Sonar Quartett

Sonar is Spanish for "to sound". But Sonar also describes a procedure for measuring distance under water. Sound pulses are sent into an unknown space. The echo that comes back provides new insights into the characteristics of proximity and distance. The Sonar Quartett, founded in 2006, unites and determines these seemingly unrelated meanings of the term: sensuous music combines with discovering as yet unexplored areas. For the four young musicians, this area is the most current contemporary music.

The Sonar Quartett does not shy away from risk in this respect and now occupies a firm position in the world of New Music. Alongside performances at the Ultraschall and MaerzMusik festivals in Berlin, Deutschlandfunk's Forum Neuer Musik, the Hessian Broadcasting Corporation's Young China Festival and Siemens Arts Program, among others, the quartet is increasingly being invited to perform on international stages, which include appearances at London Ears, Gaudeamus Utrecht, Présences Paris, Ostrava Days, Tage für Neue Musik Zurich and the Pan Music Festival Seoul. However its native Berlin remains the hub of the Sonar Quartett's creative output. Here the four musicians consider themselves to be an integral part of an organism. The capital city's music scene, which contains just as much undiscovered as established creative potential, is enlivened by their commissions and leads them on exciting journeys in the process. They frequently leave the comfort of the traditional concert form and collaborate as performers and improvisers with artists from both the classical and popular music scenes without reservations. They blur the line between concert and performance, whether playing in concert halls, clubs, galleries, abandoned factories or misused swimming pools.

Playing music that has never been heard before, unprejudiced and beyond all commercialisation - it is with this in mind that the Sonar Quartett allows audiences of its concert series "Berlin im Quadrat" (Berlin Squared) to hear the "sound of possibility" and to actively contribute to the formation of the repertoire of the future. And the quartet often stumbles across unusual new works within the Berlin composer scene, which find a wider audience through the Sonar repertoire.

Promoting the unfamiliar also means creating new contexts. During their "Sonar Sessions, the quartet spontaneously organises informal house concerts which, on a small scale, offer an insight into how the musicians go about learning new works and give the public the opportunity to talk to the quartet and composers. The players juxtapose the latest compositions with works from the modern, post-war-avant-garde, post-modern and classical repertoire in dramatically compelling programmes. They enjoy turning much-loved repertoire on its head, including the "sandwich principle" (a new work between two earlier pieces), which has become widely accepted in middle-class concert venues. Through these contemporary compositions they also establish access to key works of the recent and more distant past.

With an awareness of their role in contemporary music life and their close collaboration with composers, the inquisitive musicians leave strong impressions with audiences and promoters alike: "Their playing combines accuracy, charged energy, expressive sound and the most careful of distinctions to create breath-taking music-making," writes Gisela Nauck in the magazine Positionen. Frank Kämpfer (Deutschlandfunk) talks of a "playfulness, emotion and passion for experimentation that is seldom seen on avant-garde stages”, bearing witness to the fact that the foursome's modest spirit of discovery is, above all, great fun. It is the Sonar Quartett's hope that this sense of enjoyment is transferred to the audience since it sees the audience as just as integral a part of the aforementioned organism as itself.

A Sonar Quartett concert always holds the potential for surprise and discussion. And it is precisely because ofits willingness to take risks that the Sonar Quartett has earned itself an ever-growing collection of loyal followers over the years, who passionately share and experience the "dangers" of exploring the musical "terra incognita".