Ensemble U: was founded in 2002 and quickly established itself as Estonia’s leading contemporary music group. U:, which is known for commissioning new music from Estonian and foreign composers, will perform works by Estonian and American composers written exclusively for the group, including world premieres by Bryan Christian and Eugene Birman as well as works from Tatjana Kozlova, Helena Tulve, Märt-Matis Lill, and Benjamin Broening. Bryan Christian’s piece “Walk“ (2011) was commissioned by the Fromm Music Foundation at Harvard University.

Ensemble U: is a group of six outstanding young musicians dedicated to contemporary music. Since its founding U: has been performing in numerous contemporary music festivals like Days of New Music in Pärnu and Days of Estonian Music, the NYYD festival (in 2005 in collaboration with Tristan Murail), Days of St. John Church in Tartu, Time of Music (Viitasaari, Finland), Baltoscandal (Rakvere, Estonia), festival Meridian (Bucharest, Romania), Gaida Festival (Vilnius, Lithuania) and Sounds New Festival (Canterbury, UK). The ensemble works without a conductor, and its members are talented young musicians, many of whom have been supplementing themselves on modern music abroad.

U: has been the first in Estonia to perform many masterworks of the present day’s most noted composers such as Boulez, Stockhausen, Murail, Donatoni, Sciarrino, Romitelli, Xenakis, Grisey, etc. In addition, U: focuses significantly on performing experimental and improvisational music, actively working to broaden the idea of different types of scores as sources of music (e.g., graphical scores, video, text, etc.). In the field of musical theatre, U: has worked together several times with Mart Kangro, one of the most internationally-renowned conceptual dance theatre artists in Estonia. Their latest collaboration with Kangro, Harmony, premiered in October 2009 at the international contemporary music festival NYYD 2009.

U: has been responsible for commissioning new music from Estonian and foreign composers. For example, Helena Tulve, Toivo Tulev, Mari Vihmand, Tatjana Kozlova, Märt-Matis Lill, Tauno Aints, Andres Lõo (Estonia), Roméo Monteiro (France), Antti Auvinen, Kimmo Kuitunen (Finland), and Benjamin Broening (USA) have all written pieces for ensemble U:. In 2009, ensemble U: released their album U: (UCD 001), consisting of selected works by Estonian composers dedicated to U:. International presentation of the CD took place as a virtual concert in the Estonian Virtual Embassy in Second Life. In September 2009, ensemble U: was honored with the music award of the Estonian Cultural Endowment for the 2008 concert season and their CD U:. The ensemble’s second CD Protuberances (UCD 002), including music by Tatjana Kozlova, Antti Auvinen, Jarkko Hartikainen, Kimmo Kuitunen, and Benjamin Broening was released just two years later, in the spring of 2011.

Supported by the Estonian Consulate General in New York City, the Estonian Ministry of Culture, the Estonian Authors’ Society, and Music Export Estonia.



Photo Courtesy of ensemble mise-en

MON – 10-10-2011 – 7:00 PM