The Atlas Ensemble – an initiative of composer Joël Bons – is a unique chamber orchestra uniting eminent musicians from the Far East, Central Asia, the Middle East and Europe. It presents a previously unheard sound world, performing a repertoire consisting of specially commissioned works.
The ensemble brings together instruments from various cultures. While originating from the same ancestor, they have travelled and developed over the course of centuries. By uniting these descendants and combining their timbres, beautiful and previously unheard blends are obtained. The rich and balanced instrumental palette opens up entirely new possibilities for colour and orchestration. A central issue – and one of great potential – is the difference between the oral/improvisational traditions on the one hand and the notational/compositional traditions on the other.
The Atlas Ensemble made its début in 2002 at the Berliner Festspiele. In 2005 artistic director Joël Bons received the prestigious Amsterdam Prize of the Arts for his work with the ensemble. Since 2009 the ensemble has organized the Atlas Lab – a meeting place for composers and musicians from all over the world, dedicated to the creation of new intercultural music through masterclasses, demonstrations, lectures and concerts.
For more information, please visit the Atlas Ensemble's website.