The Ensemble

The ensemble was founded in 2022 and is based in Flensburg with eight musicians from Germany, Italy, Denmark, Israel, Switzerland and Turkey. They present special concerts of new music and form a young enthusiastic ensemble in the far north. The music is always project related and composed especially for the ensemble by young composers from Germany, Denmark and all over the world.
There are different styles (including modern classical music, world music, jazz and improvised music) that contain elements of their respective cultures and countries in the music.
This is new and communicative music that will also appeal to an audience that does not usually consume contemporary music.

The ensemble’s opening concert “Frequent Travelers” was on October 30, 2022 in the special atmosphere of St. Johanniskirche in Flensburg, with pieces by the composers Shaul Bustan (Israel/Flensburg), Kenneth Dahl Knudsen (Dänemark/ Aalborg), Julia Stegmann (Germany/Siek, Schleswig-Holstein) and Katja Kröger (Germany/ Schleswig-Holstein)
Do you what to watch the whole concert? No problem! Please send us an email via the contact form and you will receive the link.



The ensemble would like to present new compositions by composers from all over the world and from Schleswig-Holstein, regardless of their style, in the most varied and sophisticated concepts possible.
The ensemble would like to enrich cultural life in Flensburg and the region with contemporary music and thereby contribute to the expansion of cultural offerings.
In addition, the aim of the Flensburg ensemble is to bring about more tolerance and understanding of the unknown through the emotional power of music, to bring people from a wide variety of cultural backgrounds together and to discover the beautiful in the unknown and new together.

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Shaul Bustan

The Israeli composer, conductor, double bass and oud player Shaul Bustan was born in 1983 in a small kibbutz in the Negev desert, in southern Israel. He grew up between two worlds, as the child of a Persian mother and an Eastern European father. That not only shaped him personally, but also musically he is a traveler between cultures and genres. His tonal language tells of his origins as a studied composer of classical music as well as his virtuosity as a player of the oud, the oriental short-necked lute, on which he improvises effortlessly incorporating elements of jazz into his tonal language. In this way he creates highly original and yet very smooth listening experiences, which clearly bring the connection between Orient and Occident to life. Located between classical avant-garde, world music, jazz and free improvisation, Bustan’s music creates a completely new world of sound, far from narrow genre boundaries.

Shaul graduated from the Jerusalem Academy of Music and Dance with a Masters Degree in Composition in 2009. He has written over 400 pieces throughout his career; from opera to chamber and orchestral music to music for film, theater and dance. Shaul has composed for several international orchestras, ensembles and soloists, including the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra, EOS Chamber Orchestra Cologne, Tiroler Ensemble für Neue Musik, Meitar Ensemble, as well as for the mandolinist Avi Avital, the Klezmer maestro Giora Feidman and for the Schleswig-Holstein Music Festival.

Since 2011, Shaul lives in Germany. In addition to his work as musical director and composer in various projects, he leads several choirs in Berlin and performs regularly with his trio all over Germany.
He has received several awards for his work, including Best music at the International Film Festival of Ahmednagar (India, 2021), 1st prize at the International Tapiola Choir Choral Composition Competition (Finland, 2020), Avni-Yaddor composition competition (Israel, 2008) and scholarships from the German Music Fund, the German Music Council, the Berlin Senate and the America-Israel Cultural Foundation.

flute, piccolo (Flensburg)

Anja Kreuzer

Anja Kreuzer is the First Prize winner of the International Kuhlau Flute Competition 2017. Since 2015 she is working in the Schleswig Holstein Symphony Orchestra and Theatre, Germany. She plays in the position as associate Principal Flute (before, 3 years Principal Flute 50%).

Anja played her debut as a soloist with the Silesian Philharmonic under the direction of P. Gajewski in 2018. There she performed the Mozart Flute concerto in G major. In the newspaper (Hildesheimer Allgemeine Zeitung) Anja Kreuzer´s flute playing was described as tremendous expressive, technically souvereigne and musically safe in all nuances. 

In 2019, Anja played as a soloist the Reinecke Flute Concerto with the Lugansk Symphony Orchestra, at the Crimean International Music Festival. 

