Ensemble88 is a dynamic, professional ensemble, specialized in contemporary chamber music. It stimulates refreshing developments in music by commissioning compositions and performing these works in consultation and cooperation with the composer. Overlaps with visual arts, literature, film and architecture are part of the programming.
The ensemble is based in Maastricht and operates primarily in Limburg and the surroundig Meuse-Rhine Euregion. It regularly engages with composers from this region and is a valued partner of the conservatories in Maastricht, Aachen and Liege. The ensemble can regularly be heard in the Musica Sacra and Cultura Nova festivals and in the Ostbelgiën Festival, and enjoys collaborating with the Stichting Maastrichtse Componisten (Maastricht Composers Foundation) and the Centre Henri Pousseur in Liège, among other groups.
Ensemble88 has a core of seven musicians. In addition to the traditional combination - flute (alto flute, piccolo), (bass) clarinet, (alto) violin, cello, piano and percussion - a soprano often joins the ensemble.
Ensemble88 performs in varying combinations, depending on the repertoire. The following musicians are regular members of the ensemble.
Paul Pankert studied violin in Liège, Düsseldorf and Maastricht.
As a member of several chamber music groups, most notably Ensemble88, he gives numerous concerts throughout Europe
His experimental handling of new tonal systems led to his first composition "Spaltung", which won the composition competition of the Académie Royale Des Sciences, des Lettres et des Beaux-Arts de Belgique in 2008. Since then, in addition to his activities as a violinist and teacher, he has increasingly focused on composing and has written numerous works, including commissioned compositions for the Ensemble Nahandove, the Orgelpark Amsterdam, the Brussels Festival Ars Musica, the Quatuor MP4, the Ensemble Sturm und Klang, the Festival of Flanders (B-Classical), the East Belgium Festival and Flagey in Brussels. In 2017 he received the "Artist of East Belgium" award for three years running.
Since 2014, he has been the Artistic Director of Ensemble88.
He teaches at the music academy of the German-speaking Community of Belgium and is co-founder of the East Belgian "Kl-Ex Ensemble".
Germaine Sijstermans is a composer, installation artist and musician. Her site-specific works consist of installations with compositions that can be heard live or through loudspeakers. In her installations, she explores for performers and visitors the experience of a space and everything that happens in it through silence, light, sound, space and physical presence. She works with simple, recognizable materials such as wire, stones and paper, in combination with a subtle play of light.
Sijstermans' music can be described as "indeterminate," in which freedom for the players overshadows each performance with the character of the instruments, musicians, and circumstances.
Sijstermans draws inspiration for her work from a variety of sources, including traditional musical forms (including Japanese gagaku), biophilia, nature, "light and space" art, Butoh dance, and traditional architectural forms. Also important are collaborations and friendships-for many years or short periods-with inspiring colleagues. She regularly collaborates with Marcus Kaiser, Leo Svirsky, the DNK Ensemble (Amsterdam), Heim.art® (AT), Rishin Singh, Fredrik Rasten and artists of the Wandelweiser network.
As a performing musician, Sijstermans plays various genres on many types of stages. She has performed in traditional concert halls, underground venues and many possible in-between forms of it; from Heerlen to New York and São Paulo. Through collaborations with other composers, she has also contributed to the creation and premiere of compositions for clarinet and performance.
In 2013, Sijstermans completed her master's degree in classical clarinet at Codarts Rotterdam with principal teacher Jan Jansen. She earned her bachelor's degree at the Royal Conservatory of The Hague with teacher Pierre Woudenberg. She has received compositional and artistic guidance from Michael Pisaro, Jürg Frey, Antoine Beuger and Joachim Eckl, among others. For her development as a multidisciplinary artist she received support from Intro in Situ, Fonds Podiumkunsten and VIA ZUID.
Rutger Muller is een elektro-akoestische componist en interactieontwerper geïnteresseerd in mystieke, rituele en spirituele klanken. “Vanuit de verkenning van timbre, akoestiek en ruimtelijkheid construeer ik ‘soundspaces’, met daarin elementen uit oude/klassieke muziek, ambient, techno, vrije improvisatie, natuur en architectuur. Door abstractie in te zetten probeer ik het drama van emotie spiritueel te overstijgen, verder terug of vooruit te reiken, richting de patronen verborgen in ons diepere bewustzijn (de microkosmos), in de ruimte (de macrokosmos) en in de natuur (de mesokosmos). Door middel van elektro-akoestisch geluidsontwerp en co-creatieve samenwerkingen met avant-garde instrumentalisten, wil ik nieuw licht werpen op de spirituele (minimalistische) essentie van muziekculturen – en onderzoeken hoe we de dissonanties van onze hectische (digitale) cultuur daarin kunnen versmelten. Non-lineare en non-hiearchische componenten spelen daarin altijd een rol, door middel van improvisatie en composities die evolueren door de input van muzikanten. Het resultaat is vaak meer mystiek dan abstract; op de grens tussen rustgevend en unheimich.” (Foto: Anastasija Pirozenko)
Johan Naus (1987) began his studies in Maastricht with Leo van Tol and continued with Hans Colbers and Arno Piters at the Conservatorium in Amsterdam, where he completed his Master studies Cum Laude.
