The early years of professional life aren't necessarily easy for anyone, but it's especially challenging for young composers to establish a professional foothold. They usually complete their training at music schools where there is little or no opportunity to work with professional ensembles. The International Composition Seminar closes that gap by enabling shared learning and working in a professional and international context, which translates into an educational experience unrivaled at the European level.
Partnering with the International Ensemble Modern Academy (IEMA), the Allianz Cultural Foundation initiated the International Composition Seminar in 2004. On the part of the Allianz Cultural Foundation, the project originated in a desire to foster dialogue between young European talents in the field of new music, and to connect them with the best experienced performers, conductors and composers. Because of its solid commitment to passing on its own vast store of experience and developing collaborative projects with emerging international composers and conductors, the Ensemble Modern Academy has been the ideal partner. It functions as a site for teaching and learning in the expanded sense, where research, encounters, exchange and public presentation are all facilitated.
Seminar participants premiere their pieces before a large audience. In 2011, the seminar became part of the “cresc...” Biennial for Modern Music Frankfurt Rhine-Main, further broadening public exposure.
In 2017 the project theme was „Transit“. Under the guidance of Enno Poppe, one of the most important young representatives of contemporary music and a highly sought-after conductor, the six participating composers chosen by the jury created new works over the course of an entire year. This multistage “work in progress” including working and studying phases enabled an intensive transfer of experiences and knowledge. The work of the young composers were premiered on 26 November 2017.
In the past, many successful composers such as Arnulf Herrmann, Saed Haddad and Vito Zuraj have emerged from the project and testify its sustainability and European-wide signal effect.
In 2015, together with the Filmakademie Baden-Württemberg, a suspenseful interplay between the two time-based arts music and film was created. This successful model was continued in 2017.
Four Filmmakers – Four Composers – Four World Premieres
Under the guidance of Artistic Director Johannes Kalitzke, composers at the 7th International Composition Seminar wrote the music to four new music films from the Filmakademie Baden-Württemberg. The productions had been filmed in places as diverse as New York, Morocco, Sicily and Hungary, and their subject matter was as original as the music that emerged. The outcome of the seminar premiered under the collective title “Quadruplets” at the cresc... Biennial for Modern Music.
For the first time ever, the International Composition Seminar occurred in the context of the “cresc...” music biennial. Over 3,500 listeners attended eight contemporary concerts at four venues in Frankfurt am Main and Darmstadt. A cooperation with the Frankfurt Radio Symphony opened up the possibility for composing work with a large orchestra for the first time.
Themed “Music and Space” in 2011, cresc... spotlighted artist, theorist, architect and engineer Iannis Xenakis (1922 – 2001). The 5thInternational Composition Seminar aligned thematically with the festival and used Xenakis' works as its basis.