30 Years Sarband


«Sarband» means connection. In Mid-Eastern music theory, this term signifies a link between two compositions within a musical suite. Sarband invites most diverse audiences as well as most diverse performers «to come together»; it «binds» them to cultural experiences previously perceived as alien. 

Musical director Dr. Vladimir Ivanoff, who founded
Sarband in 1986, connects cultures, people and
epochs, both as a scholar and a musician: His programs unite musicians from widely different
cultures and musical backgrounds
and mediate
between past and present, Early Music and living traditions. 

The cooperation in the ensemble is not a fashionable
crossover, but conceived as a continuous dialogue
on equal terms. All the artists unrestrictedly contribute their native traditions, their personal histories and their own creativity to the programs, so that Sarband also becomes a musical training ground for communication and tolerance between different cultural identities.

Annual summer workshops with Sarband in Bayreuth connect music students from Germany
and Near Eastern countries.

   Workshop 2010


Vladimir Ivanoff«… For many years
now, Sarband have
been building
breathtaking bridges
between cultures and
religions … Their performances
count among the most exciting and beautiful concerts in the entire, extensive Early Music scene … Thus ears, eyes, hearts and minds of theenthralled audience were equally touched and
enchanted.» Franz Szabo, Kritisches Journal der Alten Musik (A), 6-12

«The music dances in the ears! … The connecting
semantics of the world language music could not be
pictured more beautifully … it sounded as if heaven
and earth touched, … an island of bliss, where cultures walked hand in hand.» Wolfgang Nussbaumer, Gmünder Tagespost, 20.07.07


While today the religious, economic, cultural and political differences between Orient and Occident
are inthe focus of public attention, Sarband endeavor
to show that music has always been not mere decoration, but an enlightened means of mutual respect and can even today be an example for understanding and acceptance, a model of peace.

Possible peaceful relations between Orient and
Occident, between religions, have become
commonplace in recent cultural activities.
Many projects worldwide try to convey the message
that Orient and Occident belong together,
that different religions can communicate, but -
like worldwide politics - they don't show how these
goals can be achieved.

With their programs, Sarband in contrast demonstrate the importance of the past for the future: history proves that religious, cultural, political
conflictshave indeed been solved successfully,
but always through personal devotion of human
beings to their personal beliefs and their tolerance
towards the diversity of human beings.

Sarband received numerous awards, among them:

Weltmusikpreis 20081994
Grammy Nomination

2003 & 2006
Echo Klassik

Premio Mousiké

German World Music Award

Zelta Mikrofons Award (Baltic Grammy)

«You could hardly have hoped for a finale better suited to the theme than «Passio-Compassio», the Ensemble Sarband concert that closed the festival on Saturday evening at Alice Tully Hall. The Sarband approach is elegant, though not timid in its wresting of Bach's music from its Western moorings, but Vladimir Ivanoff, the group's director and arranger, has an unfailing instinct for finding musical ground where his transformations seem natural.»
Allan Kozinn, The New York Times (USA), 21.11.11

«Sarband's music speaks for itself -
their message of intercultural understanding does not
need any explanations.» Frank Heindl, DAZ (Germany), 11.11.09

»But yes! The solution of the Middle East conflict
lies in the hands of music. Tell it to the politicians!
The proof was given yesterday evening at the
Accademia di Santa Cecilia.» Mya Tannenbaum,
Corriere della Sera (Italy), 03.04.07

"A kiss of tolerance.« Ralf Döring, Osnabrücker Zeitung (Germany), 21.08.07

«An immense ode to peace.» Alain Maestracci, Nice Matin (France), 10.08.03


Programs with Early Music repertoires link historically informed European performance practice with the living traditions of the Mediterranean. In co-operations with other ensembles (for example the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra, Lucerne Symphony Orchestra, Bremen Philharmonic, Dresden Philharmonic, Ensemble Resonanz, RIAS Chamber Choir, Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui, King's Singers, Concerto Köln, Mystère des Voix Bulgares), distinctions between cultures and religions, between old and new are fathomed; historical and modern concepts of the Other and the Foreign are reflected between the performers and the audience. 

With this unique repertoire, stretching from early
Chinese music to Sami joiks, from Early Oriental
Christian chant to the music of Gurdjieff, Sarband have gained an international reputation, released numerous CDs and performed at many international venues and festivals; mentioning only a few: 

Sheik Zayed Book Award, Abu Dhabi /
Holland Festival, Amsterdam / Baalbek-Festival,
Lebanon / Berliner Festspiele / Komische Oper, Berlin / Philharmonie Berlin / Beethovenfest, Bonn / Boston Early Music Festival / Bruges, Cultural Capital of Europe / Festival van Vlaanderen, Bruges / Romanischer Sommer, Cologne / Philharmonie,
Cologne / Copenhagen, Cultural Capital of Europe / Dresdner Festspiele / Frauenkirche, Dresden /
Frankfurt Book Fair / Graz, Cultural Capital of Europe / Styriarte, Graz / Istanbul-Festival / Jerusalem 2000 / Spitalfields Festival, London / Lufthansa Baroque Festival, London / UCLA, Los Angeles / Ludwigsburger Festspiele / Festival de Madrid / Festival de Menton / Mostly Mozart & White Light Festivals, Lincoln Center, New York City/ Théâtre de laVille, Paris / Rheingau-Festival / Riga, Cultural Capitalof Europe / Accademia di
Sa. Cecilia, Rome / Ruhrtriennale / Schleswig-HolsteinMusikfestival / Schwetzinger Festspiele / Singapore Arts Festival / Thessaloniki, Cultural Capital of Europe & Musikverein, Vienna / Library of Congress, Washington.

Tonfolgen 2012

«The best is saved for last: … It was like a musical
message of peace that was sent out into almost the
whole world from the Egidienkirche via radio: …  A moving finale, enduring applause.» Jens Voskamp,Nürnberger Nachrichten (Germany), 31.05.11

«… voices that transport us to other worlds …»
Martin Caroso, ABC (USA), 27.10.09 

«Ensemble Sarband plays and sings the stars
out of the sky.» Danielle de Regt, De Standaard (Belgium), 11.02.08