Postcolonial Recherche

A Global Community of Artistic Research and Musical Creation

We live in a vibrant and diverse global creative community yet, in the 21st century, the so-called „contemporary music” space is still quite Eurocentric. Why actually?

The Goethe-Institut and the Ensemble Recherche are inviting 10 emerging composers and sound artists from developing and transition countries to collaborate in a virtual community of artistic research and music creation.

This project aims to research (post-)colonialism and its consequences and to deal with this knowledge artistically, thus assuming an individual artistic stance. Further, the project aims to promote and support the 10 selected composers by giving them a voice and a platform for their artistic work. Ensemble Recherche wants to question its own patterns of valuation and gain a sensibility for promoting diversity and inclusion.

Over a one-year project period, the selected composers will work closely with members of Ensemble Recherche in a mutual exchange for a total of 10 days of virtual residencies. The process is curated by Bongani Ndodana-Breen.

The resulting musical works will be performed and recorded by Ensemble Recherche in late 2022. The process will be documented by Deutschlandfunk (German Public Radio).

All composers living and working in developing and transition countries (see DAC list) are encouraged to apply, regardless of age, gender, race, or (non-)academic formation.

Applications must be submitted via the Cultural Funding Portal by 11:59pm (CET) on August 30, 2021. All documents received after the deadline will not be considered.

The following documents and scores must be uploaded:

  • Three recent scores (PDF) with permanent links to audio or video recordings. If the piece was not yet performed, uploading only the score would be sufficient (for one work out of three). If it was an acousmatic or installative piece or sound work, a link to a video/audio documentation would be sufficient (for one work out of three). (However, make sure that the link does not expire. Use YouTube, Soundcloud, Dropbox or any other permanent file hosting device!)
  • An essay (max. 4.000 characters) which reflects on the applicant’s biographic, artistic or scientific relation to (post-)colonialism. More specific research questions or a description of an artistic approach are requested. This essay should highlight the applicant’s qualification not only in musical, but also in more general artistic terms, as well as in (self-)reflexion and communication skills which are necessary for a collective working process.
  • A short video (max. 2 minutes) introducing yourself and talking about your motivation to participate in this project.
  • CV (including information on your current residence)..
Language of the application and the entire project: English. Good command of English required.

Selected composers will receive a grant of € 800 by the Goethe-Institut. No other expenses will be covered.

Please take note of our applicable privacy policy.

Selection committee
  • Bongani Ndodana-Breen, composer and fellow at Yale University and Harvard University
  • Sara Abazari, composer and teacher at University of Teheran
  • Johannes Schöllhorn, composer and teacher at University of Music Freiburg
  • Elisa Erkelenz, curator and journalist (
  • Clemens K. Thomas, Artistic Manager Ensemble Recherche
Project timeline
Open Call’s Closing 30.08.2021
Information about selection   04.10.2021
Residency #1 and Kickoff 10.11.2021
Individual composition 11/2021 - 08/2022
Residency #2 11.-13.03.2022
Residency #3 24.-26.04.2022
Residency #4 01.-03.07.2022
Deadline for final works 01.09.2022
Performances / Concerts tba

Virtual attendance in all Residencies is obligatory!

We envision participants around the world, therefore we take into consideration all participants’ time-zones as much as possible. However, in some circumstances, there are possibilities of Residencies being scheduled in early morning/late evening in your time-zone.

Project partners
Ensemble Recherche Bongani Ndodana-Breen (curator)

To the application form