Charles Ives: Universe, Incomplete

Accentus Music will film Charles Ives‘ unfinished „Universe Symphony“ in a new production of the Ruhrtriennale at the Jahrhunderthalle Bochum.

  • Charles Ives © Accentus Music

  • Jahrhunderthalle Bochum © Frank Rogner

“In case I don’t get to finishing this, somebody might like to try to work out the idea, and the sketch that I’ve already done would make more sense to anybody looking at it with this explanation.” Inspired by these tempting words, stage director Christoph Marthaler, conductor Titus Engel and the stage designer Anna Viebrock develop their own highly individual perspective on an uncompleted project by the American composer Charles Ives (1875–1954): the „Universe Symphony“, which is one of the great utopian works of the 20th century.

It is utopian because Charles Ives conceived it as a sonic event that would explode all classical forms of performance. It is also utopian because he never completed it – instead continually composing it anew. It is an unfinished jumble consisting of notes, sheets of sketches, and pages of score.

Using only sections of the work that were actually composed, Christoph Marthaler, Titus Engel and Anna Viebrock create a scenic and musical environment in the Jahrhunderthalle Bochum in which the instrumental soloists, together with the Bochumer Symphoniker and an ensemble made up of actors, dancers and singers, will look back from a distant future on our life today and fantasize a future out of the present. Other compositions by Charles Ives independent of the Universe Symphony will occupy the lacunae within the incomplete universe.

This project was still initiated by the late Lothar Mattner. We miss him very much - as a colleague, as a friend, and as one of the strongest fighters for high quality music programs on TV ever.

Production Company Accentus Music GmbH
Co-Production Company WDR/Arte
Assoc. Prod. Company Ruhrtriennale
Composer Charles Ives



TV and cinema screenings – The Feeling of Going

3 minutes West

3 minutes West’s capture of The Feeling of Going from Skånes Dansteater and Malmö Opera is screened in cinemas across Sweden.

Venice TV Award - Celebrating the Masterpieces of Television

IMZ International Music + Media Centre

The international VENICE TV AWARD has been launched as a tribute to TV and will bring national and international recognition for quality content. Submission is open until 15 July.

Accentus Music on Gramophone’s Top 10 Bruckner Recordings

Accentus Music

The Gramophone Magazine has included two Accentus Music productions with Claudio Abbadoi and the LFO in its list of Top 10 Bruckner recordings.

IMZ at Sunny Side of the Doc 2018

IMZ International Music + Media Centre

Sunny Side of the Doc took place from 25-28 June in La Rochelle, France and has become a major international marketplace for documentary and specialist factual content across all platforms.


Benefit from exclusive insights + opportunties with a thematic variety of IMZ Mailings to choose from.

By clicking "SUBSCRIBE" you consent that your data can be processed by the IMZ International Music + Media Centre for the purposes of processing your inquiry.