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Founded in 1976 by Pierre Boulez with support from the French Minister of Culture at the time, Michel Guy, the Ensemble intercontemporain consists of 31 soloists who are dedicated exclusively to music of the 20th and 21st centuries. As part of this mission, they work in close collaboration with composers to explore new instrumental techniques and additionally realize cross-disciplinary and cross-genre projects, such as those in cooperation with IRCAM in Paris. Following Boulez, who was the director until 1978, Peter Eötvös headed the ensemble for twelve years; he was succeeded by David Robertson (1992–99), Jonathan Nott (2000–05), and Susanna Mälkki (2006–13). Since September 2013 the composer Matthias Pintscher has served as Music Director. Every year the Ensemble intercontemporain commissions new works, gives world premieres, and is moreover active in the area of youth work and continuing education – through children’s concerts; workshops for students; and courses for instrumentalists, conductors, and composers. It is also involved with projects aimed at introducing a wide audience to contemporary music. The Ensemble, which performs throughout France and at the leading international festivals and concert series for contemporary music, makes its home in the new Philharmonie de Paris. Since 2003 its members have taught at the LUCERNE FESTIVAL ACADEMY. The Ensemble intercontemporain is supported financially by the French Ministère de la Culture et de la Communication and by the City of Paris.
LUCERNE FESTIVAL (IMF) debut on 2 September 1985 with Pierre Boulez in works by Holliger and Boulez.