From 2014 – 2015 the swiss flute player Anja was Principal Flute in the Norrköping Symphony Orchestra, Sweden. Furthermore, she had engagements in Switzerland, Germany, Sweden and Denmark in such orchestras as the Musikkollegium Winterthur, the Opera Kaiserslautern, the Southwest Chamber Orchestra Pforzheim, the Swedish Chamber Orchestra, the Västeras Sinfonietta and the Sonderjyllands-Symphony-Orchestra. Anja made an internship in the Radio-Symphony Orchestra SWR in Stuttgart, as well as in the Opera Kaiserslautern, Germany.

Through her work in orchestras, Anja had the opportunity to play under the direction of Michail Jurowski, Helmuth Rilling, Serge Baudo e.g., with soloists such as Rudolf Buchbinder, Martin Fröst, Helene Fischer, e.g. 

The swiss musician studied at the Royal Academy of Music in London with William Bennett, where she graduated (Master of Arts). She won there the Irene Burcher Prize for the best Final Recital.

Anja obtained a Bachelor’s degree at the Zurich University of Arts, where she studied with Matthias Ziegler and had additional lessons with Sabine Poyé Morel. Furthermore, she received an orchestra diploma at the University of Music in Saarbrücken, Germany, in the flute class of Gaby Pas-van Riet.

Anja participated in various master classes or had private lessons with Emily Beynon, Rachel Brown, Michael Cox, Philippe Boucly, Felix Renggli, e.g. Anja´s first flute teacher was Saeid Taghadossi.

The flutist is the laureate of various competitions, amongst others, of the following ones: Kuhlau International Flute Competition, Migros Kulturprozent Competition, Nicati de Luze Competition, Walter Gieseking Competition and International Flute Competition in Oberstdorf. She won the Stanley Picker and the Frank Britton Award for extraordinary achievements at the Royal Academy of Music. 

Philippe Boucly, the Principal Flute Player of the BR-Symphony Orchestra, describes Anja´s flute playing as following: …“Une flûtiste remarquable, sensible et expressive au jeu parfait.“ 

Her flute solo CD: “Time travels on a flute” was published in 2019 and is available in stores and online.

Clarinet (Kiel)

Ishay Lantner

Ishay Lantner played four years as principal clarinetist in the Israeli Chamber Orchestra before beginning his studies with Prof. Johannes Peitz at the University of Music and Performing Arts in Hanover. As a principal clarinetist he has performed with the Ulster Orchestra and the Tel Aviv Soloists Ensemble and has made guest appearances with the Northern Sinfonia and the Philharmonia Orchestra London. He has also performed with the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra and the Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Bremen, among others. Ishay Lantner was a member of the West-Eastern Divan Orchestra for many years, performing under the direction of Daniel Barenboim and Pierre Boulez. He won first prizes at the David Weber Competition and the Solo Competition of the Jerusalem Music Academy, among others. He was also a finalist at the International Music Competition in Madeira. Ishay Lantner has made guest appearances at festivals such as Röros Vinterspiel in Norway, Salta Festival Argentina, Kimito Festival Finland and tensions Festival Heimbach. There he made music with Klaus Thunemann, Dale Clevenger, Nobuko Imai, Nicolas Altstaedt and Christian Tetzlaff, among others. For seven years he has worked regularly with the Ensemble Berlin of the Berlin Philharmonic. Ishay Lantner has been principal clarinetist with the Kiel Philharmonic Orchestra since 2012.

Bassoon (Flensburg)

Cem Aktalay

The bassoonist Cem Aktalay was born in Istanbul in 1980 and began his education at the State Conservatory there in 1991. In 2000, he transferred to the University of Music Detmold and continued his studies for the next four years at the University of Music Berlin “Hanns Eisler” with Prof. Klaus Thunemann. From 2005 to 2010, he attended the soloist class of Prof. Dag Jensen at the University of Music and Theater Hannover. Since 2000, Cem Aktalay has been playing with various international orchestras such as the State Symphony Orchestra Istanbul, German Symphony Orchestra Berlin, Verbier Festival Orchestra, SWR Symphony Orchestra Stuttgart, World Symphony Orchestra Seoul, Orchestra of the State Theater at Gärtnerplatz Munich, Philharmonic State Orchestra at the Hamburg State Opera, New Zealand Symphony Orchestra, Sønderjyllands Symphony Orchestra, and the Orchestra of the German Opera Berlin. From 2016 to 2023, he could also be seen performing solo concerts of Mozart and Vivaldi in Germany and Turkey. Since 2007, Cem Aktalay has been the principal bassoonist of the Schleswig-Holstein Symphony Orchestra.

