WISE: Wien – International Soloists Ensemble
With a vocabulary that ranges from “historical performance practice” to “contemporary playing techniques” and with a line-up that allows for the most miniature possible chamber music as well as orchestral sound, WISE is one of the most flexible and exciting ensembles that the world capital of music has to offer. Founded in 2013 by established and passionate musicians from all over the Globe to create, push the boundaries, and bring art music closer to the broadest audience possible, it is essential for the WISE musicians to overcome geographical, social, and cultural borders through their music, promote intercultural understanding, and contribute to a diverse and open society.
W is for Wien:
WISE is based in Vienna, the city of classical music. We have a solid connection to the long-standing musical tradition and play many fruits of the rich repertoire spanning centuries of history, ranging from chamber to orchestral music. Still, we also find and breathe life into new exciting works of high musical quality and beauty, blending the genres and questioning the status quo.
I is for International:
WISE members come from all corners of the globe, and they must do. Through exemplary musicianship, we can connect, cooperate, and create beauty with one another, no matter our geographical, cultural, or social background. We cherish our differences and try to bring them together through the universal language of music to enrich our interpretations through different perspectives.
S is for Soloists:
The soloist is a grandmaster of their instrument. A master-instrumentalist has spent thousands of hours alone with their instrument in attaining the ability to reach a meditative state of playing with perfect grace at will and under any performance pressure. All members of WISE take pride in having reached this level individually. Still, the beauty of chamber music lies therein, that the egotism of individuality (although it remains present) is put behind solidarity and harmony.
E is for Ensemble
Ensemble means together at the same time. But definition itself does not make an ensemble – it is the ability to understand the music and each other entirely and, by thinking, feeling, and playing in absolute harmony, create the interpretation that will touch the listener, make them believe, open them to new perspectives, and maybe even inspire.
Under the leadership of Andrea Nikolić WISE is curating a decade long concert season in the prestigious Barocksaal of the Bank Austria Salon im Alten Rathaus in the heart of Vienna. With great enthusiasm and international success they are curating a festival of new music CRO-ArT in Vienna and are artists in residence of the VaClaF: Vareš Classic Festival in Bosnia and Herzegovina. With their programmes they are pushing the boundaries and thrilling the audiences and critics alike. One of the most influential music magazines in the world Der neue Merker has named the WISE and their innovative programmes a “grandiose success”, “imaginative, impetuous, technically perfect” and international media has been reporting on the importance and quality of the festivals WISE is creating and playing at.
One of the very notable tours of the Ensemble was with the famous Arnold Schönberg Choir (voted as the best opera choir in the world) under the leadership of the Austrian conductor Erwin Ortner, performing J. S. Bach‘s Johannes-Passion in 2017. The ensemble has toured Europe and worldwide since its inception, with great success and many exciting journeys to come. In 2023, they are coming to China for the first time in the formation of a piano quintet.
WISE regularly collaborates with world-class artists, performers and composers alike, such as world famous pianist Nataša Veljković, flautist and director of Arnold Schönberg Center Ulrike Anton, conductor and composer Mladen Tarbuk, award winning singers Matija Meić (Munich Opera Gärtnerplatz), Josipa Bainac Hausknecht (Mozarteum Salzburg/mdw Wien), Ivana Nikolic (University Koblenz, soloist, guest Oboist of Klangforum Wien), Markus Deuter (Klangforum Wien) composers Margareta Ferek Petrić (artistic director of Zagreb Biennale), some of Austrian biggest names in composition: Gabriele Proy, Meinhard Rüdenauer, Belma Bešlić Gal, Johanna Doderer, Andjelko Igrec and many more. In 2019 WISE performed at the 40th anniversary of the UN Headquarters Vienna, and had a trailblazing performance at the Austra Center in front of 3000 guests from all around the world.
In the pandemic years WISE started a new festival of contemporary music and art “WISE Rebel! CRO-ArT Festival” which reached a worldwide audience through its online formats and presented unheard and underrepresented music of contemporary composers from Croatia, Austria and all around the world. WISE has ended the year 2022 with the festive concert in the famous Viennese Konzerthaus – Mozartsaal with new work by Margareta Ferek Petrić dedicated to Andrea and Ivana Nikolić and is celebrating its 10th anniversary with world class concerts and tours in 2023/2024. Some of the guests include singers Martina Menegoni (Bayreuth Fellow and Scholar) and Matija Mejić (soloist at the Gärtnerplatz Theater Munich), Amir Amiri (world class santoor player), fantastic guitarists Sanel Redžić and Boško Jović, and many more. In September 2023 they are embarking on a 28 days long tour of China, from 07 September – 05 October with up to 18 concerts, following with residencies at the VaClaF and CRO-ArT Festivals in Vareš and Vienna respectfully, starting on 13th of October until 16th of December 2023.
In 2023, when WISE is celebrating its 10th anniversary, composers in residence are Gabriele Proy and Meinhard Rüdenauer.
To mark a new chapter of the Ensemble, while being established as a large mixed chamber ensemble/orchestra, three official chamber groups under the WISE Chamber Music Society have emerged:
- IWA Trio: Ivana Nikolic – oboe, Weronika Izabela Strugala – cello, Andrea Nikolic – violin
- CIPRA Quartet: Andrea Nikolić – violin1, Angela Chia Chen Lin – violin2, Weronika Izert – viola, Weronika Izabella Strugala – violoncello
- WISE Piano Quintet: Stipe Bilic – piano, Andrea Nikolic – violin1, Dominika Witowicz – violin2, Giuseppe Zappala – viola, ConstantinSiepermann – violoncello
Our mutual goal that brings such a heterogeneous group pf people together is to emotionally and intellectually connect through past and future masterpieces in inspired and innovative performances so that we engage (and build up!) an open, broader, and critical audience that will enjoy the music together with us – in Vienna, and worldwide.
The founder and leader of WISE, as well as a president of the WISE Chamber Music Society, is violinist/violist & conductor Andrea Nikolić.