During his studies, at the age of 22, Johan became solo clarinetist of the Limburgs Symphonie Orkest in Maastricht, nowadays known as Philharmonie Zuidnederland. Since 2016 Johan has been associated with the Orkest van het Oosten in Enschede in the same position.
As a soloist he has performed with the Limburgs Symphonie Orkest, Philharmonie Zuidnederland , Orkest van het Oosten and the Nieuw Nijmeegs Kamerorkest.
As a guest Johan plays in various orchestras, including the Netherlands Philharmonisch Orkest, the Radio Philharmonisch Orkest, Residentie Orkest and the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra. With the latter orchestra he toured Europe and played at the Lucerne Festival and Musikfest Berlin, among other events.
Anne Davids (flute) began her musical career at the Music Academy of the German Community in the class of Freddy Kruft. She continued her studies at the Royal Conservatory of Brussels (with G. Noack and F. Hendrickx) and obtained there her Master degree. At the Institut de Musique et de Pédagogie in Namur she obtained her pedagogical diploma. As a professional flutist, she has a great liking for chamber music and contemporary music in particular. During the two-year postgraduate contemporary music course at the Ghent Conservatory, organized by the Ghent Spectra and Brussels Ictus ensembles, she founded “Mangalam!”, a trio with clarinet and piano. With her pianist Charlotte Otte she became laureate of the chamber music competition De Link-Tilburg 2011. She is also a member of flute ensemble 'A Travers' and wind quintet 'Schabarum'. As a flute teacher Anne teaches at the Music Academy of Sankt Vith as well as at the summer school 'Musica Viva' and the Fédération Musicale de Liège.
Wouter Bergenhuizen was born in 1988 in Maastricht. At the age of four he received his first piano lessons from Gert-Jan Vermeulen. Later, when he was seven years old, he started playing the clarinet (which he was taught by his mother) and at the age of ten he also began taking violin lessons, first from Roland van Mil and later from Theodora Geraets. When Wouter was twelve he was admitted to the young talent training program of the Maastricht Conservatory of Music for all three instruments. At the age of sixteen Wouter finally decided to choose the piano as his main instrument, and he continued his musical studies with Marjès Benoist at the Conservatory of Amsterdam. In the year 2008-2009, Wouter studied as an Erasmus student at the Franz Liszt Academy in Budapest where he was taught by Gábor Eckhardt for a year. During this year he also took many inspiring private lessons with Ferenc Rados. Back in the Netherlands Wouter continued his studies with Jan Wijn, again at the Conservatory of Amsterdam, where he received his Master degree in 2012. Since September 2011 Wouter is active as a piano teacher at the Conservatory of Amsterdam. Recently he made his debut as a soloist with the Philharmonie Zuid Nederland with the piano concerto 'Totentanz' by Franz Liszt. Wouter is involved with Ensemble88 since 2013.
Els Crommen (born in Tongeren, Belgium) studied at the Royal Conservatory of Liège with Edith Cuypers, Raymonde Serverius, Greta De Reyghere and José Van Dam, among others. There she obtained diplomas in opera singing, Lied art, solfège and chamber music. She took master classes with Noël Barker, Mikael Eliassen and others. Further internships followed, among others at the Fondation Royaumont (France) and the European Centre for Opera and Vocal Arts (ECOV). In addition to Ensemble 88, she is active in Oxalys, the Goeyvaerts ensemble and the Quartz ensemble (contemporary music) and Le Rondeau, Capella Henri Du Mont and Canti Soavi (baroque music). She also performs regularly with the Flemish Radio Choir (conducted by Vic Nees and Johan Duyck). As a conductor, Els is active in two choirs: the vocal ensemble Alba Nova and the youth choir Da Capo, both from Malmedy. She is also the founder and leader of the vocal ensemble "Dear Friends", which specializes in close harmony.
Jan van den Boomen (1954, Deurne) rondde in 1982 zijn Maastrichtse Conservatoriumtijd af met het einddiploma uitvoerend musicus slagwerk en met onderscheiding de aantekening kamermuziek. Sindsdien heeft hij zich in diverse formaties met zeer uiteenlopende muzikale stijlen, zich daarbij niet vastpinnend op één bepaald muziekinstrument, bezig gehouden. Voortdurend stelt hij zich sowieso bij elk willekeurig voorwerp de vraag of er ook muziek uit te halen is waarmee hij geleidelijk, gefascineerd door hedendaagse muziek, tevens verworden is tot geluidenzoeker annex geluidenmaker. Ook letterlijk, als hij weer eens een componist over de vloer gekregen heeft om samen op zoek te gaan naar dat ene specifieke geluid om er vervolgens al borend en zagend in zijn werkruimte mee aan de slag te gaan hopende op het juiste resultaat. En dat gaat zo al onverdroten vanaf de oprichting van het ensemble in 1988. Verder is Jan als docent verbonden aan Dé Muziekschool Deurne.
Ensemble88 is a foundation with a three-member board
Ubbo van Piggelen, chair
Paulien Dieteren, secretary
Klaas Damhof, treasurer