Pop/Rock Dance Hiphop Jazz World Classical Contemporary Stage Festival Genre tree


Summary | Biography | Discography | Photos | Audio/Video



2009 - current


classical, contemporary classical music




Asko Ensemble, Schönberg Ensemble


Asko|Schönberg is a flexible group of musicians that can perform in any size or setting and is dedicated to 20th- and 21st-century music by both distinguished and emerging composers. Its fundamental makeup consists of single woodwinds, brass, piano, percussion, harp and strings (one per instrument). The ensemble, conducted by Reinbert ...
Full biography


Reinbert de Leeuw   dirigent

Mentioned in the biography of

1980   Klas Torstensson
1988   Anna Magdalena den Herder
1988   Elmer Schönberger
More results Less results

Biography Asko|Schönberg

Asko|Schönberg is a flexible group of musicians that can perform in any size or setting and is dedicated to 20th- and 21st-century music by both distinguished and emerging composers. Its fundamental makeup consists of single woodwinds, brass, piano, percussion, harp and strings (one per instrument). The ensemble, conducted by Reinbert de Leeuw, has worked closely with a number of composers and continues to do so, developing over the years close relationships with, among others, Galina Ustvolskaya, György Kurtág, Karlheinz Stockhausen, Sofia Gubaidulina. It has launched various educational initiatives, including the György Ligeti Academy, a training ground for conservatory students who wish to become accomplished performers of contemporary repertoire. In addition to Reinbert de Leeuw, Asko|Schönberg works with guest conductors, including Olivier Knussen, Stefan Asbury, Peter Eötvös and Peter Rundel. It often performs in the Concertgebouw and the Muziekgebouw aan 't IJ in Amsterdam, in series such as the Saturday Matinee, and in the Holland Festival or with De Nederlandse Opera. The ensemble also often performs outside the Netherlands.

1965 - 2008

The Asko Ensemble, founded as the Amsterdam Studenten Kamer Orkest [Amsterdam Student Chamber Orchestra], develops into a leading ensemble for contemporary music. Its repertoire includes many of the by now classic works of 20th-century composers. It undertakes co-productions involving other disciplines – film, dance, multimedia and opera. The ensemble, which has no regular conductor, works with various conductors, such as Stefan Asbury, George Benjamin, Riccardo Chailly and Oliver Knussen. Among its triumphs are various world premieres of music by Dutch and foreign composers. Other highpoints include the programme CEL (music by Xenakis, computerized image projections by Peter Struycken) with Dance Works Rotterdam, Jan van Vlijmen's opera 'Thyeste', with Cappella Amsterdam, the Nationale Reisopera and the De Munt Theatre in Brussels; and three productions in Holland Festival 2006 (including Michel van der Aa's opera' After Life',2006). The ensemble also undertakes special projects, for example 'Rêves d'un Marco Polo' by Claude Vivier (Holland Festival 2004); 'Writing to Vermeer', by Louis Andriessen, with De Nederlandse Opera (2004); and works by Robert Zuidam.

1974 - 2008

The Schönberg Ensemble is founded by current and former students of the Royal Conservatory in The Hague, with Reinbert de Leeuw as conductor. Until the mid-1980s, it concentrates principally on the music of the Second Viennese School and arrangements of music by contemporaries. It also answers the growing need of young composers for an ensemble with a transparent sound that can perform in various sizes and instrumental combinations. Its repertoire steadily expands, soon embracing all of the 20th century and more recent works. The ensemble becomes a figurehead of contemporary music in the Netherlands: “The Schönberg Ensemble exists for the complete spectrum of non-symphonic repertoire.” (De Leeuw, in Trouw, September 10, 2006). Important productions include Jan van Vlijmen's 'Inferno' (1995) and Vladimir Tarnopolsky's 'Foucault's Pendulum' (2004). Among other highpoints are Mauricio Kagel's 'Entführung im Konzertsaal', the world premiere of Sofia Gubaidulina's 'Risonanza' for organ and ensemble, the world premiere of Alexander Raskatov's 'The Last Freedom', in the Amsterdam Concertgebouw, and Benjamin Britten's opera 'The Turn of the Screw', in collaboration with De Nationale Reisopera.


The Asko Ensemble and Schönberg Ensemble work together on pieces that require large ensembles, including works by Louis Andriessen, Klaas de Vries, Olivier Messiaen and György Kurtág. Many of these productions are recorded.


The Asko Ensemble and György Ligeti meet at a concert in Helsinki. The bond they form is strengthened by a meeting with Reinbert de Leeuw and the Schönberg Ensemble. It is the beginning of a close collaboration. Ligeti initiates numerous European performances of his music by the two ensembles.


The Asko and Schönberg ensembles' collaboration leads to successful projects with De Nederlandse Opera and the 'Tijdgenoten' [Contemporaries] concert series at the Amsterdam Concertgebouw.


The ensembles begin the joint project of recording Ligeti's complete works for chamber music ensemble.


The first CD in the series receives the Edison Klassiek award.


The Schönberg Ensemble celebrates [in its 32nd year] its 30th anniversary and releases an anniversary CD box with Etcetera Records. The ensemble celebrates Mauricio Kagel's 75th birthday with a marathon programme, attended by Kagel, at the Muziekgebouw aan 't IJ. Ligeti dies, and the idea develops within the ensemble to pass on its knowledge and experience with 20th-century composers to the young musicians – this will lead to the Ligeti Academy. The CD of Kagel's 'Alles Wechselt, All Things Change' (Quirinus' Liebeskuss, 2001) wins the BBC Music Magazine Award.


The Asko Ensemble and Schönberg Ensemble decide to merge, but they (and other cultural organizations) are hit hard by funding cutbacks; the Netherlands Fonds voor Podiumkunsten [Netherlands Fund for the Performing Arts] reduces their subsidies by 25 percent. Various composers and musicians voice support for the ensemble. The Ligeti Academy opens. Mauricio Kagel dies and bequeaths the ensemble funds, which are managed by the Mauricio Kagel Music Fund. The ensemble is a guest at the Melbourne International Arts Festival. Reinbert de Leeuw turns 70, and the ensemble celebrates with a festive concert.


Asko|Schönberg comes officially into being. Stan Paardekoper becomes general director and reaches an agreement with the Netherlands Fonds voor Podiumkunsten that eases the subsidy reduction. Asko|Schönberg premieres 'In Praise of Darkness' by Mary Finsterer, a composition awarded the Paul Lowin Orchestral Prize that year. The ensemble performs Kris Defoort's opera 'House of the Sleeping Beauties' at the LOD (a production house for music, musicals and opera) in Ghent. The production is released on CD. At the Holland Festival, Asko|Schönberg performs the integral works of Edgard Varèse.

Discography Asko|Schönberg

In the discography you will find all recordings that have been released listed chronologically. We restrict ourselves to the title, the type of audio, year of publication or recording, label, list of guest musicians, plus any comments on the issue.

Photos Asko|Schönberg

Audio/Video Asko|Schönberg

No audio- or video material is yet available.
Add audio or video

Add audio or video

Muziekencyclopedie.nl on Facebook Muziekencyclopedie.nl on Twitter