Our first hashtag project is “InterGerencje” (InterFerences) for the flute, the double bass, the chamber band and electronics. It premiered in the autumn of 2016 in Łódź Philharmonic Hall. We’ve been hashtaging on a regular basis ever since, and there seems to be more and more of new ideas and projects. While Hashtag Ensemble is a uniform formation, it is also a diverse group of open-minded soloists. The possibility of an individual interaction with each of the musicians, concerning both their solo parts in a piece and a richness of varied, separate projects, is a rare privilege.
(Adam Porębski )
New music, chamber music in particular, relies on trust. The performer trusts the composer to make sure that their part, which when played solo may seem non-musical, will gain an interesting, musical meaning in consonance with the entire band.The composer trusts that the performer will follow all their requests, even those which seem to be composed against the instrument. At last, the performers trust each other and that in the jungle of sounds they’ll be able to lean on the part of a flute or a violin. Mutual trust is a major basis of Hashtag Ensemble’s work. It proves even more important when the composer is one of the performers and is unable to listen to their piece “from the outside”. It requires a significant maturity, but it provides an extraordinary satisfaction.
(…) A majority of the presented compositions has been custom-made for the musicians, members of #ENSEMBLE – a young band, bringing in a lot of fresh, positive energy into performing and promoting the newest music.
(about a performance of Trio for the violin, the flute and the viola by Ignacy Zalewski)
The instruments in this piece are having a lively conversation. There’s a chatty flute (Ania Karpowicz), an emotional violin and a stubborn viola, whose exchange we admire with a focus worthy of a final match in the World Championship of ping-pong.
(about a performance of Catula Carmen VIII by Ignacy Zalewski)
That effect is reinforced by an exceptionally strong, original and memorable creation (both vocal and theatrical) of a baritone Maciej Nerkowski, accompanied by the amazing Leszek Lorent on drums (he’s a drummer one has to see in action).
The concert concluded with the “Levitation” composition, a piece interesting in terms of its form, performed with an extraordinary precision by the members of #ENSEMBLE.
(Agnieszka Olek – Presto.Prosto o muzyce magazine. (Ignacy Zalewski’s monographic concert review, CSW, 24.05.2014)
The team of #ENSEMBLE, or rather a part of it (Brzdęk Ferajna) made up from young musicians, enthusiastic and capable, presented two improvisations on “Hommage à Chopin” by Andrzej Panufnik. They were, similarly to the original, vocalisations, but accompanied by a slightly bigger band – with Marta Grzywacz, reaching for expanded vocal techniques and operating her voice with a masterful precision, the flutist Anna Ćwiek-Karpowicz, whose range of means equaled that of the vocalist, the pianist Krzysztof Kozłowski and the accordionist Paweł Janas. The artists showed a consistency in building a uniform ambience in each of the improvisations, as well as a good sense of form.
(Ewa Cichoń, Ruch Muzyczny, nr 6/2014. Panufnik #Revised concert review, Podchorążówka, 17.05.2014)
The whole thing was absolutely overshadowed by the improvisations of the Brzdęk Ferajna (Marta Grzywacz – vocal, Ania Karpowicz – flute, Paweł Janas – accordion [tape], Krzysztof Kozłowski – pianoforte) and the last year winner of Translantyk Instant Composition Contest, Aleksander Dębicz, on certain themes from sir Andrzej Panufnik’s compositions („Homage a Chopin”, „Pentasonata”, „Old Polish Suite”). The expressiveness and inventiveness of the performance truly distracted from subtle visualisations accompanying the music.
#ENSEMBLE engages in new forms of presenting classical and modern and classical music, and does it successfully: without pretence, earnestly, tastefully and with an extensive amount of expressiveness. The key to this mechanism’s nearly perfect functioning is probably the lightness of presentation, the diversity of compositions, the merging of improvisations and first performances of modern music in their repertoire, and the juxtaposition of enormous stage individualities in chamber music.
Remembering the recent II Convention of Polish Music and the panel “Lines of promoting the youth among the youth” moderated by “Presto”, one could confidently say that the chairman of #ART Union (a patron of the band), Ania Karpowicz, is truly dusting off Polish culture.
(Maja Baczyńska – Presto. Prosto o muzyce magazine. Panufnik #Revised concert review, Podchorążówka, 17.05.2014)
But the #ENSEMBLE collective has a hidden agenda, so to sepak. These young musicians want to change the musical reality of Poland. They want modern music to be present in our everyday lives. The concert at Skwer – a place where you can hear jazz, hip hop, soul and other musical genres – is a negative answer to the question, whether modern music has to be so hermetic. Well, it doesn’t have to. It can be pleasant, as my own ears have concluded.
(Luiza Borowiec, Presto.Prosto o muzyce magazine. Concert review, Skwer, 15.12.2013 „DUX brzmi w trzcinie”)
First, we heard Crumb’s “Night of the Four Moons” and it was an excellent performance of Crumb, and all those academic-like circumstances (the Art – Nouveau lecture hall, the scent of dust and the squeaking floorboards) only added to the charm of it. The young band played with fervour, the dimmed lights made it seem as though one were watching Sufijan Stevens’s, who had dropped by the academy to perform a classic from his homeland.
