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Concertgebouw Brugge

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  • (c) Ellen De Meulemeester

17-18 is not just any new season

Dear audience,

You’re already accustomed to us embarking on a new story in each new season’s programme, but what you’ll discover in this brochure is actually a whole new Concertgebouw. Seasons always entail a metamorphosis, but this time that change is even more explicit, as you’ll have realised when you saw the cover, which not only revealed our new logo, but also bore a portrait of a girl on the threshold of a new phase in her life. This photo is the starting point for a series of virtuoso transformations, brought about by Season’s Artist Emilie Lauwers using various techniques. You can witness these transformations for yourself in this brochure’s photo section and in the exhibition that opens in September.


The season’s theme Metamorphosis refers to innovations made in a variety of areas: architectural, with the new layout of the entrance hall; communicational, with a new style; and content-related, with other emphases, new formats and new partners. And, naturally, we are also examining what metamorphosis can mean in art:

  • Variation Series, in which a theme repeatedly takes on different forms.
  • Arrangements that give compositions a different colour (with a Bach Academy Bruges that features arrangements of and by Bach).
  • Composers whose language evolves substantially during their career.
  • Transformation of the artist during a dance performance (with, as curator of December Dance, choreographer Christian Rizzo, for whom transformation is an essential part of his work).
  • Folk melodies that take on different dimensions in large-scale symphonies (with a Budapest Festival dedicated to Gustav Mahler's folk-song settings).
  • Monophonic Gregorian chants, transformed during the Renaissance into polyphonic cathedrals of sound (during the brand-new festival Gold. Bruges voices from the Renaissance).

Masterly Magic, with The Four Seasons as a metaphor: featuring both Vivaldi’s Baroque evergreen and the transformed, derivative versions of Max Richter and Astor Piazzolla.

The Concertgebouw surprises

With new themes for the successful MAfestival, December Dance, Bach Academy Bruges, Budapest Festival and brand-new polyphony festival Gold, we once again bring you priceless moments of rapture and surprise. But we also want to surprise you with the unknown. Think of non-Western art, such as the monks of the Shaolin Temple, the percussion of an Iranian great master, or Indonesian dance with a gamelan orchestra. Think of the wealth of new creations you'll discover, among other places, during the Beat It! Festival!: percussion seeking to interface with video art, technology and dance. We also want to tempt you with new concert experiences: the unexpected will become the new norm, with performances in churches and living rooms, with surround experiences, musical salons, performance trails and open-air projects.

The Concertgebouw gives artists wings

Each year the Concertgebouw welcomes more than 3,000 artists and builds an enduring relationship with them, particularly with our resident artists, whose number increases this season. Our established names - ​​Anima Eterna Brugge and Rosas - are being joined by new generation artists: vocal ensemble Vox Luminis, choreographer duo ECCE and the contemporary music collective Nadar.

Talent Counts, as you can hear and see for yourself in the Chamber Music series and the December Dance Platform. New is the FRONT project, curated by our youth group Soundcast. In the spring, young musicians are selected and coached by the Concertgebouw and by LOD to create an out-of-the-box music performance. The Concertgebouw is also once again investing in many new creations. Beat it! features new works by Serge Verstockt and Wim Henderickx. From this season, the Opera 21 music theatre festival will also be visiting Bruges biennially. Highlights this season are new compositions by Frederik Neyrinck, who becomes our first Season’s Composer, and by Gavin Bryars.

The Concertgebouw explores in-depth

Themes and stories need further explanation, a task we fully embrace with a comprehensive programme of lectures, debates, courses and, starting this season, a Season’s Thinker. Alicja Gescinska illuminates and expounds on the various contents in both spoken and written word. Great attention is paid to the creative process, the fascinating journey an artist undertakes to arrive at an artwork. Lecture performances by musicians and dancers offer a completely different insight. In-depth context activities make the link with other art forms and with social issues. Architecture, literature and visual art feature in collaborations with partners, who, in their turn, make the link with music and dance.

The Concertgebouw attracts a diverse audience

The motto of Klara’s annual celebration, Iedereen Klassiek, perfectly sums up what the Concertgebouw aims for with all of its activities: to enrich everyone’s life with music and dance. For years the Concertgebouw has been developing an extensive leisure-time programme for schools (more than 350 activities!) and children (family performances, the KRIKRAK festival…). Starting this season, many more participatory projects will be added to cater for various target groups: among other things, a trail for people with disabilities, workshops and performances for amateurs and a multi-day encounter between audience and artists. A lot of those new projects tie in with a noteworthy new programme section: the Masterpiece Weeks. During each of them, we’ll comprehensively explore a musical masterpiece: five different Masterpieces from five different centuries. Together with partners such as Musica and the Davidsfonds, we’ll invite you to expand your musical knowledge - or experience the music differently - during a variety of activities. And all of this will be topped off with a top-level performance. In The Masterpiece Week built around Beethoven's Ninth Symphony there will, for example, be two lecture performances, a creative project for children who are deaf or hearing-impaired, a family performance, a listening course and ... Lounge Ludwig, during which the entire Concertgebouw becomes a buzzing beehive, where  it’s fun to flit between excerpts of score, musicians who tell you all about their own particular instrument, and the Emoti-Chair, which allows you to feel the vibrations of music and sound. New ideas and accents keep the Concertgebouw young and vibrant. We are shedding our old arts centre skin for a new one, so that we can continue to be sensitive to what is happening and continue to give you the powerful artistic activity you have come to expect from us, with opportunities and unforgettable experiences for both the artists and the audience. I wish you a stirring, enlightening and transforming Concertgebouw season.


Jeroen Vanacker

Artistic Director