Xerrox Vol. 4

Ensemble Modern + Alva Noto

Premiere of Alva Noto's "Xerrox Vol. 4" in the Ensemble Modern version as videostream

Musik online

Carsten Nicolai aka Alva Noto, one of the best known minds in the electronic music scene since the 1990s, composed the fourth part of his “Xerrox” series in 2020. Now the Ensemble Modern, together with Alva Noto as soloist, is realizing an instrumental version of “Xerrox Vol. 4” arranged especially for the ensemble as a commissioned work for the Frankfurt Positionen 2021. The multimedia work, which combines music with video and light installations, will be developed at the Frankfurt LAB in early April 2021. Due to the extended event ban, Ensemble Modern will stream the concert recording online as a world premiere on April 17 and 25, 2021 (both at 8:30 p.m.) as part of the Frankfurter Positionen and “TONLAGEN – Dresdner Tage der zeitgenössischen Musik.”

Based on the concept of digital replication of source material, the “Xerrox” project deals with the manipulation of data (melodies) by means of endless reproduction. A production process of copies from copies, in other words, whose sounds are altered in such a way that they can hardly be associated with the source material. This creates a sound spectrum of completely new sounds: copies of originals become originals themselves. In 2020, after “Xerrox Vol. 1” (2007), “Vol. 2” (2009) and “Vol. 3” (2015), Carsten Nicolai continued his “Xerrox” journey with “Xerrox Vol. 4”. The idea of an edited version with instrumental line-up already exists since the release of the first volume. After the great success with the work “utp_” (2007) Carsten Nicolai continues the collaboration with the Ensemble Modern in collaboration with Max Knoth.

Note on ticket purchase:
Tickets for the streams can be purchased on Reservix via a solidarity pricing system (10, 20 or 30 euros). Ticket sales close 1 hour before the start of each digital performance. Later retrieval of the streams as video-on-demand is also possible up to 48 hours after the original start of the event.

Interview with Carsten Nicolai by Stefan Schickhaus

Carsten Nicolai

Carsten Nicolai, born 1965 in Karl-Marx-Stadt (today Chemnitz), is a visual artist, composer and musician who lives and works in Berlin and Chemnitz.

In his work he seeks to overcome a separation of art forms and genres for an integrated artistic approach. Influenced by scientific reference systems, Nicolai often engages mathematic and cybernetic patterns such as grids and codes, as well as error, random and self-organising structures. Nicolai received numerous prizes and stipends, such as Giga-Hertz-Award, Karlsruhe (2012), Villa Massimo, Rome (2007), Zurich Prize, Basle (2007), Villa Aurora, Los Angeles (2003), Golden Nica, Ars Electronica, Linz (2000 And 2001), F6-Philip Morris Graphik-Preis, Dresden (2000). His works have been shown at national and international major exhibitions in prestigious galleries and museums.

As well his works have been acquired by prominent private and public collections worldwide. For several years now Nicolai has released albums under the pseudonyms noto and alva noto which he has presented at live shows in national and international concert halls, clubs and museums. He has cooperated with renowned composers and musician including Ryuichi Sakamoto, Blixa Bargeld, Ryoji Ikeda, Michael Nyman, Mika Vainio, Olaf Bender + Frank Bretschneider (signal), as well as with diverse orchestras for modern music, such as Ensemble Modern, BCN 216 and zeitkratzer.


Ensemble Modern

Since its foundation in 1980, the Ensemble Modern (EM) has been one of the leading ensembles for new music. It brings together some 20 soloists from Belgium, Bulgaria, Germany, Greece, India, Israel, Japan, the USA and Switzerland, whose origins form the cultural background of the formation. Based in Frankfurt am Main, the ensemble is known for its unique way of working and grassroots organization. Artistic projects, partnerships and financial matters are decided and supported jointly. Its distinctive programmatic range includes music theater, dance and video projects, chamber music, ensemble and orchestra concerts. Tours and guest performances take the Ensemble Modern to renowned festivals and outstanding venues around the world.

In close collaboration with the composers, the Ensemble Modern creates an average of 70 new works each year, including around 20 world premieres, with the aim of achieving the greatest possible authenticity. Over the years, this has resulted in extraordinary and often long-standing collaborations with, among others, John Adams, Mark Andre, George Benjamin, Peter Eötvös, Brian Ferneyhough, Heiner Goebbels, Hans Werner Henze, Mauricio Kagel, György Kurtág, Helmut Lachenmann, György Ligeti, Olga Neuwirth, Enno Poppe, Rebecca Saunders, Simon Steen-Andersen, Karlheinz Stockhausen, Steve Reich, Frank Zappa or Vito Žuraj as well as with outstanding artistic personalities from other artistic fields.

In addition to its diverse activities on the podium, the Ensemble Modern also presents the results of its work on recordings. Almost 50 of the total of over 150 productions have been released on the Ensemble Modern Medien label, which was initiated in 1999. In 2003, the International Ensemble Modern Academy (IEMA) was founded as an educational institution of the Ensemble Modern with the aim of carrying on the musical heritage and promoting new ways of contemporary artistic creation.


Ensemble Modern is supported by the German Federal Cultural Foundation, the City of Frankfurt and, through the Deutsche Ensemble Akademie e.V., by the Hessian Ministry of Science and the Arts. The musicians of the Ensemble Modern would like to thank the Aventis Foundation for funding a seat in their ensemble. hr2-kultur – Cultural Partner of the Ensemble Modern