble was able to host the international festival for contemporary intercultural music “TURBULENZEN” in Berlins Radialsystem V, with the generous support of “Hauptstadtkulturfonds” and “Goethe-Institut”.
With its unique combination of instruments and the music it performs, the AsianArt Ensemble has established an important role in the music world. With instruments from China, Japan and Korea combined with Western strings, AsianArt Ensemble opens up new avanues within contemporary music beyond the common styles of New Music or so-called World Music. “Contemporary Music of the World” best describes its style, as the music performed can neither be classified as European nor as Asian. Each concert is concluded by an improvisation, allowing space for the ensemble members to share their playfulness and virtuosity.
AsianArt Ensemble is more dependent on new compositions than other ensembles, as very few works exist for its specific instrument combinations. In order to inspire composers to write new pieces, the AsianArt Ensemble organizes workshops. On these occasions, the focus lies on conveying the specific characteristics of Asian instruments and their traditional music, thereby initiating new approaches of composition for composers accustomed to writing for Western instruments.
There is even a political dimension in combining instruments from China, Japan and Korea with European instruments, though this is not intentional. In Asian countries there is quite a bit of nationalistic resentment against the neighboring countries, whereby this kind of an ensemble would not be conceivable in Asia. Therefore the AsianArt Ensemble is distinctly at home in Berlin.
In the speech held by Helmut Rohm in honor of the AsianArt Ensemble on the occasion of the ensemble being awarded with the prize of the German Record Critics, he states: “A compellingly composed program comprised of bits of German and bits of Far Eastern origin! The musicians succeed in creating an impressive art of playing together. While they let intonation and vocabulary, color and rhythmic energy flow into a new whole, the listener might just come to feel that time and space have become irrelevant.”