(Rafał Wawrzyńczyk, dwutygodnik.com, Poznańska Wiosna Muzycznea 2016 review)
(…) the “Visegras Songs” album has been put out by Hashtag Ensemble – a group of musician friends, creatively merging classical, folk and electronic inspirations. As they say about themselves: they’re looking for their own “twangs”. Jerzy Kornowicz, a long-time coordinator of Polish Composers’ Union, calls their work “poetrying”. One could add that the band is also working to strengthen the Weimar Triangle. (…) The musicians enact an instrumental and vocal deconstruction of the pieces, each time using a different key, in a different lineup, in a different acoustic aura; with a sense of humour. Each time they enter an empty space and somehow fill it with consecutive sonoristic elements, looping rhythms, fragments of melodies, phrases and anti-semantic syllables. The creative decomposition thus concerns the verbal layer as well, which in the case of well-known songs of Karlowicz gives an electrifying effect. The album comes with an original graphic design and the technical realisation of the recording is truly impressive.
(Hanna and Andrzej Milewscy about „Visegrad Songs” CD in „HiFi” magazine, November 2015)
The Hashtag Ensemble’s musicians deserve huge amounts of appreciation for their courage, their openness and inventiveness shown on the album. It is certainly an attention-worthy proposition, I return to it constantly and with each listen I discover something completely new. I’ll keep my fingers crossed for the Opus Series to keep developing in such an intriguing direction.
(Rafał Zbrzeski about „Visegrad Songs“ CD in Lizard magazine nr 19, November 2015)
The Warsaw Suite II: Warsaw Music by Wojciech Błażejczyk – a composition for an instrumental band, live electronics and film – was mesmerising. The project was financed by the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage, and realised by the Music and Dance Institute. Consecutive tones and sounds resounded, contrasted wit each other, ruled by the unrestrained dynamic of Warsaw. Untypical registers, exceptional transitions from highs to lows entranced the listeners, nearly hypnotised them. The composition was, in effect, a study of the heart of Poland, an ECG of it. The melodies murmured like a blood flow, thumping and pulsating. An indispensable element of the audible became the visible: pictures, photos of the city. An incredible directing by Maja Baczyńska, phenomenal photos by Zofia Goraj…
I am at a loss for words. The Warsaw Suite II is simply (though not so simply) remarkable, full of contradictions – real and unreal, sharp and yet blurred. We emerge from cosmic nebulas to find ourselves on Earth, in the Polish capital. I’m unsure what the most important part of the vision would be – the concrete jungle? Or perhaps the Sky, the Sun, the Moon, with their unceasing, eternal movement. The metropolia force a rushed lifestyle, a general uncertainty which becomes draining. We need some sort of stability, a bedrock, so as not to go insane, not to lose a sense of self and purpose. A sense of safety is given to us by the cyclicality of nature, a repetitiveness of day and night, of the seasons… For a moment, I stopped thinking of everyday worries, of upcoming problems. There were only sounds and visions.
In an hour and a half after the concert, the Hashtag Ensemble’s “Visegard Songs” album has premiered. If you enjoy secretive darkness, sudden flares, smudges, circling colours, pure fantasy – it’s all here, on this album. But there’s also a distance here, a culture of storytelling and its means, a kind of classicism. That music is something more than repeating sounds or composing. These are living and breathing melodies of everyday, a synthesis of dimensions.
(Anna Maria Motylska, Musica Elektronica Nova concert review, Wrocław (17.05.2015), skarbykultury.pl)
Hashtag Ensemble is a formula as old as time: talented, ambitious young people of different musical disciplines – performers, composers, conductors, including educators and social activists – have gathered to realise their artistic calling together. (…) At the same time, what Hashtag Ensemble does is not only ambitious – it is also beautiful. They’re not interested in over-intellectualised, modern pieces. They want to try themselves, to show off their technique, to challenge themselves, and at the same time – to connect with the audience, give them what they came to the concert for: joy, relief, a sense of communing with a creation of beauty.
Hashtag Ensemble’s instrumentalists are some of the best musicians I know. The skills and the expressiveness of the flutist Ania Karpowicz, the drummer Leszek Lorent or the pianist Aleksander Dębicz, to name only three of them – it’s truly breathtaking. Every time I hear them I feel as though they could play absolutely anything, that they know even the techniques that have not been invented yet.
Maciek [Nerkowski] – how the youth would put it – is destroying the system. He takes over the stage, whatever’s happening next to him – it’s only a background for him. To call him a baritone is to say nothing. He’s a complete artist. He has mastered all the techniques of both modern and classical singing, but he’s also a fantastic actor. He has absolutely no inhibitions, and however it may sound, it has nothing but positive connotations in an artistic sense.
(Kinga A. Wojciechowska. Review of the concert including the performance of „Pieśni Szalonego Króla” by P.M. Davis in prestoomuzyce.pl 15.03.2015)