New Music Orchestra

Established in 1996, Orkiestra Muzyki Nowej (OMN) is the oldest Polish ensemble specialising in contemporary music performance, with intense activity now spanning over 20 years. Working first under the direction of the ensemble’s founder Aleksander Lasoń, and since 2006 under Artistic Director Szymon Bywalec, the OMN has gradually morphed from a group of enthusiastic students into a professional ensemble able to tackle the most complex scores.

The ensemble continues to hone its skills, preparing performances in cooperation with leading Polish and international composers, such as Helmut Lachenmann, Louis Andriessen, Kaija Saariaho, Per Nørgård, Bent Sørensen and many others, inviting eminent soloists such as Jakob Kullberg, Ashot Sarkissjan, Marco Blaauw, Michelle Marelli and Rafał Zambrzycki-Payne, as well as conductors specialising in new music, including Daniel Kawka, François-Xavier Roth, Jean Deroyer, Christopher Austin, Steven Loy, Ivan Buffa and Wojciech Michniewski.

The OMN has also worked with ensembles such as Court-circuit, Ensemble Orchestral Contemporain, Melos Ethos Ensemble, Quasars Ensemble, and Musikfabrik, as well as with sound engineers from the IRCAM, Experimentalstudio des SWR and Tempo Reale. This has resulted in over 150 premieres at Polish and international festivals, as well as first Polish performances of contemporary masterpieces, including Pierre Boulez’s Répons and Dérive, Helmut Lachenmann’s Mouvement, Fausto Romitelli’s Index of Metals, Beat Furrer’s Still, Rebecca Saunders’s Skin, Per Nørgård’s Momentum, Kaija Saariaho’s Notes on Light, Klaus Huber’s Erinnere dich an Golgatha..., Louis Andriessen’s La Girò, Tristan Murail’s Winterfragments and Le Lac, Bryan Ferneyhough’s La Chute d’Icare, along with many others.

The OMN is a regular guest at major contemporary music festivals, including Warsaw Autumn, Musica Polonica Nova, Krakow Composers’ Music Days, Premieres Festival in Katowice, Nostalgia in Poznań, Warsaw Music Meetings, Katowice Culture Nature, Beijing Modern, Melos Ethos, Klang Festival, Bridges Festival, New Music Marathon, Velvet Curtain in Lviv, Anima Mundi, Hindsgavl Festival, and at many leading music centres such as Oslo, Paris, Mons, Freiburg and Tallinn.

The ensemble has made numerous concert and studio recordings, with the majority published by labels such as Aurora, Decca, DUX, CD Accord, PWM and the ZKP–POLMIC label. These have been well reviewed by critics in leading musical magazines in Italy, France, Denmark, Great Britain and the United States, garnering international accolades such as the P2-Prize (Danish Radio award) in 2012, Pizzicato Supersonic Award (Luxembourg), and nominations for the Fryderyk Awards and International Classical Music Awards (ICMA).

The OMN recordings for Polish Radio have been commended at the International Rostrum of Composers in Paris and Amsterdam. In 2019, five recordings made for PWM Edition were published as part of the largest Polish phonographic undertaking, titled 100 for 100. Musical decades of freedom.

OMN has for many years participated in artistic and educational projects, working with Europe’s leading new music ensembles and institutions (Re:New Music and New:Aud pro-jects). The OMN has also inspired and organised many interdisciplinary events involving dancers, soloists, singers, multimedia and computer technology, presented in atypical venues outside the traditional concert hall setting. Since 2014, the OMN has been running its own concert cycle at the NOSPR orchestra seat in Katowice.

Phot. Bartek Barczyk
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