Orchestras and conductors
Orchestre Royal de Chambre de Wallonie
In 1958, Lola Bobesco created “Les Solistes de Bruxelles” [Brussels Soloists], renamed “Ensemble d’archets Eugène Ysaÿe” [Eugène Ysaÿe String Ensemble], now known as the ‘Orchestre Royal de Chambre de Wallonie’ [Royal Chamber Orchestra of Wallonia]. Following the last Music Directors, Augustin Dumay (2003-2013) and Frank Braley (2014-2019), Vahan Mardirossian took the baton to continue their work of excellence.
The orchestra has worked together regularly with the biggest names in music on the most important international stages, as well as performing regularly in Mons, the Cultural Capital of the Wallonia-Brussels Federation and the European Capital of Culture 2015 : José Van Dam, Mstislav Rostropovitch, Aldo Ciccolini, Mischa Maisky, Maurice André, Arthur Grumiaux, Philippe Hirschhorn, Georges Octors, Jean-Pierre Wallez, Gidon Kremer, Louis Lortie, Jian Wang, Ivry Gitlis, Antoine Tamestit, Henri Demarquette, Richard Galliano, the Modigliani Quartet, Jean-Philippe Collard, Gérard Caussé, Renaud and Gautier Capuçon, Augustin Dumay, Maria-João Pires ; in Paris, Beijing, Abu Dhabi, Amsterdam, Rotterdam, Bucharest, Bayreuth, Munich, Luxembourg, Zurich, Geneva, Saint Petersburg, Brussels, etc.
The orchestra is a regular partner of the Queen Elisabeth Competition since more than twenty years, the Queen Elisabeth Music Chapel, and many Belgian and international music festivals. The Royal Chamber Orchestra of Wallonia performs often under the direction of Jean-François Chamberlan, its principal violinist.
In Mons, with Mars (Mons Arts de la Scène) [Mons Performing Arts], and the support of the City of Mons, the orchestra gives concerts with a diversified and original repertoire. It presents concerts for young audiences and offers services to young artists from the Mons Academy of Music and ARTS2 (École Supérieure des Arts).
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Paul Meyer
Since attracting attention as a clarinettist at the first Eurovision competition for young musicians in 1982, Paul Meyer has surprised music-lovers again and again. Recognised at an early age as an outstanding instrumentalist, he went on to a career marked by fruitful encounters and performances in the great concert halls with eminent musicians such as Benny Goodman, Isaac Stern, Mstislav Rostropovich, Jean-Pierre Rampal, Martha Argerich, Yuri Bashmet, Gidon Kremer, and Yehudi Menuhin.

Always keen to explore intense musical sensations, he soon took up orchestral conducting, while continuing to develop as a solo clarinettist with the Ensemble Intercontemporain and later with the Opéra National de Paris, where he benefited from the experience of a number of great masters: Seiji Ozawa, Georges Prêtre, Daniel Barenboim, Herbert von Karajan, Sir Georg Solti, and Claudio Abbado. This was an ideal position from which to observe conductors’ work from behind the scenes and to benefit from their invaluable advice, in what was undoubtedly the best of schools.

His encounters with Pierre Boulez and Luciano Berio were turning points in his career and in the development of the repertoire for his instrument, through the premieres of concertos written for him by contemporary composers such as Krzysztof Penderecki, Michael Jarrell, Qigang Chen, Thierry Escaich, and Pascal Dusapin. These pieces were given their first performances at major festivals such as those of Salzburg, Vienna, and Amsterdam.

Since founding the Orchestre de Chambre d’Alsace, Paul Meyer has been invited to conduct Europe’s finest chamber orchestras, from Zurich to Potsdam, including the Scottish Chamber Orchestra, the Prague Philharmonia, and the Ensemble Orchestral de Paris. He went on to conduct symphony orchestras, including those of Strasbourg, Bordeaux, Toulouse, Radio France, Belgrade, Hamburg, and Taiwan, as well as the Russian National Orchestra.

