Already with dozens of new works, created in close collaboration with some of the most innovative composers of our time, Ensemble Schwerpunkt's goal is to expand upon the conventional tonal and instrumental possibilities of the brass repertoire.
Founded in 2009 while studying at the HMTM Hannover, the ensemble quickly established itself by winning the first prize at the Felix Mendelssohn-Bartholdy Competition in Berlin in 2012 and the International Jan Koetsier Competition in Munich in 2013. They then went on to complete a specialised contemporary chamber music Master’s Degree in Basel.
In its early years, the ensembles’ programmes strived to promote existing works from recent decades, while also starting to commission new pieces. This synthesis culminated in their first CD, “Schwerpunkt,” released in 2019, with seldom-before recorded pieces from Benedict Mason, Pascal Dusapin, and Sofia Gubaidulina, as well as new works from Vassos Nicolaou and Jarkko Hartikainen.
Numerous collaborations with composers have led to projects with Vito Žuraj, Bernhard Gander, Richard Ayres, Benedict Mason, Vassos Nicolaou, Zaneta Radzewka, Johannes X. Schachtner, Mike Svoboda, and countless others. They have also commissioned and premiered works from most of the aforementioned composers. Their second CD, featuring brass works by Iannis Xenakis and in conjunction with WDR and Bastille Musique, was released in March 2023 and quickly was awarded with the "Preis der deutschen Schallplattenkritik".
Their performances and recordings have been broadcast on nearly all major German radio networks and they have been featured in such festivals across Europe as SWR’s Jetztmusik, die Wittener Tage für neue Kammermusik, Tage der Neuen Musik Bamberg, the Transart Festival, Musik der Zeit, Die Niedersächsische Musiktage, Musik21 Festival, Klangbrücken Festival, Time of Music (Musiikin aika), Ars Nova, aDevantgarde, Unerhörte Musik, and the German Radio’s (DLF) Forum Neue Musik, among others.
Matthew Brown, Raised in Trumbull, Connecticut, Matthew attended the Manhattan School of Music Pre-College in New York City every Saturday. While attending Mcgill University, in Montreal, Canada, he was an American Brass Quintet Fellow at the Aspen Music Festival and was invited multiple times to the Lucerne Festival Academy along with the International Ensemble Modern Akademie. After studying at the HfM Hanns Eisler in Berlin, he continued his studies at the HMTM Hannover and the HfM Robert Schumann in Düsseldorf. His primary teachers include Jim Pandolfi, Ed Carroll, Bill Forman, Jeroen Berwaerts, and Jan Kagarice.
Following contracts in many orchestras around Germany, in 2014, he was appointed Principal Trumpet of the Nürnberger Symphoniker. He has also performed as principal trumpet of the Bavarian Radio Orchestra, Orchestra dell'Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia, Münchener Kammerorchester, Norwegian Opera Orchestra, and the Hamburger Philharmoniker and was invited to play Mahler’s Fifth Symphony with the Wuhan Philharmonic... prior to the fall of 2019. During the Covid lockdowns, together with other musicians from his orchestra, he helped produce music videos filmed in museums and other locations around Nürnberg that were otherwise closed to the public, culminating in a video of Copland’s “Quiet City,” with scenes of a city in lockdown. He is also a passionate cook and an avid ice hockey player.
Norwegian born Cecilie Marie Schwagers is an extremely versatile french horn player, with a passion for operatic and orchestral repertoire, in addition to her engagement as a chamber and contemporary musician. Her initial musical education began as a pre-college student, followed by a Bachelor’s Degree at the Barratt Due Musikinstitut in her hometown of Oslo. At the age of 21, she transferred to the HMTM in Hannover, Germany, to study with Markus Maskuniitty. During her studies, she gained experience as a member of the Ferenc-Fricsay-Orchestral-Academy of the German Radio Orchestra (DSO) in Berlin.
