The Ensemble Sarband stands for connection - and, indeed, the name itself is a word which stems from Oriental music theory and denotes the improvised linking of two compositions within a musical suite. Musical director Dr. Vladimir Ivanoff, who founded Sarband in 1986, connects cultures, people and epochs, as both a scholar and a musician: His programmes unite musicians from widely different cultures and backgrounds and mediate between past and present, Early Music and living traditions.
In the world of Sarband, musicians from Bulgaria, Turkey, Lebanon, Iraq, Sweden, China, Great Britain, Japan, Italy and Germany perform together. The cooperation in the ensemble is not merely a fashionable crossover, but conceived as a continuous dialogue on equal terms. All artists unrestrictedly contribute their native traditions, their personal histories and their own creativity to the programmes. While today the religious, economic, cultural and political differences between the Orient and Occident are the focus of public attention, Sarband endeavours to show that music was always not mere decoration, but an enlightened means of mutual respect and can still be that in the present: an example for understanding and acceptance, a model of peace.
Programmes with Early Music repertoires link historically informed European performance with the living traditions of the Mediterranean.
In cooperations with other ensembles (for example the Berliner Philharmoniker, King’s Singers, Concerto Köln, Modern String Quartet, Mystère des Voix Bulgares), differences between cultures and religions, between old and new are investigated. Here Sarband often likes to devote itselve to the Ottoman Empire as a culturally developed, tolerant political unity of many different peoples and religions with a rich musical heritage. In various group sizes ranging from intimate ensembles to orchestras, Sarband’s programmes offer a wide range of atmospheres - meditative, thrilling, sometimes even humorous. What they have in common is the intention to demonstrate the peaceful coexistence of people and cultures and to make it perceptible to the senses.
With this unique repertoire, Sarband has gained an international reputation, released more than twenty CD's and performed at many international venues and festivals; mentioning only a few:
1989: Horizonte - Berliner Festspiele / 1991: Istanbul-Festival / 1992: Romanischer Sommer, Cologne / 1993: Internationale Funkausstellung, Berlin / 1994: Abbaye de Sylvanès / 1995: Stimmen Lörrach / 1996: Copenhagen, Cultural Capital of Europe / 1997: Thessaloniki, Cultural Capital of Europe / Jerusalem 2000 / Schleswig-Holstein-Festival / 1998: 900 Years Hildegard von Bingen / Baalbek-Festival, Lebanon / Festival Oude Muziek, Utrecht / 1999: Boston Early Music Festival / Festival van Vlaanderen, Bruges / 2000: Library of Congress, Washington / Spitalfields Festival, London / Styriarte, Graz / 2001: Lufthansa Baroque Festival, London / 2002: Dresdner Festspiele / Bruges, Cultural Capital of Europe / 2003: Madrid / Sevilla / Festival de Menton / 2004: Ludwigsburger Festspiele / Vezelay Cathedral / 2005: Komische Oper, Berlin / Rheingau-Festival / 2006: Frauenkirche, Dresden / Lincoln Center, New York / 2007: Konzerthaus, Vienna / Accademia di Sa. Cecilia, Rome / Singapore Arts Festival / 2008: Philharmonie, Berlin / Théâtre de la Ville, Paris.
Sarband has received numerous awards, amongst them a Grammy Nomination 1992, the Echo Klassik 2003 and 2006, "Premio Mousiké 2007", and "German World Music Award 2008: Ruth 2008".