ensemble proton bern, founded in 2010, has established itself as one of the top new music groups in Europe. Their actual goal is, however, much greater: to bring people closer to new music. To this end, the musicians seek to contact and are able to discuss the contemporary sound world with their audience. ensemble proton bern’s concert videos on YouTube have been viewed – most unusually for new music – many thousands of times.
The common ground among the nine core musicians is their passionate curiosity for undiscovered musical terrain. For this reason, ensemble proton bern specializes in premiering new works and commissions tailor-made for the particular ensemble makeup. The ensemble boasts the ability to offer the rare opportunity to write for special instruments such as lupophone (bass oboe) and contraforte (contrabassoon).
In the search for the ‘new’ in new music, the musicians maintain close contact with well-known composers, such as Donald J. Stewart, Terry Riley, Beat Furrer, and Heinz Holliger, but also provide support for exceptional developing talent. The initiative protonwerk (sponsored by Pro Helvetia) offers newcomers (young student composers) the chance to have their works played by the ensemble at the highest level.
ensemble proton bern attracts interest internationally, as was evident in St. Petersburg recently when the ensemble opened the International Festival for New Music reMusik at the legendary Mariinsky Theatre. Upon invitation from Radio France, the group recorded a CD for the label Klarthe in Paris shortly after.
As ongoing ensemble in residence at the Dampfzentrale Bern, however, the musicians are strongly connected to their hometown. Four times per year, ensemble proton bern invites local audiences to experience freshly prepared concert programs in their own concert series, proton am montag.