Home > Projects > KCMD in Berlin > ...SO THEY GROW LIKE SUNFLOWERS

1 July 2023, 20:00



Villa Elisabeth

Invalidenstraße 3, 10115 Berlin


“...So They Grow Like Sunflowers” is part of the Kyiv Contemporary Music Days in Berlin concert series.


On 1 July, 20:00, at Villa Elisabeth, Kyiv Contemporary Music Days in collaboration with Ensemble KNM Berlin present a concert of new music by Ukrainian and other European composers featuring the Kyiv-based soloist Nazarii Stets (double bass) with conductor Stephan Winkler.

The program includes ensemble and solo works by acclaimed composers Rebecca Saunders, Clemens Gadenstätter, and Kaija Saariaho, as well as younger artists Anna Korsun, Anna Arkushyna, Anton Koshelev, and Adrian Mocanu. The concert highlights bass instruments—double bass and contrabass clarinet—to explore the differences in their perception as solo instruments and their interaction with the ensemble. 

The Ukrainian composers featured in the program belong to the new generation of Ukrainian classical musicians and represent what is commonly known as the Maidan generation. The Revolution of Dignity, or Euromaidan, which took place in Ukraine in 2013–2014, brought about radical political and social changes in the country but also gave a boost to cultural initiatives, both state-funded and grassroots. Kyiv Contemporary Music Days is one of such self-organized initiatives that emerged in the wake of Maidan in 2015. By presenting works of Ukrainian composers created between 2014 and 2022, we wish to show the diverse trajectories the Ukrainian new music has taken during this turbulent yet incredibly fertile period. 

The event’s name, “...So They Grow Like Sunflowers,” comes from the title of an ensemble piece by Anna Arkushyna to be performed at the concert. It is a reference to a phrase that a Ukrainian woman in Kherson addressed to a Russian soldier during the first days of the full-scale invasion: “Take these seeds and put them in your pockets, so at least sunflowers will grow when you all lie down here.” The phrase went viral thanks in no small part to the fact that the sunflower is considered by many Ukrainians a symbol of their national identity. 

The concert title reflects both the macabre side of the ongoing war waged by Russia in Ukraine and a hope that the seeds planted since the Revolution of Dignity, whose flowers this concert showcases, will prevail and bear fruit in the peaceful Europe of tomorrow.    

The concert will take place on 1 July 2023, at 20:00 at Villa Elisabeth. It will be preceded by listening cities : kyiv, a multimedia project by KNM Berlin, at 18:30.    

The event is a cooperation between Kyiv Contemporary Music Days, Ensemble KNM Berlin, and Kultur Büro Elisabeth.

Friendly guidance and advice by Goethe-Institut.


Nazarii Stets – double bass 

Stephan Winkler – conductor

Ensemble KNM Berlin:


Nazarii Stets

Nazarii Stets is a Ukrainian double bassist who specializes in contemporary music. 

His concert geography covers more than twenty countries with the solo, chamber, and orchestral performances at festivals such as: Manifest in France; the Britten-Pears young artist program in the UK; Warsaw Autumn in Poland; Septembre musical in Switzerland; and Mishima Contemporary Music Days in Japan. 

He has performed with the Kyiv Kamerata ensemble in Oman, Bahrain, and Kuwait; with Nova Opera in Vienna and New York; with the Kyiv Virtuosos in Turkey and Azerbaijan; and with the Kyiv Mozart Orchestra in the Netherlands. 

Stets has collaborated with ICulture Orchestra, Chisinau Youth Orchestra, Ulysses Ensemble, and MozArt Sinfonietta Salzburg.

stephan winkler

Stephan Winkler was born in Görlitz in 1967 and studied composition and cello at the Hochschule für Musik Hanns Eisler Berlin. In 1990 he founded ECHO, the institution’s first new music ensemble, which he directed until 1999. He received several grants and was, among other things, artist-in-residence at the Cité internationale des arts in Paris. In 1994 he lived in New York for a year and had a postgraduate scholarship from the DAAD at Princeton University. Together with fellow composer Michael Beil, he produced a series of audiovisual concept concerts at unusual locations under the name SKART. 

Winkler’s compositions include an opera (2014), four works for a large orchestra, and a series of chamber music works (some with electronics and video). His first CD was released in 1998 together with the writer Max Goldt. In 2005 WERGO/Schott released a double (CD/DVD) recording of his most important chamber music works. 

He has been a composer since 1991 and teaches at the Hochschule für Musik Hanns Eisler Berlin and at the Musikschule Berlin-Kreuzberg. He also regularly conducts Berlin’s leading new music ensembles. In 2015/16 Winkler taught composition as a visiting professor at the Mozarteum University in Salzburg; he currently teaches music theory and composition at the Barenboim-Said Akademie in Berlin. 


Ensemble KNM Berlin — since its foundation in 1988 — has presented programs across the world that reflect a curiosity to explore the unknown and the willingness to confront the most pressing themes of our times. The ensemble presents compositions, concert installations, and concert projects created in close cooperation with composers, authors, conductors, artists, and stage directors from around the world. Since 2014, KNM Berlin has been increasingly committed to musical, multi-perspective networking with intercultural collaborations worldwide.  Whether in Argentina, India, Japan, Cambodia, Korea, Mexico or Taiwan the musicians of Ensemble KNM confront the pressing questions of globalization with surprising concepts and intercultural collaborations. 


KNM Berlin has earned an international reputation with repeated guest appearances at important music festivals such as the Donaueschinger Musiktage, MaerzMusik in Berlin, ars musica in Brussels, Festival d’Automne in Paris, and Wien Modern in Vienna, as well as with its own productions such as HouseMusik or KNM New Music Spa. Concert tours have taken the ensemble to the Teatro Colon in Buenos Aires, Carnegie Hall in New York, Suntory Hall in Tokyo, and the National Concert Hall in Taipei. 

KNM’s discography comprises more than 18 CDs to date; the KNM was awarded the German Record Critics’ Award in 2021 as well as in March 2009 and 2010 for its collaboration with the composer Beat Furrer. 


Supported by

“...So They Grow Like Sunflowers” is part  of the Kyiv Contemporary Music Days in Berlin concert series.

10–11 June