Ensemble Phoenix Basel
The Ensemble Phoenix Basel was founded in 1998 by Swiss conductor and pianist
Jürg Henneberger, flutist Christoph Bösch and percussionist Daniel Buess. Right from
the start, this highly versatile orchestra for contemporary music had a significant impact
on the cultural scene of its home city. Today, it is one of the most important groups of its
kind in Switzerland and has also gained an international reputation.
The number of musicians onstage can range from two to almost thirty, making the
ensemble ideally suited for performing the works of contemporary composers. This
might be fairly common practice in companies these days, but what gives the
Ensemble Phoenix Basel its unique edge is how it incorporates, and is driven by, the
impulses and preferences of its individual members.
The Ensemble Phoenix has had close ties to the cultural centre Gare du Nord ever
since its opening. The centre, located in Basel’s German railway station Badischer
Bahnhof in the north of the city, not only serves as a venue for the ensemble’s annual
concert series, but is also where the group works and rehearses as orchestra-in-
One could certainly describe the Ensemble Phoenix as a „railway station orchestra“ of
sorts, but very importantly, it is also a touring company: constantly on the move,
exploring new horizons, and coming back with even more projects and new contacts.
This quest for new experiences is characterized by both constancy and curiosity. It
allows the group to keep expanding the scope of its activities, from the aforementioned
concert series at Gare du Nord to small tours in Switzerland or appearances at
international festivals. As Ensemble Phoenix Basel could celebrate its 15-year
anniversary on December 12th 2013, its musicians are in full stride: for a decade and a
half, they have been cultivating and promoting a form of diversity without which Basel
as a music city would be lacking essential impulses in the contemporary field.