In 1976, Pierre Boulez founded the Ensemble intercontemporain with the support of Michel Guy (who was Minister of Culture at the time) and the collaboration and Nicholas Snowman.
The Ensemble’s 31 soloists share a passion for 20th-21st century music. They are employed on permanent contract, enabling them to fulfill the major aims of the Ensemble: performance, creation and education for young musicians and the general public.
Under the artistic direction of Matthias Pintscher, the musicians work in close collaboration with composers, exploring instrumental techniques and developing projects that interweave music, dance, theater, film, video and visual arts.
In collaboration with the IRCAM (Institut de Recherche et Coordination Acoustique/Musique), the Ensemble intercontemporain is also active in the field of synthetic sound generation.
New pieces are commissioned and performed on a regular basis.
The Ensemble is renown for its strong emphasis on music education: concerts for kids, creative workshops for students, training programs for future performers, conductors, composers, etc. Since 2004, the Ensemble soloists have been tutoring young instrumentalists, conductors and composers in the field of contemporary repertoire at the Lucerne Festival Academy, a several week educational project held by the Lucerne Festival.
Based at the Cité de la Musique (Paris) since 1995, the Ensemble performs and records in France and abroad, taking part in major festivals worldwide.
The Ensemble is financed by the Ministry of Culture and Communication and receives additional support from the Paris City Council.
Since it was first established, the Ensemble intercontemporain has promoted the circulation of 20th and 21st century musical works throughout Europe and the world. This vital mission of disseminating musical works has led the Ensemble to be recognized as “European Cultural Ambassador” for 2012 by the European Commission.