Explore Ensemble

© Dimitri Djuric

Described as one of the UK’s ‘top new music bands’, Explore Ensemble is a London-based chamber music group which performs, commissions, and promotes new music. Built around a core sextet which often works with electronics, Explore Ensemble‘s reputation for outstanding performances and inventive curation stems from its advocacy of some of the most original composers of today, combined with its revival of musical gems from the recent past.




Joanna Bailie

The United Kingdom […] is not such an easy place to run a contemporary music ensemble — it’s a question of scraping money together from many different sources, or forgoing it altogether, just in order to make an event happen. It is a testament to Explore Ensemble’s tenacity and ambition that they manage to regularly perform and commission new work in such a climate. They also succeed in bridging the gap between the UK and mainland Europe, forging new networks and programming in an adventurous way that highlights the considerable musical skills of their players.

I love being part of Explore Ensemble. Because we’re a chamber group, there’s always that excitement and risk, and the sheer enjoyment of making music with my friends, all brilliant musicians in their own right. After the year we’ve had, It’s a privilege to perform our unique, exciting and sensuous repertoire live: music like this lives and dies on the stage. I feel incredibly grateful to the Ernst von Siemens Music Foundation for giving this opportunity to create a sustainable future for our band, allowing us to grow and establish ourselves as a vibrant force in contemporary music.

Alex Roberts, clarinet

Nicholas Moroz

It’s a great privilege to receive this support and recognition from the Ernst von Siemens Music Foundation in 2021, particularly against the backdrop of our recent experiences in the pandemic. As for many others, we emerge from the lockdowns and uncertainty with a renewed sense of perspective, purpose, and a drive to explore what really matters in life and in our work. It’s an honour indeed that we now have this possibility, thanks to this award, to invest in our own sustainable development, which will ensure that Explore Ensemble's hunger for discovery, creation, and sharing with others remains at the core of who we are.

Since its founding in 2012 at the Royal College of Music by composers Nicholas Moroz and Arne Gieshoff, Explore Ensemble has often featured on BBC Radio 3‘s New Music Show and at festivals and venues such as hcmf//, Kings Place in London, Kammer Klang / Cafe OTO, Cambridge Music Festival, City University of London, the Greenwich Loudspeaker Orchestra Series, the Royal Northern College of Music, the University of Leeds, and the University of Oxford / EXPO Oxford. More recently Explore made its Belgian and Dutch debuts at the TRANSIT Festival in Leuven and November Music festival in ‚s-Hertogenbosch with programmes featuring guest soprano Juliet Fraser and composers Mauro Lanza and Andrea Valle.

‟One of the UK’s top new music bands”

Kate Molleson, BBC Radio 3, New Music Show - November 2020

Recently commissioned composers include Patricia Alessandrini, Joanna Bailie, John Croft, Edwin Hillier, Lisa Illean, Oliver Leith, Neil Luck Nicoline Soeter, and Scott McLaughlin. Other featured composers include Natasha Barrett, Lawrence Dunn, Michael Finnissy, Morton Feldman, Gérard Grisey, Luigi Nono, Enno Poppe, Kaija Saariaho, Fausto Romitelli, Rebecca Saunders, Salvatore Sciarrino, and many others.

On special occasions Explore Ensemble expands to perform larger works. For example, the ensemble gave the UK premiere of Sciarrino‘s song cycle Carnaval with the EXAUDI Vocal Ensemble at hcmf// in 2018, and the first London performance of Romitelli‘s complete Professor Bad Trip cycle at the RCM in 2014.

Lisa Illean

So many student ensembles form in London with big dreams and high ambitions, but real life quickly takes over and the groups suffer or stop completely. To be honest, I wondered if this would happen to Explore Ensemble but it’s astonishing how far we have come since our conservatoire days. I can’t imagine what we will achieve with the help of the Ensemble Prize!

Deni Teo, Cellistin

The ensemble also regularly works with guest soloists, including soprano Juliet Fraser, with whom the ensemble gave the UK premiere of Rebecca Saunders’ ‚O Yes & I‘; clarinetist Benjamin Mellefont, who gave the UK premiere of Kaija Sarriaho’s work Figura, and mezzo-soprano Lotte Betts-Dean, who for the UK premiere of Catherine Lamb‘s ‚Parallaxis Forma‘.

May 2021 saw Explore Ensemble’s debut CD releases with two portrait albums of Oliver Leith and James Weeks’ music on the Another Timbre label. Autumn 2021 will see several festival debuts for the ensemble as part of its European tour to Belgium, the Netherlands, and the UK. Explore Ensemble‘s work has been supported by organisations including Arts Council England, PRS Foundation, Diaphonique, the Hinrichsen Foundation, the RVW Trust, and Acción Cultural Española.

“…beautifully played, with the musicians sounding as if they got under the skins of the pieces.”

John Eyles for All That Jazz

Explore Ensemble have always presented the best face of music – seriousness, curiosity and friendliness. They have been the laboratory and executors of so many composers‘ ideas and have been at my side since day one – a very formative presence for me. They occupy a singular space here in the music scene – aesthetically jelly but always with integrity – no fads in the time of fads. I love to work with them as much as I like to listen to them.

Oliver Leith, composer

In wet and windy Huddersfield after Explore‘s first concert at hcmf

zum Seitenanfang