Ensemble U:

The Ensemble

Ensemble U: is currently the most active and renowned contemporary music ensemble in Estonia. It has gained recognition for its ability to perform even the most demanding works without conductor, openness for bold experimental ideas and sensitivity for sound.

Next to Estonia U: has performed in important international festivals like Time of Music (Viitasaari, Finland), GAIDA (Vilnius, Lithuania), Sounds New (Canterbury, UK), Nordic Music Days (Helsinki, Finland), Nuova Consonanza (Rome, Italy), Third Practice (Richmond, USA),  Biennale di Musica Venezia (Italy), Virtuosi of XXI Century (Recife, Brasil), Dark Music Days (Iceland) etc.

U: performs the masterworks of modern composers as well as experimental compositions. One distinct field for U: is to delve into improvisational works and perform pieces that require the rendering of non-traditional notation. The repertoire includes authors from Estonia and abroad and the ensemble values the opportunity to continuously commission new music to be written for them. Among others, Toivo Tulev, Mari Vihmand, Tatjana Kozlova-Johannes, Märt-Matis Lill, Tauno Aints, Helena Tulve, Ülo Krigul, Andrus Kallastu, Andres Lõo (Estonia), Roméo Monteiro and Gérard Pape (France), Antti Auvinen and Kimmo Kuitunen (Finland), Arash Yazdani (Iran), Benjamin Broening, Brian Christian Scott Miller, Heather Stebbins, Christopher Chandler (USA) and Eugen Birman (Estonia/USA), Fausto Sebastiani (Italy) have composed for U:.

In April 2009 ensemble U: released their first album "U:" consisting of works by Estonian composers dedicated to U: between 2004-2009. The CD’s presentation took place in a ’double reality’ – a virtual concert in the Estonian Virtual Embassy in Second Life, simultaneous with the live presentation, was the first of its kind in Estonia. The second album ’Protuberances’ was released two years later, 2011. Ensemble's third CD, entitled „ALIVE” (2015) holds exclusively selected live recordings from 2012-14.

In the field of musical theatre U: has worked with one of the internationally most renowned conceptual dance choreographers in Estonia - Mart Kangro, on several occasions. Performances ’Play’ (2006), ’Romeo & Juliet’ (2008) and ’Harmony’ (2009) have stemmed from this collaboration.

In recent years U: has gained recognition for its original interactive porject "Audience orchestra". In 2017 U: initiated a project that combines contemporary music, VR (virtual reality) and extraordinary nature of Estonia. By the end of 2018, four composers have written site-specific compositions for chosen places in nature, the sounds of those places and U:. 

In seasons 2013/14 ensemble U: celebrated their tenth anniversary and started their own lecture-and-concert series titled URR – 10 years of resistance. The series is continuing also at the present day, until June 2016 12 concerts on different subjects have taken place. Important themes of the modern music scene were introduced and performed in the concerts of URR. The concerts are realized in co-operation with the Estonian National Broadcast with live transmission in Klassikaraadio.

Find out more visiting the official website: http://uuu.ee/index_en.html

Tarmo Johannes, Flute of Ensemble U: and U:’s artistic director for DYCE

Tarmo Johannes (1976, Tallinn) is an Estonian flutist dedicated primarily to performing contemporary music. He is founder and leader of ensembles U: (flute-clarinet-violin-cello-piano) and Resonabilis (voice-flute-cello-kannel www.resonabilis.com) and has played a number of concerts of solo flute repertoire with great success.  Next to countless concerts in Estonia, he has performed in Finland, Russia, Denmark, Sweden, Germany, United Kingdom, Romania, Spain, Iran, USA. 

Tarmo Johannes studied flute at the Estonian Academy of Music with Jaan Õun, Matti Helin and Neeme Punder. He completed his Post Graduate Course at the Conservatory of Amsterdam with Harrie Starreveld (1999–2001) and got his PhD at the Estonian Academy of Music and Theatre (2001–2005) on Italian contemporary flute music. His doctoral thesis is a research of influence of analysis on the musical performance, based on works of three Italian contemporary composers: Bruno Maderna, Franco Donatoni and Salvatore Sciarrino. He has also studied at the Latvian Academy of Music with Imants Sneibis (1997–1998) and Italian contemporary flute music at Bologna Conservatory with Annamaria Morini (2004).

Tarmo Johannes has written numerous articles on contemporary music for the main Estonian magazine of music “Muusika”.  He has given supplementary courses for music teachers (organised by Estonian Academy of Music and Theatre and Georg Ots Tallinn Music school) and lectured at the Doctoral School of EAMT. Tarmo Johannes teaches flute at Georg Ots Tallinn Music College, Estonia.

In recent years Tarmo Johannes has been actively engaged also with sound synthesis and programming. His interactive piece “Chebychev” was selected for performance in Csound World Conference in Hannover 2011, sound-game “Android drummers” was performed in LAC 2013 (Graz), interactive piece “Pattern-game” performed in Csound Conference in St. Petersburg.

Tarmo Johannes has been an active contributor to the main front-end program of Csound, CsoundQt.

In autumn 2014 Tarmo Johannes started original concert series “Participation concerts” (Tallinn, Estonia) that tries to bring people to making music and led them through active action to active listening. Every concert consists of an interactive sound-game, a lecture about some aspect of sound and some chosen pieces for flute and electronics. See http://tarmo.uuu.ee/osaluskontserdid/index_en.html