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Guide to the Brussels Philharmonic and Vlaams Radiokoor

« [...] This was fabulous music-making and it came from the heart.  »
Marc Haegeman, Bachtrack

The Brussels Philharmonic was founded in 1935 by the Belgian public broadcaster (National Broadcasting Institute (NIR/INR). Since its creation, it has worked with top international conductors and soloists. The orchestra was and is known to be a pioneer in performing contemporary music, a reputation that brought world-renowned composers such as Bartók, Stravinsky and Messiaen to Brussels. To this day, the Brussels Philharmonic is continuing this tradition, including a 21st-century work in almost every concert programme.The orchestra’s historic homeport is the Flagey building in Brussels, the heart of Europe. The French top conductor Stéphane Denève is themusic director of the Brussels Philharmonic. His passion for 21st-century music and personal mission to create dialogue between the repertoire of the past and the future is fully in keeping with the orchestra’s DNA. This commitment finds expression not only in the concert programmes and recordings, but also in the CffOR platform (Centre for Future Orchestral Repertoire).This online database seeks to collect core information about symphonic compositions since the year 2000, and thus to initiate a broad international dialogue about compositions that will withstand the test of time. At an international level, the Brussels Philharmonic has made a name for itself, with regular appearances in major European venues and festivals. Another speciality for which the Brussels Philharmonic has gained an international reputation is the recording of soundtracks for series, games and films, including the Oscar-winning score for ‘The Artist’. In Belgium, the orchestra is a regular partner of the Film Fest Gent and of MotorMusic, and participates each year in concerts with iconic films (both blockbusters with award-winning scores and black-and-white classics with a new soundtrack). Meanwhile, the orchestra has proven to be a pioneer in other respects as well. Besides its ground-breaking initiatives under way, including the Tax Shelter, the establishment of a foundation for the purchase of string instruments, and more recently the partnership with Brussels Airlines, the orchestra embraces innovation in every area and all levels of its activities. The various CD series recorded by the Brussels Philharmonic (Deutsche Grammophon, Palazzetto Bru Zane,Warner/Erato Classics, Film Fest Gent, Brussels Philharmonic Recordings) have received international acclaim, with awards such as the ECHO Klassik, the Caecilia prize, the CHOC of the Year by Classica and a Diapason d’Or of the Year. 

The Brussels Philharmonic is an institution of the Flemish Community.

The Vlaams Radiokoor (Flemish Radio Choir) was founded in 1937 by the Belgian public broadcaster of the day. Today, the Vlaams Radiokoor is renowned for vocal music in Flanders and Europe, and is counted among the top ensembles both at home and abroad.

As of 2019-20, Bart Van Reyn is the musical director of the Radiokoor. A shared passion for contemporary repertoire, the belief that the voice is the ultimate interpreter of our emotions, and the commitment to make our vocal heritage accessible to singers and audiences alike are what binds the ensemble together.

Based in Studio 1 in Flagey (Brussels), the 32 singers of the Vlaams Radiokoor are working on a musical project built on three major pillars. First and foremost, the Vocal Fabric productions – the laboratory of the Radiokoor. Vocal Fabric organizes concerts that test the boundaries of vocal music and are challenging, quirky and non-conformist. With great hospitality and an intense experience as the golden thread, we bring together the people on stage and those in the hall: vocal harmony is proof that people are more magnificent together than alone.

In addition, the choir works regularly with renowned instrumental ensembles from Belgium and abroad, such as the Brussels Philharmonic, the Orchestre de chambre de Paris, Les Siècles, the Radio Filharmonisch Orkest and the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra. In this way, the Radiokoor has gradually built up its presence on various international stages.

Lastly, the Vlaams Radiokoor is and remains a living portal for repertoire, knowledge, experience and voices. It makes our vocal heritage accessible to singers and the audience, while also investing in the creation of new vocal works. The choir thus shares its programme, technique and expertise with music lovers, amateurs and professionals.

The Vlaams Radiokoor also retains its unique status as a radio choir: a great many concert productions are recorded, and hence the choir has built up a unique collection of live recordings. The collection is constantly supplemented with a selection of studio recordings, thus preserving the vocal heritage for the future.

The Vlaams Radiokoor is an institution of the Flemish Community.