The International Ensemble Modern Academy (IEMA) was founded in Frankfurt am Main in summer 2003. It represents the continuation of that which the Ensemble Modern (EM) has worked to achieve for almost 30 years – the highest quality, the joy of performing, interdisciplinary art projects and internationality. Since its founding the EM has been committed to working closely with artists and their works. By gaining extensive and highly diverse knowledge of 20th century music, the EM has become the »memory of modern music«.
The IEMA is committed to the same spirit. It is a dynamic place where young artists have the opportunity to learn, communicate, discuss, experiment, and share in this memory in a variety of ways. The IEMA offers diverse training programmes, study grants, master courses, continued education programmes for teachers, and symposiums, all of which aim to foster the artistic discourse between highly qualified, young artists and renowned individuals from the fields of culture and research.
Since its founding, the IEMA has awarded study grants to young instrumentalists, conductors, composers, and sound directors who receive personal tutoring for one year by members of the Ensemble Modern in contemporary solo composition and chamber music. The courses place particular emphasis on mastering performance techniques and interpreting New Music. This grant programme was initiated in cooperation with the Kunststiftung NRW, and had been, until recently, only open to students from North Rhein-Westphalia. Thanks to funding from the German Federal Cultural Foundation, the IEMA has been able to offer study grants to students nationwide since 2004, doubling the number of grant recipients. Furthermore, the grant period was lengthened from six months to one year. The IEMA study grants have now been awarded six times, from 2006 onwards worldwide as a International Ensemble Modern Academy - Masters Degree Programme at the Frankfurt University of Music and the Performing Arts. Beside the members of Ensemble Modern the Academy invites guests to work with the young artists; composers and conductors like Heinz Holliger, Wolfgang Rihm, Helmut Lachenmann, Peter Eötvös, Heiner Goebbels and Stefan Asbury work regularly with the students.
In 2004, the International Composition Seminar was held in cooperation with the Allianz Kulturstiftung for the first time, directed by Helmut Lachenmann and Franck Ollu. In 2005 the seminar featured George Benjamin as the lecturer (in composition and conducting), and the Paris-based IRCAM agreed to cooperate in the project. The final concerts were held in Frankfurt and Paris in December 2005. In 2006/07 Hanspeter Kyburz and Stefan Asbury were the lecturers, in 2008/09 Johannes Kalitzke joined the seminar.
The master courses of 2005 were held in Japan and Korea, and, for the second time in a row, at the Paxos Spring Festival in Greece and the Festival Klangspuren in Schwaz, Austria. Both masterclasses, Paxos and Schwaz were held in 2006, 2007, 2008 and will also be continued this year. In 2008 a master course took place in Tokyo again – this engagement will continue in spring 2010.