In 2014, a group of Kraków-based musicians, who had performed together as part of the European Workshop for Contemporary Music, attended the programme for young ensembles at Darmstadt’s International Summer Course for New Music. So an idea was born to maintain the already fruitful collaboration in the shape of a regular ensemble. Since, our common ground has been the desire to explore contemporary music in all its manifestations and genres, from various periods and diverse musical cultures—for the purpose of performing such pieces, and in such a way, that would foster understanding, interest and passion both in us and in our audiences.
We wish to render anew that music which is known and praised, to discover that which still waits to be revealed, and to participate actively in creating modern and contemporarily relevant art. We play chamber music, in the broadest sense of the term: ranging from solo compositions to those involving a sinfonietta-like disposition. Adopting equal partnership and mutual inspiration as guiding principles, we aim our efforts at uniting different personalities to form a novel whole; hence the name of the ensemble: Spółdzielnia Muzyczna [Musicians Associated] Contemporary Ensemble.
Musicians Associated is an amalgam of artistic individuals. Each one of us is pursuing an independent career and deserves credit for his or her—so to speak—single-handed achievements in music. When not together, we perform as soloists, form chamber ensembles and play in symphony orchestras. Such unaccompanied doings do not come down to music performance, though, for some of us are committed to academic research, composition, music production or event management. Each musician so gathers priceless individual experience outside the ensemble, either in different embodiments of the contemporary—lighter ones too—or in classical, early as well as world music. This versatility is mirrored in our openness to unconventional ideas and artistic decisions. Fundamental to our selection of repertoire are originality, diversity and freshness; and to the way we perform, thorough understanding of musical and aesthetic ideas, with innate musicality backed by solid technical skills. Concurrently, we strive to animate composers and encourage their new work.
We want to act and grow comprehensively. On that account, programmes we present have been displaying diversity from the very beginning: our concerts made features of solo and chamber music both Polish and foreign, originated by long-standing composers as well as the youngest generation thereof, and including that which is performed in Poland seldom if ever. In December 2015, we were administered a catalyst in the form of Piotr Peszat’s monographic multimedia concert: compositions combining music and performance, employing multi- or post-instrumental capabilities on a par with acting skills, opened us up to a whole new perspective; that unique and significant experience undoubtedly determined where the path of our later development would lead and how a recognisable identity of Musicians Associated was to be created.
Besides, while still being members of the European Workshop for Contemporary Music, we had the pleasure and privilege to share the stage with instrumentalists representing groups like Ensemble Modern and Ensemble Garage; all in all, we owe a lot to EWCM’s chief conductor Rüdiger Bohn. During our independent activity as an ensemble, by now spanning more than three years, two of our former colleagues and one lasting—Gabriela Buzan—worked with Helmut Lachenmann on interpreting his Trio fluido; subsequent performance of the piece took place at the Brand New Music festival in Katowice. Among the most important festivals where we have performed are Warsaw Autumn, Sacrum Profanum, Audio Art, Musica Moderna, and aXes – the New Music Triduum.
At the 59th Warsaw Autumn (2016), we contributed to the Polish premiere of Salvatore Sciarrino’s operatic work Luci mie traditrici, in its staged rendering, co-produced by the Warsaw Chamber Opera; as an autonomous ensemble, we gave a full-length concert during the subsequent, 60th edition of the Festival, effecting—among other things—a first performance of a work by Jacek Sotomski. In 2017, we had a hand in the premiere of Monachomachia by Piotr Tabakiernik, a stage piece honoured in Lublin with Gazeta Wyborcza’s [leading Polish newspaper] award for the city’s best cultural event, and we recorded the composition electrified memories of bloody cherries by Jagoda Szmytka, soon to be released by PWM [Polish Music Publishers] on an album in honour of Poland’s independence centenary. 2018 is the third consecutive year that the Sacrum Profanum festival invites us to arrange an international project situated at the boundaries of composed and light music.