Violin (Flensburg)

Suleika Bauer

Suleika Bauer has been playing the violin with passion for over twenty years and has managed to make music her profession. She successfully completed her violin studies at the HMT Rostock and is part of the Schleswig-Holstein State Theater and the symphony orchestra as a violinist. She also gained a lot of experience as a soloist, e.g. with the Polish Chamber Philharmonic, the Mozart Concertists and the Scheersberg Chamber Orchestra. She was also a guest at festivals such as the Usedom Music Festival and the Festspiele Mecklenburg-Vorpommern. In a duo with the piano, as well as in a string quartet or in a violin duo, Suleika Bauer is a popular chamber music partner. For example, she has already given concerts with clarinettist Giora Feidman, “the” Klezmer interpreter in general. For Suleika Bauer, music has no borders. It doesn’t always have to be classical – band projects, rock, pop, gypsy music and crossover also inspire her and give her the opportunity to unleash her creativity.

Viola (Sønderborg/ Denmark)

Laila Knudsen

Laila Knudsen, viola, is born in Denmark in 1995 and has been a member of South Denmark Philharmonic since 2021. She has studied at The Royal Danish Academy of Music with 2nd principal from Danish National Symphony Orchestra, Dmitri Golovanov, and with Prof. Tim Frederiksen. Furthermore she studied one year at Shanghai Conservatory of Music with Prof. Jensen Horn Sin-Lam, and during her studies she has participated in masterclasses with many great viola players such as Máté Szücs, Yuval Gotlibovich and Julia Dinerstein.

Cello (Flensburg)

Martin Pratissoli

Martin Pratissoli, born and raised in Italy, studied at the music academies in Milan, Lucerne and Detmold. He was able to participate in important music festivals such as the Lucerne Festival, the Aspen Music Festival in the USA and the Moritzburg Festival. As an orchestra musician, Martin Pratissoli has gained a lot of orchestral experience in recent years, including as a temporary assistant with the Vienna Philharmonic, the Mahler Chamber Orchestra and the Orchestra of La Scala in Milan. After contracts in the orchestras of Hanover, Dresden and Flensburg, he has been a permanent member of the Sønderjyllands Symfoniorkester since 2019.

Double bass (Flensburg)

Finn Strothmann

Finn Strothmann was born in Eckernförde in 1983, is married, has 2 small children and lives in Flensburg. From 2004 to 2009 he studied double bass in Denmark and Holland. Concert tours have taken him with various orchestras and ensembles to countries including Russia, India, China and other European countries. Finn Strothmann works as a double bass teacher at the music school in Flensburg and he is a double bass player in several bands in Northern Germany.

(Denmark / Aalborg)

Kenneth Dahl Knudsen

Kenneth Dahl Knudsen is a composer, bassist, bandleader and rhythm scientist. Powered by a wild storm of musical passion and storytelling, he restlessly develops new and challenging projects.

He is versatile and curious, moving gracefully from the power trio of “Kemaca Kinetic” to the classical folk-jazz ensemble of “ATLAS” and “UUMMAT”. With a masterful command of bands and audience alike, Knudsen has made the journey from a rising comet to a shining star on the European music scene.

His music can maybe best be described in the words of Mike Gates from British Music Magazine UK Vibe: “The music is nothing short of astonishing; at times comforting, safe and homely, at times challenging and testing. Ultimately it is intensely rewarding. In my humble opinion, it defines what truly great music is all about, and indeed, what it is to be human, with passion, depth, honesty and integrity.”

(Germany / Siek)


Julia Stegmann (1986) studied viola at the UdK Berlin in the diploma course with Prof. H. Rohde and at the HfMT Hamburg in the master’s course with Prof. M. Nichiteanu. A semester in Switzerland with Prof. P. Jüdt complemented her studies. She increasingly devoted herself to contemporary music, has already given many world premieres and won the Hanns Eisler Prize in 2009. In addition, she actively participated in various chamber music formations such as the Mizar Quartet, festivals (e.g. Schwetzinger Festspiel) and numerous master classes (e.g. with Prof. H. Beyerle). From 2011 to 2013 she was an academic with the Hamburg Philharmonic/State Opera. Since 2013 she has been playing baroque music with the Elbipolis Barrockorchester, Barockwerk Hamburg and others. In 2020 she also completed a music therapy degree (Master, HfMT Hamburg) and has been working professionally since then.

