Over its 44 years of history, Ensems has provided a space for showcasing, creating, performing and reflecting upon the latest trends in music and sound from both the academic and artistic spheres. Ensems is the oldest festival for recently created music in Spain and has become one of the exemplary festivals in the new music and sound creation scene on an international level.

One of the Ensems Festival’s fundamental missions has been and continues to be to disseminate the creation and performance of music. The boost given to the work by local performers is a success for Ensems, acting as a catalyst for the processes used by groups committed to 20th and 21st century sounds in creating and performing their music. All in all, it also represents a significant means of support for the fabric of Valencian and Spanish musical creation, acting as a powerful generator of musical commissions for symphonic groups, chamber groups and professionals from the world of sound art. Such creators have achieved a remarkable track record and can boast a significant presence on regular calendars throughout Spain.

Finally, Ensems’ educational purpose is also worthy of note. Throughout its 44 years, it has concentrated its work on bringing the latest musical creations to the general public, ranging from the youngest audiences to adults and including students, fans and specialist audiences. A clear example of such effort can be seen in the Ensems Sound Creation Workshop (5th edition), the Composition Meetings (34th) and the introduction of the X-Ensems project, intended to bring new sound landscapes to artistic education centres where they usually find no place.

Ensems 2022. Finestres

“Freedom is a habit, and it is not easy to acquire. It only comes with practice.” Joan Fuster

The motto for the 44th Ensems festival, organised by the Valencian Institute of Culture, is Finestres (Windows).

Metaphorically, a window can be a reflection of the plurality of a living being, its changing meaning and the reflection that we are the same and yet another. A physical window opens up the possibility of observing one or other side of the glass. There are many types of windows, and Ensems is one that brings different forms of artistic expression to the audience: non-industrial sound, with no kind of stigma or dogmatism, and which does not have the sole aim of a recreational-cultural proposal to fill seats.

Paraphrasing Joan Fuster in the centenary year of his birth, in his first essay The Discredit of Reality (1955), it represents a metaphorical allusion to different concepts related to the way in which he wondered about the meaning of existence and life. There are brief looks at the different moments in the history of art where he traces the change of mentality in the Western spirit, from Giotto to abstract art.

In the essays, as the free expression of an idea, Fuster poses questions while also questioning himself. He is not interested in the transience of reality, but in the persistence within another order of deeper things. His writing was symbolistic and existential, treating the things he valued with cruelty, irony, demands and scepticism. Perhaps Fuster, like Ensems, can cause unease, and that means we are still alive. Stirring up waters that are too calm, in a state of perpetual drowsiness, washing our dirty laundry in them from time to time, shaking up ideas to free them from a crust with critical and social values, is all hygienic for thought.

“All of us, if we manage to be right, are half right.” J. Fuster.

Focusing on programming this year’s Ensems, we will be opening up a small window to focus on the work of Iannis Xenakis in the year of the centenary of his birth, in recognition of one of the most interesting creators of the past century. The groups entrusted with this will be Alxarq Percussion, Amores Grup de Percussion, Orfeó Universitari de València choir, SoXXI and Neopercussion.

Once again this year, we will have the privilege of seeing the participation of the Valencia Municipal Symphonic Band, the Castellón Municipal Band, the Alicante Municipal Band, the Orquestra de València, the ADDA Symphonica orchestra and the Jove Orquestra de la Generalitat Valenciana (Valencia Region Youth Orchestra), which all enable a newly created symphonic repertoire to be addressed, as well as a look at the “classics”.

“Do not have more convictions than the decidedly essential ones.” J. Fuster.

