About the ensemble
Talking about rising stars in the international chamber music scene, one should definitely include Spark, the Classical Band. This adventurous fivesome has quickly risen from a surprisingly fresh indie chamber music ensemble to one of Germany’s most promising classica I music exports. No matter where they play, these five young musical pioneers have the audience and the critics at their feet. They are unstoppable, uncompromising, irresistibly charming and ultimately passionate. Together they spark.
Combining a healthy taste for provocation with an irrepressible joy in making music, Spark has conquered some of Europe’s and Asla’s most renowned stages and festivals such as Wiener Konzerthaus, Konzerthaus Berlin, Gran Teatre del Liceu Barcelona, National Concert Hall Taipei, Schieswig-Hoistein Musik Festival and Beethovenfest Bonn.
Downtown Illusions, Spark’s debut album with ARS Produktion, was released in September 2010. The CD garnered rave reviews and incredible media attention from around the globe. Audiophile Audition reported, “It certainly puts a radical new face on chamber music and classical in general.” American Record Guide praised the group’s ability to run the gamut of style: “They embrace all sorts of music heroically and unapologetically.” MusikWoche called the album “one of the year’s biggest surprises.” Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung hailed Spark’s music as “chamber music on the highest artistic level and right at the cutting edge.”
Downtown Illusions reached no.1 on Germany’s Amazon SACD Charts and has been topping the Notel Crossover Charts for over half a year. Finally, in summer 2011, Spark has been awarded the prestigious ECHO Klassik in the category “classics without borders” for the album.
Spark brings chamber music back into focus for the broader public. Their sounds attract audiences from all walks of life, regardless of age or Iistening habits, whether they prefer Early Music or MTV. Devoted to their classica I roots and, vet, with a constant eye on innovation, they transgress traditional categorizations. Their repertoire ranges from baroque and romantic masterworks all the way to film music and minimalism. Besides their own arrangements and compositions, Spark performs works by an international cast of renowned composers such as Lev “Ljova” Zhurbin, Daniel Kellogg, Michael Nyman, Kamran Ince, Fazil Say, Chiel Meijering, Johannes Motschmann and Jonne Valtonen.
The group presents its wild and eclectic repertoire in venturous sets, comparable to acts in a theater play. Their revolutionary concept stimulates a completely new dramatic composition for classical concerts and paves the way for a radical reconception of classical music. Bach is combined with avant-garde, the last movement of a Vivaldi Concerto is replaced by a hard-grooving minimal piece from the Netherlands and Fauré is surrounded by world music. Old meets new. The familiar meets the unfamiliar. The boundaries between c1assical and pop music melt away. Traditionallistening habits are picked up only to be dismissed with the wink of an eye. This way of redefining the classical genre has met with the approval of the young and the young at heart.
Surprisingly, the group’s victory was led by one of the scene’s most controversial instruments, the recorder. Daniel Koschitzki and Andrea Ritter, Spark’s founders, both play the recorder. They are regarded as two of the world’s leading virtuosi on their instrument. Both have achieved international acclaim winning Prizes at International Recorder Competitions in London and Montreal. Koschitzki and Ritter were also members of the world-famous Amsterdam Loeki Stardust Quartet for several years. In 2007, as they were dreaming of a completely new musical environment for their instrument, they created a unique ensemble constellation: recorders of all shapes and sizes, combined with two strings and piano. They teamed up with violinist Stefan Glaus, cellist Victor Plumettaz and pianist Mischa Cheung, each an unparalleled master of their instrument. Finally, the Spark vision was brought to life.
Spark introduces about thirty different types of recorders to the listener – from the tiny and fragile sopranino to the square-shaped double bass, which looks like a bulky organ pipe. Blending the exotic flavor of all these various flutes with the classical piano trio setting, the ensemble explores the most exciting and unfamiliar soundscapes and provides the perfect crosslink between trends and traditions. People all over the world are fascinated by this modern and hip approach to classical music and love the message behind a Spark concert: Great music knows no genre and no boundaries.