FARFAROUT – How fast do I travel when I sit still?

Inspired by the discovery of a new, distant object in space known as 2018AG37 and nicknamed FARFAROUT, Flex Ensemble joins forces with Farout Artistic Research – a Spanish group of performative researchers and artists* – for an interdisciplinary art project. FARFAROUT combines music, dance, and the science of astronomy as well as audience interaction and research dialogue.
Performed by the Hanoverian piano quartet and two dancers, the audience becomes part of a production that invites reflection on concepts such as movement, distance, perception, and spatiality. Alongside world premieres by Sergio Luque and Gordon Williamson, works by Yūji Takahashi and Morton Feldman accompany this collaborative exploration of spatial sound. The performance will be framed by an introduction by astronomer Dr. Francisco Colomer (director of the JIVE Institute) and a conversation with all participants to provide a deeper insight into the artistic-scientific idea behind FARFAROUT.

Farfarout was selected for the V Certamen de Creación Artística of Pamplona and with the Innova Cultural Award 2021 of Fundación La Caixa & Fundación Caja Navarra.


A multimedia performance about an often repressed third of our lives.

„Hauptsächlich aber sprechen sie durch die Musik. Und da erlebt man Herausragendes. Kana Sugimura, Anna Szulc, Martha Bijlsma und Johannes Nies sind ein preisgekröntes Klavierquartett, das sich sowohl in alter Musik als auch in der Avantgarde gleichermaßen überzeugend bewegt.“

Claus-Ulrich Heinke, Hildesheimer Allgemeine

What does sleep do to us? The pulse slows down, our temperature drops, the brain starts to work. The Flex Ensemble tries to bring what otherwise takes place in the dark depths of the subconscious into the focus of our consciousness.
To do this, the ensemble has compiled music from various centuries into a program of works by Bach, Skriabin, Pesson, and Vasks, among others, that reflect the stages of human sleep. Their sleep research resulted in video and text material that contribute to the music and performance.
The project, for which the musicians collaborated with Post Theater Berlin (video artist Yoann Trellu and dramaturg Max Schumacher), challenges the traditional concert setting.
Trance, slowed pulse or the surreal world of the subconscious are explored with the audience and taken on a journey through a sleep cycle, where they may well fall asleep, but probably don’t want to…

And what does that do to you?

ChamberMUSICtheater freely adapted from “Romeo and Juliet”

Romeo and Juliet – the most beautiful and tragic love story of all time… Really?

What if everything had turned out a little differently? If Juliet, now in her mid-thirties, had become a neurotic single woman whose inner self provides a battleground for reluctant character traits, and whose encounter with a new love literally leaves her speechless?

Accompanied by actor Christoph Linder, the Flex Ensemble, as a quadruple Juliet, explores the depths of nonverbal communication, the intimate connection concertgoers form with their audiences, and the unmistakable truth that lies in music by Brahms, Strauss, Hartke, and many others.

With the Flex Ensemble, Friederike Karig (director) and Christoph Linder (actor).

Phantasmagorical Movements. Surrealism in Art, Music & Dance

Maurice Ravel
Sonata for Violin and Cello

Johannes Ciconia
Le Ray au soleyl

Stephen Hartke
The King of the Sun (1988)
with Lena Visser, dance

There is something dreamlike and surreal about all of us – at least that is what the composer Stephen Hartke and the painter Joan Miró are convinced of and call this ‘something’ phantasmagoric. Inspired by these artists, we investigate: What happens when a piano quartet is considered part of a choreography or when a dancer becomes part of a music-making ensemble? Everything revolves around Stephen Hartke’s piece “The King of the Sun”, which is based on paintings by Miró, and an impressionistic duet by Maurice Ravel, which reveals Ravel’s love of dance although it is not actually dance music. Projections of Miró’s originals frame the concert evening. The joint experiment blurs the boundaries between music and dance, hearing and seeing!

Possibly in conjunction with a workshop for children/young people: What impressions listening to this music and art leaves on young listeners and how these can be made visible even without seeing – this was explored by the ensemble in advance in a project with pupils from the State Education Centre for the Blind in Hanover; the results were exhibited at the premiere.