Germany / Schleswig-Holstein

Katja Krüger

Katja Krüger was born in Hamburg.

She studied historical wind instruments (recorder, transverse flute, baroque bassoon), bassoon, oboe and transverse flute at the Hamburg Conservatory.

In addition to her studies, she completed an apprenticeship as a music therapist and obtained the right to teach at general schools in Schleswig-Holstein.

She is a member of the Norderstedt Symphony Orchestra and many other chamber music formations such as the bassoon quartet FURORE, the ensemble STILLOS and the salon trio ALSTERKONFEKT.

In addition she also composed chamber, orchestral music and choir compositions and wrote the textbook “The New Bassoon School” for children and young people. 

(Azerbaijan / Detmold)

Dr. Khadija Zeynalova

Khadija Zeynalova is an award-winning Composer of contemporary, film and theatre music as well as Organist and Musicologist. Her compositions are performed by some of the world’s leading orchestras, ensembles and musicians in Germany, France, UK, Netherland, Cyprus, Belgium, Switzerland, Italy, Austria, Hungary, Turkey, Oman, Cyprus, Azerbaijan and many other countries. As multilingual PhD graduate, she was a winner of prestigious Friedrich-Ebert PhD Scholarship in Germany. Khadija is currently based in Germany continuing her career as a professional composer as well as teaching at Detmold Academy of Music (Germany).

She is a life-time member of both Azerbaijan Composer’s Union and Azerbaijan Association of Women in Music. In 2004 she joined the International Alliance for Women in Music and since 2007 is a Member of GEMA, Germany’s leading Performance Rights Organisation.

In 2007 she became a Winner of the International Composition Competition “Hamburger Klangwerktage 2007” in Hamburg, Germany. As a result, her winning piece “Sestinen über Vergänglichkeit” for soprano and piano – has been performed in Hamburg, Leipzig and Berlin.

Khadija has got a diverse and unique music portfolio, ranging from theatre, film, chamber and orchestra music, to the instrumental and vocal works. Her ability to combine unique Azerbaijani traditional and contemporary music, created a brand new style, which distinguishes her pieces from her peers. It’s therefore not surprising that Khadija’s works had caught so much attention from various international ensembles and won her many admirers.

(England / Berlin)

Avshalom Caspi

Avshalom Caspi is a composer based in London and Berlin. He received his education at the Royal College of Music and composes for orchestral ensembles, vocals, and electronic music.

His music has been featured in over 40 film, TV, and theater projects, and he was awarded the Best Film Music Prize at the Shanghai International Film Festival in 2012. He was also nominated for the Goya Award in 2012. His works include “De Tu Ventana a la Mia” / “Chrysalis” (Composer), “The Secret Diaries of Anne Lister” (Composer), as well as his involvement as a music producer in the Academy Award-winning film “Talk to Her” by Pedro Almodóvar. In addition, he has realized significant theatrical works such as “Hamlet,” “Macbeth,” and “Equus” with Ian Brown at the prestigious West Yorkshire Playhouse.

Avshalom has also collaborated with bands like Snow Patrol, Doves, and Bloc Party to create orchestral and choral arrangements for both recordings and live projects.

(Germany / Flensburg)

Robert Lillinger

Pianist, conductor, and composer Robert Lillinger (*1990) began his piano studies at the Hochschule Lausitz in Cottbus at the age of 16. In 2008, Lillinger moved to Vienna, where he continued his studies in piano, conducting, musicology, and historically informed performance practice at the University of Music and Performing Arts (mdw) and the musicology institute of the University of Vienna. In 2012, the Viennese music publisher Doblinger commissioned him to reconstruct Joseph Beer’s operetta “POLNISCHE HOCHZEIT” (1937). In 2017, Lillinger initiated the festival de la musique baroque française, abbreviated as femubaf, during which he presented lecture-recitals on French Baroque music, a scenic production of André Campra’s “IDOMENÉE” at the Schlosstheater Schönbrunn, and a concert in honor of composer Élisabeth Jacquet de La Guerre at the Palais Niederösterreich. He has worked as a répétiteur and music director at numerous festivals, including the Salzburg Festival, Oper Klosterneuburg, and Tiroler Festspiele Erl, collaborating with renowned singers such as Cornelia Horak, Jasmina Sakr, Heidi Brunner, Piotr Beczała, and soloists from the Vienna Philharmonic.

