Ensemble SurPlus was founded in 1992 with the idea of creating a pool of musicians who could perform new and unknown works, regardless of compositional style or technical and intellectual demands. The group is extremely flexible, both in terms of its makeup and manner of performance, ranging from “traditional” concerts to experimental sound installations, from duo to large chamber ensemble.
Sven Thomas Kiebler, a graduate of the Hochschule für Musik Freiburg, where he studied with James Avery, was a founding member of the Ensemble SurPlus and is a sought-after soloist internationally; is one of the ensemble’s two permanent pianists.
The other is Eun Ju Kim, born in South Korea, who studied piano at Seoul National University and continued her education at the Hochschule für Musik Freiburg. Today she performs concerts throughout the world.
For the 2005 premiere of Mathias Spahlinger’s farben der frühe, the two were joined five guest pianists: Axel Gremmelspacher, gives concerts as a soloist and as a chamber musician with, among others, the violist Julia Mai and as a member of the Eusebius-Trio. He studied in Freiburg, Boston, and Hanover with Robert Levin, James Avery, and David Wilde as well as with John Perry in Toronto, with a scholarship from the Rotary Foundation. After completing his exams as a soloist [with honors] he found important artistic stimuli in master classes with Leon Fleisher, André Laplante, Wolfram Christ, and Jörg Widmann.
Axel Gremmelspacher is a lecturer at the Musikhochschule Trossingen. Peter Hoffmann also studied with James Avery, as well as with Bruno Canino at the Zürich Konservatorium. After receiving scholarships from the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, New York, the Centre Acanthes in Avignon, and for the thirty-fifth Darmstadt Summer Courses, he is now working as a freelance pianist, teacher, and arranger of theater music.
Hansjörg Koch too numbers James Avery among his teachers, along with Jürgen Klodt and Ramon Walter. He perfected his musical skills with Kenneth Amada at the University of Iowa in Iowa City. He has won several competitions and today he performs concerts worldwide. His repertoire ranges from the Baroque to the twentieth-first century, though his musical activity focuses on contemporary music.
Irmela Roelcke is yet another student of James Avery; she has worked together with many renowned ensembles for New Music, such as the Ensemble Modern, the MusikFabrik NRW, and the Pellegrini-Streichquartett. The pianist, whose repertoire extends from Jean-Philippe Rameau by way of Classical and Romantic music to Claude Vivier, has initiated a number of projects for multiple pianos, including performances of compositions by Stefan Wolpe and Klarenz Bar-low.
Like the other guest pianists, Elmar Schrammel also comes from James Avery’s school. Later he studied with Martin Hughes at the Universität der Künste Berlin. In 2005 he received his degree in concert performance, with a honors for New Music, at the Hochschule für Musik Saar with Stefan Litwin and Yukiko Sugawara. He has also participated in master classes with Pierre-Laurent Aimard, Herbert Henck, and Christoph Keller. A past scholarship recipient at the Akademie Schloss Solitude Stuttgart and at the Internationale Ensemble Modern Akademie, his concert activities focus rigorously on works of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries, including premieres of contemporary music. He regularly performs at the most festivals and concert series for contemporary music.