We use our cast of musicians and dancers to interpret and stage contemporary music as well as classical works from multidisciplinary perspectives and with a focus on movement and physicality.
In the process, we test the exchange of methods, knowledge and understanding of interpretation in the continuous collaboration of the ensemble members.
We are interested in consciously crossing the boundaries of traditional formats, role attributions and artistic genres, uncovering the undreamed-of potential of the concert and reaching a heterogeneous, adventurous audience through diverse points of contact.
uBu formed in Cologne in 2016 on the occasion of a commission from the Zimmermann Society: B.A. Zimmermann's hilarious ballet blanc Présence for piano trio and dance was to be reinterpreted. In this work, the composer has Don Quijotte, Molly Bloom and Roi uBu - the ensemble's namesake - meet, three characters from world literature, each of whom is assigned to the instruments of the trio.
Since 2017, uBu has existed in its current formation. For its interpretation of "Présence", uBu received the Pergamenschikow Prize and performed the work at the Schwetzingen Festival, among others.
"The "Ensemble Ubu" showed that it only takes the right performers to quickly turn the impression of complexity into the opposite (...) In a mixture of Ballet Mécanique and the aesthetics of René Magritte, of Dada and the theatre of the surrealist Alfred Jarry, everyone acted here in a spectacle that was as grotesque as it was poetic"
(Heidelberger Nachrichten, 2018).
In 2018, La Palanca was created on the occasion of the Zimmermann Year, another piece with music by Vladimir Guicheff-Bogacz and choreography by Yves Ytier:
"The dancers sway on a small bench as if under the control of others, get into a crooked position, hang in imaginary ropes, on invisible strings. Is it the musicians who, as puppeteers, dictate the movements with their tones? (...)Who dominates whom? Who counteracts what? A play that, without being explicitly political, has a high potential for dealing with today's society."
(Natalie Godziak, Hoertz24, 2019)
Thanks to the Pergamenschikow Prize, uBu was able to commission a composition from Huihui Cheng and spend a working residency and guest concert at Villa Massimo, Rome.
In 2019, the work "Calling Sirens" for choreographed piano trio and dance was created in close collaboration between Huihui Cheng and uBu. The piece was recorded at Deutschlandfunk Cologne for the Edition Zeitgenössische Musik of the German Music Council and the Wergo label and was performed at the Soundance Festival Berlin in 2021, among others.
Another uBu project is the concert performance "Vollendet|Unvollendet", which brings together Kurtág's "Kafka Fragments" and Schubert's song sketches and was performed at the Beethovenhaus Bonn in March 2021, among others.
Thanks to two grants from the Federal Cultural Foundation and the Music Fund, uBu was able to use 2020 and 2021 for two intensive research projects on the topics of music-body-power and music-haptics. These research projects form the basis of the concert performance series "Mutants in Music", which uBu will carry out from 2022.
In addition, a 360° music video series has already been created in the rooms of the Kölner Philharmonie as a result of the first research.
Anna Neubert studied violin and contemporary music in Cologne and Paris. As a violinist, Master of Disaster of uBu or accomplice of other artists, she plays, stages and infiltrates concert settings, previously performing at the Schwetzinger Festspiele, AchtBrücken Festival, Bundeskunsthalle Bonn, Villa Massimo Rome and for the Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Bremen, Deutsche Oper am Rhein and electronicID, among others
Magdalena Öttl has been working as a freelance dancer in Germany and Belgium since her graduation in contemporary dance at the Folkwang UdK Essen and her further training at Performact in Torres Vedras, Portugal. She received intensive violin training before studying dance, and her own choreographic works focus on the interfaces between music and dance. She has been working with the Belgian company Ultima Vez since 2019 and with the Northern Irish choreographer Oona Doherty since 2022.
Esther Saladin is a cellist and performs as a chamber and ensemble musician with Ensemble uBu, Ensemble Musikfabrik, Ensemble Modern, and with her trio Radial at festivals and concert halls throughout Europe. She works intensively with the composer Silvia Rosani
Sophia Spies designs uBu's costumes and stage and loves to think her way into surreal concert settings. She graduated in fashion from the HfG Pforzheim with the Prix du Concept. She has designed costumes for the Theater der Keller, Das Freie Werkstatt Theater Köln, Ensemble Kammerelektronik and the Duo Interstellar, among others. In addition to her costume design work, she is a style consultant for musicians and also performs as a musician herself.
Antonia Stäcker also completed her dance training at the Folkwang UdK Essen. In addition to her work as a dancer with uBu, she collaborates intensively with the cellist Emily Wittbrodt. Her work is characterised by an intensive engagement with the Japanese dance form Butoh.h.
Christoph Stöber studied piano at the HfMt Cologne. He was the pianist of the ensemble hand werk for many years and performed as such at numerous renowned festivals of contemporary music. In addition to his role as pianist of uBu, he also undertakes adaptations of larger cast works for piano trio. Compositions by Christoph Stöber have been heard on Deutschlandfunk, WDR and at the Kölner Philharmonie. He has been performing as a singer-songwriter under the name Astronaut since 2020.
Yves Ytier studied contemporary dance and baroque violin at the Folkwang UdK Essen, among others. His double degree enables him to alternate between his roles as choreographer, dancer and musician. He has worked with the Company Susanne Linke, the Akademie für Alte Musik Berlin, the Beethovenorchester Bonn and Concerto Köln, among others, with whom he also gives guest performances as concertmaster. His ensemble "Europa Danzante" received the young talent award of the Musikfestspiele Potsdam 2019.
in: Calling Sirens
in: Mutants in Music: I. Minimal Dominion
in: Mutants in Music: I. Minimal Dominion