Asko Ensemble is a Dutch chamber orchestra that specialises in contemporary classical music. Formed in 1965 and based in Amsterdam, the group performs regular concerts along with film music programs, dance and multimedia projects, and modern opera. The ensemble did not initially have a regular conductor, working with Riccardo Chailly, Oliver Knussen, Reinbert de Leeuw, George Benjamin, Stefan Asbury, and Peter Rundel.
The Asko Ensemble has released nearly one hundred recordings, featuring works by Louis Andriessen, Roberto Carnevale, Elliott Carter, György Ligeti, Bruno Maderna, Olivier Messiaen, Edgar Varèse, Claude Vivier, Iannis Xenakis, and many others.
First performances include:
Brian Ferneyhough's Terrain (Amsterdam, April 1992).,
Karlheinz Stockhausen's Orchester-Finalisten from Mittwoch aus Licht (Amsterdam, 14 June 1996).,
Ligeti's Hamburg Concerto (Hamburg, 20 January 2001) with its dedicatee, Marie Luise Neunecker.,
Michel van der Aa's opera After Life (Amsterdam, 6 February 2006).,
Ermis Theodorakis' Music for 5 (Amsterdam, 17 April 2006).,
Mary Finsterer's In Praise of Darkness (Amsterdam, 23 April 2009), which won the A$25,000 Paul Lowin Orchestral Prize for 2009.,
Julian Anderson's The Comedy of Change (London, 8 September 2009).,
After performing and recording together many times, the Asko Ensemble and the Schönberg Ensemble merged on 1 September 2008 to become Asko|Schönberg, with Reinbert de Leeuw as conductor. The new group formalised the union with a Messiaen concert on 1 January 2009.