The Intercontinental Ensemble was founded in Amsterdam in 2012, when a group of young musicians from different parts of the world decided to explore together the chamber music repertoire for winds and strings. The group is characterized by its timbral richness achieved from the unique instrumentation consisting of the entire string family (violin, viola, cello, and bass) and a wind quintet (flute, oboe, clarinet, bassoon, and french horn).
This genre could be called “chamber symphony”, since it is a condensed version of a symphonic orchestra. This instrumentation started in the early Romantic period with the Grand Nonetto of Louis Spohr (1813). Apart from the nonets, the Intercontinental Ensemble presents different forms of chamber music such as wind quintets and string quintets, and even more adventurous ones like the Prokofiev quintet for violin, viola, bass, clarinet, and oboe.
This ensemble is formed by musicians from various countries like Japan, the Netherlands, UK, Sweden, Spain, Mexico and USA. All of them met in the Conservatorium van Amsterdam, where they did or do their studies of Bachelor or Master.
They also collaborate in professional orchestras and ensembles, mainly in the Netherlands and their respectives countries including the Rotterdam Philarmonic, Nederlands Philarmonic, Nederlands Radio Philharmonisch Orkest, Sinfonia Rotterdam, Amsterdam Philarmonia, WienKlang Sinfonietta, Salzburger Philarmonie, Nederlandse Blazers Ensemble, Het Promenade Orkest, Symphonic Orchestra of Tenerife, Philarmonic of Gran Canaria, Symphonic Orchestra of Madrid, National Symphony Orchestra of Mexico; Youth orchestras like Iberoamerican Symphony, Schleswig-Holstein Festival, Pacific Music Festival, Youth Orchestra of the Americas, European Union Youth Orchestra (EUYO), etc… Some of the members play historical instruments too and have performed with prominent ensembles like The Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, Nederlandse Bach Vereniging, Indianapolis Baroque Orchestra and Musica Amphion. In all these orchestras they had the opportunity to work with famous conductors as Lorin Maazel, Gustavo Dudamel, Sir Simon Rattle, Esa-Pekka Salonen, Christopher Eschenbach, Marc Albrecht, Gordan Nikolic, Antoni Ros-Marbà, Christian Zacharias, Richard Egarr or Christopher Hogwood.
Intercontinental philosophy is based in intercultural will, exchanging ideas and sharing the universal language of music. The Ensemble is willing to expand all over the world, working as a element of social and cultural connection, with the highest musical quality.
Individually, Intercontinental members teach or taught in different schools or privately. As a collective, they were invited by the University of Baja California (Mexico) to impart masterclass in November of 2013, with the support of dutch Foundation Musici van Morgen. At the moment they are preparing next pedagogical project this summer, the Chamber Music Festival of Metepec (Mexico).
Compromised with new music, the Ensemble would like to invite composers to enlarge the repertoire for this special combination of instruments and work closer with contemporary creation.