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".
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 (born in 1954 in Deurne) completed his studies at the Maastricht Academy of Music in 1982, graduating with a diploma in percussion and the chamber music endorsement. Since then he has been working in various formations with very different musical styles, not pinning himself down to one particular instrument. He constantly asks himself with every random object if there is music to be extracted from it. Thus, fascinated by contemporary music, he gradually also has become a sound seeker and sound maker. Even literally so, when he once again has a composer over to look for just that specific sound or instrument he has in mind, in order to subsequently drill and saw it in his workspace, hoping for the right result. And this has been going on ever since the ensemble was founded in 1988. Jan is also a teacher at The Deurne Music School.
Ensemble88 is a foundation with a three-member board
Ubbo van Piggelen, chair
Paulien Dieteren, secretary
Klaas Damhof, treasurer