news_2018-06_Forum-Junger-Komponisten © Neda Navaee

Zafraan stands for music that reflects today’s life, today’s society, today’s reality in all its facets. In interaction with other art forms, Zafraan observes, explores and processes what surrounds us: people, events, nature, technologies, the normalities and absurdities of today. The group, consisting of ten permanent members from Spain, France, New Zealand, Australia and Germany, was formed in Berlin in 2009 and performs current repertoire covered by the core line-up. In collaboration with conductors such as Nodoka Okisawa, Manuel Nawri, Elias Brown and Titus Engel, with artists such as Chiharu Shiota, Rimini Protokoll, Aneesh Pradhan, Bahauddin Dagar, Julia Rommel, Alexej Tchernyi and Wu Zhi, with composers such as Sarah Nemtsov, Cathy Milliken, Zeynep Gedizlioğlu, Uday Krishnakumar, François Sarhan, Samir Odeh-Tamimi, Yoav Pasovsky, Elena Mendoza, Stefan Keller, Lula Romero, Johannes Schöllhorn and Eres Holz, they push themselves to the limit, take risks to create something new. One of the ensemble’s trademarks is its cleverly conceived dramaturgical programs, as well as staged concerts and immersive formats that combine art forms such as theatre, performance, installation and dance. In the field of music theatre, the ensemble staged Hèctor Parra’s “Hypermusic Prologue” at the Sophiensaele Berlin and at Gare du Nord Basel in 2013. This was followed by plays by Ulrich Rasche in Stuttgart and at Sophiensaele, Kampnagel Hamburg and in Frankfurt. The ensemble has also been engaged by the Deutsche Oper Berlin, the Staatsoper Berlin and the Hamburg Opera. In 2017, the ensemble launched the “Match Cut Festival” at the Musikbrauerei Berlin, which saw its second edition at the Volksbühne Berlin in 2019. The ensemble explored musical interfaces with neighbouring genres together with the audience, which involved groups such as the Andromeda Mega Express Orchestra, Squintaloo, Babylon ORCHESTRA and Phillip Sollmann and John Gürtler. The third edition took place in June 2022 together with Brandt Brauer Frick and the Akademie für Alte Musik Berlin.

The ensemble used its tenth anniversary as an opportunity for joint concerts with other groups such as L’Itinéraire, Court-Circuit and KNM Berlin. From September 2020 to October 2021, the ensemble organised a ten-part concert series that presented important Berlin premieres since A. Schönberg’s “Pierrot Lunaire” and placed them in artistic contexts. In 2022/23, the ensemble curated its own series “ACUD Sessions”, which focused on the LOGBOOK entries by F. Sarhan. In 2024, the card game “LOGBOOK”, developed together with F. Sarhan, will be published. Since 2023, the “On the Road” series has been taking place at Dock 11, in which the musicians present their favourite pieces.

In 2021, the ensemble began a successful collaboration with Rimini Protokoll with the play “All Right. Good Night” and went on tour to HAU Berlin, Volkstheater Wien, PACT Zollverein Essen, Künstlerhaus Mousonturm, Theaterspektakel Zürich, Impulse Theater Festival Mühlheim, the invitation to the 2022 Theatertreffen at the Haus der Berliner Festspiele and the Fundación Teatro a Mil in Santiago de Chile.

The ensemble is comprised of the following members: Liam Mallett (flute), Miguel Pérez Iñesta (clarinet), Martin Posegga (saxophone), Anna Viechtl (harp), Daniel Eichholz (percussion), Clemens Hund-Göschel (piano), Emmanuelle Bernard (violin/viola), Josa Gerhard (viola/violin), Martin Smith (cello) und Beltane Ruiz Molina (double bass).

Since 2013, Zafraan Ensemble receives funding from the Senatsverwaltung für Kultur und Europa of the federal state of Berlin.

From 2024 Zafraan Ensemble is member of the IETM network