Ensemble Musikfabrik

Since its foundation in 1990, Ensemble Musikfabrik (Landesensemble NRW) has had the reputation of being one of the leading ensembles for contemporary music. In keeping with the literal meaning of its name, Ensemble Musikfabrik is particularly concerned with commissioning and producing new works, often in close collaboration with composers. The results of their extensive endeavors, are performed by the international Cologne-based soloist ensemble in numerous concerts in Germany and abroad, at festivals, in the self-organized concert series “Musikfabrik im WDR” and “Montagskonzerte” (often with live broadcasts), and in audio and video productions. WERGO released the CD series “Edition Musikfabrik” with cover art by Gerhard Richter, who chose the paintings for the CDs himself. In 2014, the in-house Label Musikfabrik was founded.

Exploring forms of modern communication and new possibilities for expression in music and theatre are a focal point. Interdisciplinary projects that include live electronics, dance, theatre, live video, and visual art expand the conventional form of the conducted ensemble concert. Thanks to its extraordinary profile and its superb artistic quality, the Ensemble Musikfabrik is sought after world wide and is a trusted partner of renowned composers and conductors.

Since 2013, the ensemble owns a completely reconstructed set of Harry Partch’s instruments. Under the title PITCH 43_TUNING THE COSMOS, many compositions have been written especially for or with these instruments. In addition, the brass players’ instruments, equipped with double bells, are another outstanding feature of the ensemble’s eagerness to experiment.

Ensemble Musikfabrik has set itself the task of promoting the younger generation of performers and composers. Central initiatives are “Studio Musikfabrik” (Youth Ensemble for New Music of the Landesmusikrat NRW) and “Adventure”, which since 2019 has been developing projects by composition students of the Cologne University of Music and Dance and presenting them in four annual concert phases. The ensemble bundles these and other educational activities under the title “Akademie Musikfabrik”.

Ensemble Musikfabrik is supported by the state of North Rhine-Westphalia and the City of Cologne, the series “Musikfabrik im WDR” is sponsored by the Kunststiftung NRW. Ensemble Musikfabrik is registered as a not-for-profit organization under German law (“eingetragener Verein”), all major artistic and business decisions are made by the members.

As of 2018, Thomas Fichter is the Executive Director (in German: Intendant).

Artistic committee

Dirk Rothbrust
Maxime Morel
Dirk Wietheger


Prof. Dr. Norbert Lammert | Former President of the Parliament of the Federal Republic of Germany


Christine M. Merkel | President of Board of Trustees, International Cultural Consultant, Member of UNESCO-EU Expertise Pool
Dr. Hildegard Kaluza | Head of cultural Department of Ministry of Culture and Science of North Rhine-Westphalia
Louwrens Langevoort | Director of Kölner Philharmonie
Stefan Charles | Head of cultural Department of Cologne
Isabel Pfeiffer-Poensgen | Former Minister for Culture and Science of the State of North Rhine-Westphalia
Prof. Dr. h.c. Gerhard Richter | Artist

Foto: © Janet Sinica