Contrechamps is an ensemble of soloists specialised in the creation, development and dissemination of 20th and 21st century instrumental music for over 40 years. The ensemble is committed to opening up the marvels of this music to a wide audience as well as to highlight the diversity of aesthetics and formats on the contemporary and experimental scene.
Since its creation, Ensemble Contrechamps has been working hand in hand with a large number of composers – Pierre Boulez, Rebecca Saunders, Brian Ferneyhough, Beat Furrer, Klaus Huber, Michael Jarrell and Matthias Pintscher, to name a few – as well as with the new generation of creators such as Rebecca Glover or Fernando Garnero.
The 2019-2020 season will see premieres of new commissions by Chiyoko Szlavnics, Jacques Demierre, Bryn Harrison, Christine Sun Kim, Christopher Trapani, Abril Padilla, Thomas Ankersmit and the Massicot punk-rock group. Principal players Antoine Françoise and Simon Aeschimann will also create the music for a new choreographic piece by Maud Blandel.
Contrechamps is once again organising an interdisciplinary week called Le Laboratoire and is inaugurating Le Jet d’Eau, a support and research program for the next generation of creators. Three pieces by students from the Haute école de musique in Geneva will been premiered, as well as many Swiss premieres.
Contrechamps has performed under numerous conductors throughout its history, from Heinz Holliger to Emilio Pomárico, Michael Wendeberg, Elena Schwarz and Clement Power. This season, the ensemble is delighted to be collaborating for the first time with Vimbayi Kaziboni, Natalie Murray Beale and Zoi Tsokanou. The ensemble has welcomed international soloists over the years such as Pierre-Laurent Aimard, Donatienne Michel Dansac, Christoph Prégardien, Yeree Suh or Kai Wessel. Contrechamps also regularly showcases its own soloists.
Contrechamps’ touring activities include performances at the Festival d’Automne in Paris, Salzburg Festival, Donaueschinger Musiktage and MaerzMusik in Berlin, Lucerne Festival, Auditori of Barcelona, ICA in London and the Biennale Musiques en Scène in Lyon. The ensemble also collaborates with many local partners in Geneva – this season with the Bâtie-Festival, Archipel, Grand Théâtre de Genève, Ensemble Vide, OCG, Am Stram Gram theater, the female vocal ensemble Polhymnia, ADC, Cave12 and St. Peter’s Cathedral. There will be further collaborations outside of Geneva with the N/O/D/E and Arsenic in Lausanne, the Bellelay Abbey and a three-concert series in Basel’s Gare du Nord. Yvonne Harder will also contribute to the season, creating a welcoming atmosphere and bar area at the entrance of Studio Ernest-Ansermet.
Contrechamps works closely with the Haute école de musique in Geneva and the Confédération des écoles genevoises de musique to share its expertise with the next generation and to provide opportunities for talented young musicians by embedding them within projects. Regular collaborations with other musical institutions and museums in the city strengthen the cultural fabric of Geneva while outreach and educational activities also allow the ensemble to share their passion with an audience of all ages and horizons. The Contrechamps Editions publish important works on contemporary music each year and organise a series of lectures entitled Musique en dialogue, under the direction of Philippe Albèra.
The Ensemble Contrechamps has recorded more than twenty CDs and will release two portrait albums in surround sound in 2019-2020, one of Chiyoko Szlavnics and the other of Bryn Harrison, both on the label Neu Records.
- Simon Aeschimann, guitar
- Akiko Ahrendt, violin
- Tomoko Akasaka, viola
- Anne Bassand, harp
- Serge Bonvalot, tuba
- Martina Brodbeck, cello
- Laurent Bruttin, clarinet
- Sébastien Cordier, percussion
- Olivier Darbellay, horn
- Thierry Debons, percussion
- Hans Egidi, viola
- Antoine Françoise, piano
- Maximilian Haft, violin
- Jonathan Haskell, double bass
- Béatrice Laplante, oboe
- Pierre-Stéphane Meugé, saxophone
- Susanne Peters, flute
- Charles Pierron, horn
- Noëlle Reymond, double bass
- Serge Vuille, artistic director
- Stefan Wirth, piano