In the 2017/2018 season, he worked as a répétiteur, music director, and conducting assistant at the Theater an der Wien. In August 2018, Robert Lillinger assumed the position of ballet and solo répétiteur with conducting responsibilities at the Schleswig-Holsteinisches Landestheater in Flensburg.

(Israel / Berlin)

Yuval Halpern

Yuval was born in Israel and has been residing in Berlin since 2006. He completed his studies in media music composition at the Hanns Eisler School of Music under the guidance of Prof. Maria Baptist, earning his diploma. Prior to that, he earned his Bachelor’s degree in contemporary composition at the Koninklijk Conservatorium in The Hague, Netherlands, under the mentorship of Gilius van Bergijk. In addition to composing music for theater and film, Yuval also creates concert pieces.

His experimental theater production, “Soupversion,” earned him the Audience Award at the Arena Theater Festival in Erlangen in 2010. “Batman at the Checkpoint,” featuring Yuval’s original soundtrack, received the Today Award at the Berlinale in 2012. He is the recipient of the Berlin Opera Prize 2016 for his work, “Post Nuclear Love.”

Since September 2016, Yuval has served as the musical director and composer for the Young Ensemble at the Neuköllner Oper Berlin. In 2020, his latest opera, “Opera for Sale,” with direction and text by Felix Krakau, premiered at the Neuköllner Oper.

Yuval is the composer, singer, and musical director of “Sistanagila,” a world music ensemble consisting of musicians from Israel and Iran.


Valeri Tolstov

Valeri Tolstov, born on March 4, 1979, is an outstanding musician, composer, and multi-instrumentalist who is at home in various musical worlds. With impressive language skills in German, Russian, and Armenian, as well as a wide range of instruments in his repertoire, including organ, keyboards, flutes, guitar, and ethnic instruments, he has secured a solid place in the international music scene.

His musical journey began at renowned educational institutions, including the Yerevan State Conservatory, where he graduated with honors in organ and flute as his main subjects. He then continued his education at the Zurich University of the Arts, where he focused on the flute and also graduated with a concert diploma. His pursuit of excellence further led him to the Lucerne School of Music, where he obtained both a soloist diploma and a teaching diploma.

Valeri Tolstov has also made a name for himself in various music competitions, including the International Kuhlau Flute Competition in Germany, where he won second prize. In Switzerland, he received recognition through awards such as the “Kiwanis” prize, the “Kiefer-Hablitzel Prize,” and the “Nicati” Prize. His musical versatility was also internationally acknowledged with awards like the “ArmVision Music Awards” in Armenia and the “Russian World Music Awards” in Russia.

Valeri has collaborated with outstanding musicians in classical music as well as jazz, pop, and rock projects. His collaborations with artists like Tigran Hamasyan, Anton Davidyants, Serj Tankian (System of a Down), and Stewart Copeland (The Police) have further enriched his musical range.

A remarkable achievement in his musical career was the founding of his band “Authentic Light Orchestra,” with which he performed at international festivals and visited more than 70 cities around the world. Some of these concerts were broadcast on radio and television.

Valeri Tolstov has also showcased his skills in film music, working on projects such as “The Promise” (Hollywood) and “Kolovrat” (Mosfilm).

His latest CD production, “The Sky Is Cloudy,” was released by NAXOS and SRF2 and received the German Record Critics’ Award (Top 15), underscoring his musical excellence and commitment to the arts. Valeri Tolstov is undoubtedly an outstanding musician who enriches the world of music with his versatility and talent.


Sheba (Sebastian Gimm)

Sheba (Sebastian Gimm) creates indie pop music in German, English, and sometimes even French. They have just released their first EP titled “Viertel vor gut.” Their songs oscillate between gentle harmonies and cutting synths, passion and irony, light-hearted melodies, and quirky harmonies. Always new and always different, in their live performances, they expand the traditional singer-songwriter instrumentation with percussion bots, loops, and whatever else crosses their path. The EP “Viertel vor gut” was written, played, and produced by the duo themselves.

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