In the winter semester of 2002/03, the composer and conductor Konstantia Gourzi founded the ensemble oktopus at the University of Music and Theatre Munich with a clear vision: the ensemble is to move in the genre of contemporary music with naturalness and ease. This opens up access to contemporary music for young musicians.
In addition to the ensemble’s own concert series, which has become an integral part of the contemporary music scene in Munich, numerous concerts also take place outside the university every year.
The ensemble oktopus has developed collaborations with the Pinakothek der Moderne, with galleries, with the Theaterakademie August Everding, with the Ernst von Siemens Musikstiftung (Ernst von Siemens Music Foundation), with the Münchner Biennale, with the Bayerischen Rundfunk (Bavarian Broadcasting), with the Bayerische Staatsoper (Bavarian State Opera), with Biennale Musica in Venice and with the Paul Sacher Stiftung (Paul Sacher Foundation).
Collaboration with living composers is of great importance to Konstantia Gourzi: composition commissions are regularly awarded and composers from all over the world are invited to rehearsal periods and concerts every year. In this way, contemporary works and numerous world premieres are developed in direct dialogue.
Another focus is on the promotion of young composers and conductors. Konstantia Gourzi works with students from the composition and conducting classes as well as with the Jazz Institute of the University of Music and Theatre Munich and numerous university professors, who repeatedly appear as soloists.
Numerous CD productions, radio and video recordings document the lively concert activity of the 20 successful years of the work of ensemble oktopus.
On the naming of the ensemble:
„When searching for a suitable name for the ensemble, I was inspired by the image of the octopus: When you see an octopus in the water, it seems very small. When it is afraid, it contracts. But if you give it its space, then it can grow, become big and show itself in all its beauty. And that is also my wish for contemporary music in Munich: That it becomes self-evident, that it is played more and thus its beauty is discovered.” – Prof. Konstantia Gourzi