A sensation on Europe's festival circuit and an established favorite among its leading new-music bands, Enno Poppe (b. 1969) is one of Germany's most talked-about composers. The founder and conductor of Berlin's ensemble mosaik, Poppe is as inspired by his experience with and love of chamber ensembles as it is by his theoretical interest in the nearly infinite permutations possible with even the tiniest musical motives. The new piano-percussion ensemble Yarn/Wire joins returning favorites the JACK Quartet for this fascinating Portrait.
Onstage discussion with the composer
Enno Poppe (b. 1969) was born in Hemer, Sauerland, Germany. He studied conducting and composition at the Hochschule der Künste Berlin, with Friedrich Goldmann and Gösta Neuwirth, among others. He continued studies of sound synthesis and algorithmic composition at the Technische Universität Berlin and at the ZKM Karlsruhe with Heinrich Taube. In 1996 he took part in the Nachwuchsforum of the Gesellschaft für neue Musik and studied at the Cité Internationale des Arts in Paris. Since 1998 he has been musical director of ensemble mosaik; that same year he won the Boris-Blacher-Preis for his "Gelöschte Lieder." In 2001 Poppe was awarded the composition prize of the City of Stuttgart for "Knochen," and in 2001 he received the Förderpreis of the Ernst-von-Siemens-Musikstiftung, together with the ensemble mosaik, and in 2002 the Busoni-Preis of the Akademie der Künste in Berlin. From 2002-2004 he was lecturer in composition at the Hochschule für Musik "Hanns Eisler" in Berlin.
Poppe's works have been commissioned by the Wittener Tage für Neue Kammermusik, the Berliner Festwochen, Ultraschall (Berlin), MaerzMusik (Berlin), Éclat (Stuttgart), musica viva (Munich), Musikbiennale (Munich), Ensemble Intercontemporain, Ensemble Resonanz, the Donaueschinger Musiktage, and the Salzburger Festspiele, and performed in Amsterdam, Berlin, Munich, Saarbrücken, Vienna, Cologne, Barcelona, Lviv, Saint Petersburg, Paris, Strasbourg, Brussels, Graz, and more. Among the champions of his works are Junge Deutsche Philharmonie, SWR Sinfonieorchester Baden-Baden und Freiburg, Ensemble Modern, Klangforum Wien, Ensemble 2e2m, ensemble mosaik, Ensemble Contrechamps, musikFabrik, Ensemble Intercontemporain, Collegium Novum Zürich, Arditti Quartet, Kairos-Quartett, EXAUDI; SWR Vokalensemble, Stefan Asbury, Pierre Boulez, Martyn Brabbins, Susanna Mälkki, Emilio Pomárico, Kasper de Roo, Peter Rundel, and Ed Spanjaard.
Praised for its "powerhouse playing" by the Chicago Sun-Times and its "extraordinary precision" by The Boston Globe, the JACK Quartet has quickly established a reputation for giving high-energy performances of today's most demanding works for string quartet. In 2009, the quartet received an ASCAP/Chamber Music America Award for Adventurous Programming of Contemporary Music. Comprising violinists Christopher Otto and Ari Streisfeld, violist John Pickford Richards, and cellist Kevin McFarland, the quartet has performed at Carnegie Hall (United States), La Biennale di Venezia (Italy), the Lucerne Festival (Switzerland), and the Festival Internacional Chihuahua (Mexico), with future appearances at the Wittener Tage für neue Kammermusik (Germany), the Library of Congress (United States), and the Donaueschinger Musiktage (Germany). The commissioning and performance of new works for string quartet is integral to the JACK Quartet's mission. Upcoming premieres include works by Johannes Schöllhorn, Martin Smolka, Caleb Burhans, Peter Ablinger, and Alan Hilario. The quartet has led workshops with young composers at Columbia University, New York University, Northwestern University, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, the University of Victoria, and the University of Washington. The members of the quartet met while attending the Eastman School of Music, and they have studied closely with the Arditti Quartet, Kronos Quartet, Muir String Quartet, and members of the Ensemble Intercontemporain.
Yarn/Wire is a chamber quartet that specializes in the performance of 20th and 21st century music. It is comprised of percussionists Ian Antonio and Russell Greenberg and pianists Laura Barger and Ning Yu. The unique combination of two percussionists and two pianists allows the ensemble to interface with both traditional performance practice and emergent stylistic trends with ease. Founded in 2005, Yarn/Wire is admired for the energy and precision they bring to today's most adventurous music. The results of Yarn/Wire's collaborative initiatives are pointing towards the development of a new and lasting repertoire, and partnerships with genre-bending artists such as Theatre of a Two-Headed Calf and David Bithell have led to the creation of work that is "spare and strange and very, very new" (Time Out NY). Yarn/Wire's 2010 debut release of Tone Builders, recorded during a residency at EMPAC, showcases the ensemble's versatility, and documents a large portion of the ensemble's commissioning activities. In addition to the numerous world premieres of music written specifically for the ensemble, Yarn/Wire has presented a number of US premieres by many of Europe's leading composers. Based in New York City, Yarn/Wire maintains an active performing and teaching schedule at festivals, chamber music series, universities and colleges across the country. Highlights of recent seasons include appearances at Make Music NY, the Ontological-Hysteric Theater, Unruly Music Festival, 'April in Santa Cruz' Festival of Contemporary Music, Pixilerations Festival, North River Concert Series, Southampton Chamber Music Series, University of Notre Dame, Stony Brook University, Columbia University, Dartmouth College, Goucher College, and Rutgers University.