Founded by Pierre Boulez in 1976 with the assistance of Michel Guy (the current Secretary of State for Culture) and the collaboration of Nicholas Snowman, the ensemble’s 31 soloists share a passion for 20th and 21st century music. They are employed on permanent contract, enabling them to fulfill the major aims of the Ensemble: performance, creation and education for young performers and the general public. Under the artistic direction of Matthias Pintscher since 2013 (Susanna Mälkki 2006-2013), the performers work in close collaboration with composers, exploring instrumental techniques and developing projects that interweave music, dance, theater, film, video and visual arts.
Every year, the Ensemble commissions and performs 20 new works, adding to its repertoire. In collaboration with IRCAM, the Ensemble intercontemporain is also active in the field of synthetic sound generation. The Ensemble offeris musical performances for youngsters, training programs for young musicians, testifying to a real committment to and an international reputation for music education. Since 2004, the soloists of the Ensemble intercontemporain have been tutors at the Lucerne Festival Academy, an annual summer school for young musicians, conductors, and composers from the four corners of the globe that lasts several weeks. Based at the Cité de la musique in Paris since 1995, the Ensemble intercontemporain performs in France and abroad, taking part in major festivals worldwide. Supported by the French Ministry of Culture and Communication, the Ensemble intercontemporain also receives support from the City of Paris. The Ensemble intercontemporain was recognized as the “European Cultural Ambassador” in 2012 by the European Commission.