“Mir ist als Allererstes aufgefallen, als ich die vier hier kennengelernt habe, wie viel Bewegung bei ihnen im Körper entsteht, wenn sie musizieren”, erzählt Lena Visser. “Das ist quasi nur ein Nebenprodukt, es ist gar nicht auf Performance ausgelegt. Und trotzdem empfinde ich es als Tänzerin wahnsinnig inspirierend – und nehme da ganz viel mit.”

(Interview und Probenbesuch, NDR Kultur, Agnes Bührig, 30. Jan..2018)

Circular Music / New Music Meets Video

Jürg Frey (*1953) – Extended circular music no. 1-4 (2011-2014)

Gordon Williamson (*1974) – Chanson Ruée  (2017)

Gérard Pesson (*1958)  – Rentrez soupirs nach Marc-Antoine Charpentier / Mes béatitudes (1994/1995)

In “Circular Music” the Flex Ensemble together with video artist Yoann Trellu presents a program that combines new music, space and video projections. The program is framed by Jürg Frey’s “Circular Music” and includes works by Gordon Williamson and Gérard Pesson commissioned by the Flex Ensemble. Trellu uses “generative mapping techniques” that respond to the musicians in real-time. These images are then projected onto the musicians and the space, emphasizing the architecture of the space. This program is a dynamic interaction between music and visual art, offering a new perspective on piano quartet works of the 20th and 21st centuries.

“Schweigen hat in Tönen auch seinen Platz. Um Schweigen zu erreichen, muss man alles, das ihm im Weg steht, loslassen.”

Jürg Frey


Aaron Copland
Piano Quartet (1950)
Krzysztof Komeda/Mateusz Smoczyński
Komeda Recomposed
(commissioned by Flex Ensemble, 2021)
Nikolai Kapustin
Piano Quintet op. 89 (1998)

Sounds like jazz – but it’s all written down! This motto has the recently deceased
Russian composer Nikolai Kapustin, who recently passed away, really
perfected this motto. The slow movement of his piano quintet, written in 1998 during a particularly
during a particularly fruitful and creative phase of his career,
is one of Kapustin’s most beautiful creations, followed by what is probably the most
most astonishing five minutes in chamber music literature – a jazz-rock classic that leaves the audience, but not necessarily the players, begging for an
for an encore.
Next to it is Aaron Copland’s much too rarely played piano quartet
from 1950, which is influenced by jazz rhythms in the middle movement.
Copland, the “modernist,” is at his best here. He
dances with a kinetic movement to a kind of “ragged” time and thus
evokes the sharp pointillism of Stravinsky and Shostakovich.
A special highlight is a jazz suite on standards by Polish film music composer and jazz pianist Krzysztof Komeda, selected by Smoczynski and arranged especially for this concert series.

Easter Transformations – an alternative Passion with Arvo Pärt

Francisco Guerrero (1528-1599)
Maria Magdalene et altera Maria

Pēteris Vasks (*1946)
Grāmata čellam II. Pianissimo (Dolcissimo) for Cello Solo (1978)

Nora Gomringer (*1980)
Video Lecture (2019)

Arvo Pärt (*1935)
Stabat Mater for soprano, alto, tenor, violin, viola and cello (1985)

Ania Vegry – Sopran
Marlene Gaßner – Alto
Uwe Gottswinter – Tenor
Nora Gomringer – Video Lecture

Johann Sebastian Bach’s famous Passion music originally had the purely religious purpose of conveying the Easter message. Even today they are played a lot and gladly heard at Easter, but the direct connection is no longer so strong. Many younger composers – such as Arvo Pärt – who worked with these religious texts put them into a modern context with their own musical language.

We want to enter into and offer an engagement with spiritual retreat, but outside a traditionally religious framework. For this, we play Pärt’s Stabat Mater in conjunction with the reading of a text that seeks an engagement with the themes of the Passion and Resurrection in the present. This ‘modern sermon’ is produced and read by the young up-and-coming German writer Norah Bossong. The rarely performed Stabat Mater for three singers and string trio is in many ways a realisation of his aim to create a “musical line that is a carrier of the soul, an absolute monody, a naked voice from which everything originates”. The effect of this music can be felt as one’s own religious experience.

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