Directly after receiving her degree, she was appointed principal horn of the Niederrheinische Symphoniker, the orchestra of the cities Mönchengladbach and Krefeld. She sought further tutelage under Paul Van Zelm, in Cologne, continuing to develop and seek further input, in addition to the Master’s Degree in Contemporary Music that Ensemble Schwerpunkt completed in Basel.
“Shined as Solist”, is how the Süddeutsche Zeitung describes the Basel based Tubist Janne Matias Jakobsson.
His passion for contemporary music has brought him to perform and record with world renowned ensembles such as Klangforum Wien, Ensemble Musikfabrik, Ensemble Modern and Collegium Novum Zürich. As a soloist, he has played at many important festivals for new music, such as Wien Modern (AT), Transart (IT), Time of Music (FI), aDevantgarde (DE), and Zeiträume Basel (CH) to name a few.
In addition to performing as a soloist and chamber musician, Janne is also active in the symphonic realm, with orchestras such as Kammerorchester Basel, Sinfonia Lahti, and the Philharmonisches Orchester der Hansestadt Lübeck. His work has been recorded by broadcasting stations Deutschlandfunk, SWR, BR, and NDR, as well as CDs released on such labels as NEOS, bastille musique, col legno, and Genuin.
Janne has been the recipient of numerous grants over the years. In 2016 he was given a prestigious one year Artist Grant from the Swedish Cultural Foundation in Finland in order to explore the outer limits of his instrument. Janne studied at the Hochschule für Musik und Theater Hannover, and the Musik Akademie Basel. His teachers and most important musical influences have been Jens Bjørn-Larsen, Roger Bobo, Michael Lind, as well as trombonist and composer, Mike Svoboda.
Since 2017 is Janne Matias Jakobsson a member of Ensemble Phoenix Basel.
Mikael Rudolfsson (born 1987 in Stockholm) has quickly established himself as one of the most exciting young soloists of the contemporary music scene.
His passion for the music of our day has led to numerous performances at the most established festivals worldwide, like Donaueschingen, Huddersfield, Wien Modern, cresc…Frankfurt am Main and Festival Internacional Cervantino Guanajuato to name a few.
As a soloist Mikael Rudolfsson presents a demanding and varied repertoire ranging from Leopold Mozart via Karlheinz Stockhausen and John Cage to the composers of tomorrow; Vito Žuraj, Benjamin de Murashkin, Daniel Schnyder or Tobias Broström. He has appeared as a soloist with orchestras and ensembles like Ensemble Modern, Gävle Symphony Orchestra and the Far East Philharmonic.
In his own constellations and ensembles he finds opportunities to showcase all sides of the contemporary trombone - its singing quality as well as its electrifying sounds: with Trio HDR on highlighting Scandinavian composers and virtuosic transcriptions, with Orchester im Treppenhaus on presenting classical music in a new way, mixing acoustic techno beats with creative concert concepts.
Recordings and productions for the broadcasting companies Deutschlandfunk, BR, HR, SWR, NDR, SRF, NEOS, Wergo and GENUIN serve as proof of his musical work and flexibility.
Matthew Sadler was born in London in 1981. He received a First Class Degree in History from University College London in 2003, studied the trumpet in Vienna and Munich on a DAAD Scholarship, before completing his education at the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra’s Karajan Akademie. He is a member of the Mahler Chamber Orchestra and for the past decade has performed in the LUCERNE FESTIVAL ORCHESTRA.
In addition to his work with Schwerpunkt and the MCO, Matthew is a founding member of the baroque ensemble Concerto München and his primary focus is to provide artistic stimulus within the context of these diverse constellations. He collaborates extensively with Teodor Currentzis and will perform in George Benjamin’s new chamber opera in Aix en Provence later this season.
Matthew studied with Hannes Läubin and Jeroen Berwaerts; his other formative influences include Marco Blaauw and Christopher Dicken. His discography ranges from Rameau (Sony), Bach (J.S. Bach Stiftung), Strauss (Decca), Rachmaninov (Accentus), Bruckner (DG) through to Xenakis (WDR / Bastille Musique), a multiplicity of collaborations with living composers (NEOS) and forays into immersive recording technologies (Schallgeber).