In 2013 a group of Kraków-based instrumentalists shared stage as part of the European Workshop for Contemporary Music, conducted by maestro Rüdiger Bohn. Having then played together at Darmstadt’s Internationale Ferienkurse für Neue Musik, the musicians—persuaded by Martyna Zakrzewska, Mateusz Rusowicz, and Piotr Peszat—established an independent body. A couple of events held in a community centre by one of the town’s exit roads and in a then neglected and declining theatre-slash-cinema marked the beginnings of Spółdzielnia Muzyczna contemporary ensemble (literally, ‘Musicians Associated’—but we would like to remain known under our Polish name), a group who specialise in performing new music, awarded the Ensemble Prize from Ernst von Siemens Musikstiftung in 2021.

Spółdzielnia Muzyczna have been featured repeatedly at the town’s as well as the country’s most important music events, including the International Festival of Contemporary Music ‘Warsaw Autumn’, Kraków’s Sacrum Profanum, Audio Art, and unsound, Musica Moderna in Łódź, NeoArte in Gdańsk, the Festival of Traditional and Avantgarde Music ‘KODY’ in Lublin, and Musica Polonica Nova in Wrocław. In 2020 the group performed at the Młodzi Muzycy Młodemu Miastu 2.0 festival in Stalowa Wola, so contributing to one of Poland’s formative cyclical contemporary music events being reinstituted after a hiatus of forty years. In the 2022 season the ensemble presented their original programmes of 20th- and 21st-century classics with the series Sacrum Profanum: INTERACTION.

During the summer of 2018 Spółdzielnia Muzyczna participated in the Ensemble-Akademie Freiburg, a contemporary chamber music masterclass where they learned from ensemble recherche. In 2022 they were invited, as one of four emerging ensembles, to take part in Young Ensemble Academy in Frankfurt with Ensemble Modern. In their hometown of Kraków the group themselves pursue several educational activities within the field of new music: it has been eight years already of instrumental workshops and competitions for young composers as well as live and illustrated discussions of new music given to possibly diverse audiences.

In their programmes Spółdzielnia combine classic works of 20th-century music with compositions by younger generations, also embracing experimentation and multimedia. The ensemble has collaborated with Zygmunt Krauze, Agata Zubel, Joanna Bailie, Óscar Escudero, David Fennessy, Johannes Kreidler, Artur Zagajewski, Ricardo Eizirik, Monika Szpyrka, Andrzej Kwieciński, Marta Śniady, Paweł Malinowski, Jacek Sotomski, Aleksander Nowak, Cezary Duchnowski, Matthew Shlomowitz, Trond Reinholdtsen, Piotr Tabakiernik, and Piotr Peszat, among others. The repertoire also covers such composers as Gérard Grisey, Franco Donatoni, Giacinto Scelsi, Olivier Messiaen, Pierre Boulez, Luciano Berio, Morton Feldman, George Crumb, Georges Aperghis, and Salvatore Sciarrino.