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Guide to the Brussels Philharmonic and Vlaams Radiokoor

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« The Brussels Philharmonic was in outstanding form. »
Marc Haegeman, 2019
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About the Brussels Philharmonic

“The world needs symphonic music. And symphonic music needs the world.” That is the firm belief of the Brussels Philharmonic. As a symphony orchestra founded in 1935 under the auspices of the Belgian public broadcaster, unveiling the symphonic world as best it can is deep in the orchestra's DNA. By innovating while maintaining full respect for the value of the past, Brussels Philharmonic keeps the symphonic music of the past, present and future relevant and inspiring.

The vision of music director, Kazushi Ono, an experienced conductor whose reputation crosses continents, cultures and genres, overlaps in so many ways with that of the orchestra: the authenticity with which the great repertoire is kept alive, the permanent quest for innovation and evolution, the commitment to giving the music of today and tomorrow a central role, and the passion for sharing the love of symphonic music widely and generously.

That sharing takes place first and foremost in the historic Studio 4 in Flagey in Brussels, where the orchestra rehearses, performs and throws open the doors to its activities, as well as on the major stages and at festivals in Flanders. The orchestra’s international reputation comes to the fore in its specialisation in recording soundtracks (including the Oscar-winning music for ‘The Artist’), the many successful recordings for labels such as Deutsche Grammophon, and the ambitious projects on prestigious stages around the world (Carnegie Hall, New York, Philharmonie de Paris, Musikverein Wien, Grosses Festspielhaus Salzburg, Cadogan Hall, London).

The Brussels Philharmonic focuses resolutely on 4 areas, each of which is intended to bring people together around symphonic music: 

1/ Brussels Philharmonic Bucket List: a own distinctive selection of the great symphonic repertoire, with works that the orchestra believes you must hear live in a concert hall at least once in your life. 

2/ Brussels Philharmonic Atelier: back to the source of symphonic music, the art of playing music in a smaller formation, working carefully and in depth, with extra attention to delicate details. 

3/ Brussels Philharmonic Lab: a place where contemporary music is given the leading role, researched and tested, and exposed to other arts or forms of performance. A radical decision to experiment and focus on the future, with guest conductor Ilan Volkov. 

4/ Film & Festival: as a former broadcast orchestra, the Brussels Philharmonic has a deeply rooted love of film music. The orchestra shares it's knowledge and expertise with partners and festivals.

Brussels Philharmonic is an institution of the Flemish Community.

About the Vlaams Radiokoor

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.

The young Belgian conductor 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, Il Gardelino, 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.