ensemble (2015)

Live recording of the premiere  -  Recorded by Deutschlandradio        


This work is available on a CD released by NEOS Music







  • 4 saxophones (sopranino, soprano, alto and tenor)
  • flute
  • harp
  • 5 strings (1. Vl, 2. Vl, Vla, Cello, Bass)

Duration: 8 minutes

Commissioned by: Deutschlandradio, for the "Forum Neuer Musik 2015"


  • April 18th, 2015
  • ensemble 20/21, conducted by David Smeyers
  • Forum Neuer Musik 2015
  • Deutschlandfunk Sendesaal (Cologne, Germany)



About the work


There are many clues that point to an ancient communication between South America and China. The Chilean investigator Jaime Errázuriz, for example, gathered a list of 89 towns and cities in Peru whose names have a meaning in Chinese. Peru and China also have 118 locations with the same name. Could this be just a coincidence?

The kipu is a system of recording information used in pre-hispanic America. It consists of several hanging threads that bear knots of different colors and sizes, placed at different heights and distances. The oldest known kipus were found at Caral (Peru), a site believed to be 5000 years old.

Alexander von Humboldt was one of the first to associate the Andean kipu with very similar devices found in China. Gustavo Vargas, in his book “Fusang: Chinos en América antes de Colón”, corroborates this claim and goes on to share their Chinese name: “qi pui”.

If these two peoples really did come into contact... what sort of relationship did they have? How did they view one another? What principles or ideas guided their exchange?

These are the questions that led me to write this piece. It is my own musical hypothesis; a "fantasy" on a long voyage leading to an encounter between two distant civilizations. Might a similar story lie hidden in a kipu we can´t yet read? Until scientists finally figure out how to decode the complex, colorful knots, their message will continue to be as abstract as music itself.