We will also be welcoming the Valencian groups Lumina Ensemble, Grup Mixtour and B3:Brouwer Trío, which will be presenting La esencia y lo intangible (The essence and the intangible), a proposal related to their 20 years’ experience; in addition to Crossing Lines (Catalonia) and Luis Azcona with his multidisciplinary project /Empty/hands. As for international representatives, Proxima Centauri (Bordeaux) and E-MEX (Cologne) will be presenting the project Focus, which has carved out a route of European musical creation across three countries; the versatile singer Frauke Aulbert (Germany) with two projects: Voice lab dance edition and To Sing Or Not To Sing; United Instruments of Lucilin (Luxembourg) and the actress Marta Chiner will be staging the opera for family audiences Deine Freunde aus der Ferne (Your friends from far away) by Toshio Hosokawa; the double bassist Florentin Ginot, soloist from the Ensemble Musikfabrik (Cologne), will also be presenting us with a very varied programme for this instrument; and in addition, we will have the opportunity to listen to one of today’s best string quartets, Quatuor Diotima (France).

On the other hand, Ensems will be hosting the project Party studies, a cooperative work integrated into the umbrella of the European project Communities in Movement, focusing on the artistic research by the prestigious artist, writer and theorist Brandon LaBelle. Within the festival’s educational project and following in the line of ”clubbing culture”, we will be taking a look at what the Ruta del Bakalao was.

“A few readings separate us from life; many bring us closer.” J. Fuster

The collaboration with the Palau de les Arts that began during the last Ensems will enable the festival to open with the opera Zelle by Jamie Man. This is part of the European project ENOA (European Network of Opera Academies).

We shall continue our commitment to educational projects in different fields of activity aimed at experimentation and sound creation with young people. The X-Ensems educational project on this occasion can count on the Professional Conservatory of Music and Dance of Alicante, and on the other hand, with the Professional Conservatories of Music of Utiel and Requena, together with the composers Joan Gómez and David Leal. This year, the basis is toys and design, thus highlighting our tradition of designing toys. To do so, the text by Lewis Carroll, Alice through the Looking Glass, has been used as a basis, highlighting the different scenes like Alice crossing the mirror, Jabberwocky and The garden of talking flowers.

The 34th Composition Encounters, geared towards the professional sector, will see participation from top-notch guests: Isabel Mundry, Georges Aperghis, Toshio Hosokawa and Martín Matalón, in addition to the aforementioned Frauke Aulbert and Florentin Ginot.

We will also once again be able to enjoy the Ensems Sound Creation Workshops for the fifth time, again with the Jove Orquestra de la Generalitat Valenciana (Valencia Region Youth Orchestra) conducted this time by Marcel Ortega, and Quatuor Diotima, with Isabel Mundry as mentor.

There will be more than 25 world premières and twenty more premières of works being performed for the first time in Spain.

The IVC has commissioned work for Ensems from Marc Garcia-Vitoria, Ángel Berbis, Esther Pérez, Carlos Fontcuberta, Iluminada Pérez, Pablo Carrascosa and Helena Cánovas.

You can enjoy our programme at the ADDA auditorium in Alicante, Espai d’Art Contemporani de Castelló (EACC) and the Auditori i Palau de Congressos de Castelló, in addition to the Palau de les Arts, the IVAM, the Higher Conservatory of Music, in the Plaza Viriat and in other alternative spaces.

Once again, we thank all of the public and private institutions involved for their support. Culture is built up collectively; it provides spaces for encounters and places for conversation. You are all invited; we have programmed Ensems with the utmost affection and respect for you.

“The only pleasures that do not disappoint are the unforeseen ones.” J. Fuster.

Voro Garcia
Ensems Artistic Director

Artistic direction
Voro Garcia
Vicent Alberola
Pere Manuel
Pepa Albors
Dori Molina
Mariam Varea
Sonia Gil
José Ferriol
Vicent Villalonga
Design and coordination of X-Ensems
Cristina Cubells
Design and coordination of X-Ensems
Marina Hervás
Design and coordination of X-Ensems
Neus Fontestad
Image and graphic design
Marta Negre
Amanta Comunicació
Armand Llàcer
Magda Simó
Eva Rausell
Ramir Calvo
Web design
Yinsen Studio
Audiovisual documentation
Contra Vent i Fusta
Gary Smith
Direction of the Institut Valencià de Cultura
Abel Guarinos
Associate Directorate of Music and Valencian Popular Culture
Marga Landete
With IVC staff