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The Brussels Philharmonic was founded in 1935 by the Belgian public broadcaster (NIR/INR). Over the years, the orchestra has performed with many top conductors and soloists. It enjoys an excellent reputation for performing premieres of new works and has collaborated with world-renowned composers such as Bartók, Stravinsky, Messiaen and Francesconi. The orchestra’s historic home port is the Flagey building, where it rehearses and performs in Studio 4 – in acoustic terms one of the top concert halls in the world – and which serves as its home base for concerts in Brussels, Flanders and Europe.

Stéphane Denève takes over the baton in the 2015-2016 season from Michel Tabachnik as musical director. This top French conductor is coming to Brussels with a clear mission: he plans to design his programmes to combine 21st century music with the great classics, thereby opening up a dialogue between the repertoire of the past and that of the future. In the words of Stéphane Denève: “The Brussels Philharmonic will perform works that may become the 21st-century repertoire: we are looking for works that orchestras enjoy playing and the audience enjoys listening to. A pioneering project!” 

The new platform that Denève and the Brussels Philharmonic are launching will play an important role in this regard: CFFOR (Centre for Future Orchestral Repertoire) is seeking 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 the international level, the Brussels Philharmonic has made a name for itself, with regular appearances in the major European capitals (including Paris, London, Berlin, Vienna, Salzburg). The appointment of Stéphane Denève and international representation by IMG Artists will bring further tours and concerts on new stages both in Europe and beyond. 

Another speciality for which the Brussels Philharmonic has gained an international reputation is film music. For the performance and recording of soundtracks it regularly partners with Galaxy Studios and Film Fest Gent. International recognition has come, among others, in the form of the Oscar-winning score for ‘The Artist’ (music by Ludovic Bource). 

Meanwhile, the orchestra has proven to be a pioneer in other respects as well. Besides its ground-breaking initiatives under way, including the spin-off from the film music ‘Scoring Flanders’ and the establishment of a foundation for the purchase of string instruments (with Puilaetco Dewaay Private Bankers), the orchestra embraces innovation in every area and all levels of its activities. 

Along with various partners, the Brussels Philharmonic is working on a number of CD series: one with Klara involving Flemish soloists, another with the Palazzetto Bru Zane and conductor Hervé Niquet focused on French Romantic music, and still another with Film Fest Ghent devoted to great film music composers. With its own label, Brussels Philharmonic Recordings, the orchestra is issuing reference recordings of the great symphonic repertoire that are gaining international acclaim.

Former chief conductor Michel Tabachnik (2008 – 2015) will retain a close link to Brussels Philharmonic as Conductor Emeritus.

The Brussels Philharmonic is an institution of the Flemish Community. The gentlemen of the orchestra are dressed by Café Costume.

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Brussels Philharmonic

Photo Credit: Chris Hofer

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