While continuing to play his own instrument and to enjoy a unique international standing as a clarinettist, he developed an impressive career as a conductor, attracting the attention of the great English teacher - of Sir Simon Rattle, among others - John Carewe, who appointed him as his assistant. Over a number of seasons, Paul Meyer developed his conducting skills under Marek Janowski, Emmanuel Krivine, and Chung Myung-Whun, who appointed him associate conductor of the Seoul Philharmonic Orchestra. Over three seasons, he conducted this prestigious ensemble in more than thirty programmes.

His work as a conductor, based on a deep understanding and experience of orchestral practice, led to invitations to conduct Asia’s leading orchestras: the Tokyo Philharmonic, the China Philharmonic Orchestra, the Shanghai Philharmonic, the Taipei Symphony Orchestra, and the Orchestra Ensemble Kanazawa.

His discography includes more than forty works, recorded for Deutsche Grammophon, Sony, RCA, EMI, and Virgin; these recordings have won awards such as the Diapason d’or, the Schallplatte des Monats, and the Grammy Award. This year, Paul Meyer has recorded with the Brussels Philharmonic, the Stuttgarter Kammerorchester, and the Orchestre de Chambre de Lausanne.

This season has seen Paul Meyer divide his time between his activities as a soloist, as a conductor, and in chamber music, working with the Philharmonique de Radio France, the Prague Philharmonia, the Tonkünstler Orchester, and the Orchestre de Chambre de Lausanne, among others.
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National Orchestra of Belgium
Ever since it was founded in 1936, the National Orchestra of Belgium has been a fervent advocate of symphonic music, both traditional and modern, under a succession of creative, inspired Music Directors. These have included André Cluytens, Michael Gielen, Mikko Franck, and Walter Weller - and, since September 2013, the Russian-born conductor Andrey Boreyko, whose wealth of experience has included collaborations with a number of renowned ensembles in Europe and the United States.

The orchestra’s expressive and refined playing, together with the discernment of its programming choices, enables it to reach a broad public in concerts throughout Belgium and in the course of its foreign tours. The NOB plays particularly frequently in the prestigious concert hall of the Brussels Centre for Fine Arts, where it presents its own concert series in collaboration with Bozar Music. In addition to its own Music Director, Andrey Boreyko, the NOB welcomes outstanding guest conductors, who make it possible to explore other perspectives.

The orchestra has accompanied internationally celebrated soloists such as Hélène Grimaud, Vadim Repin, and Gidon Kremer, as well as operatic stars such as Roberto Alagna, Jonas Kaufmann, Rolando Villazón, Anna Netrebko, and Juan Diego Flórez. But the orchestra is also developing lasting bonds with young musicians such as Plamena Mangova, Lorenzo Gatto, and Yossif Ivanov, thanks to its excellent collaborative relationship with the Queen Elisabeth Music Chapel and the Queen Elisabeth Competition.

The NOB is very much part of a society in constant evolution and regularly commissions new work from talented composers, who may well be the creators of tomorrow’s masterpieces ; it offers opportunities to young talent, while also rediscovering less well-known works and opening up to film music and the best popular music. Through a wide range of projects for children and young people, contact is established with future generations of listeners. Through its active involvement in all these activities, the NOB takes its place at the heart of an ever-changing society and considerably extends its own field of operation.

Between 2007 and 2012, recordings conducted by Walter Weller were released annually on Fuga Libera ; many of these were recognised as outstanding by the international music press. A number of them, including those of Josef Suk’s Asrael Symphony, Richard Strauss’s Ein Heldenleben, and Johannes Brahms’s First Piano Concerto (with Plamena Mangova) have attracted international attention. In recent years, moreover, the NOB has continued to reinforce and expand its reputation outside Belgium, particularly in Japan, Spain, and Switzerland - and, more recently, in Germany and central Europe.
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Marin Alsop
United States of America
Marin Alsop is an inspiring and powerful voice in the international music scene, a Music Director of vision and distinction who passionately believes that ‘music has the power to change lives’. She is recognised across the world for her innovative approach to programming and for her deep commitment to education and to the development of audiences of all ages.

Her outstanding success as Music Director of the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra since 2007 has been recognised by two extensions in her tenure, now confirmed until 2021. As part of her artistic leadership in Baltimore, Marin Alsop has created bold initiatives that have contributed to the wider community and reached new audiences. In 2008 she launched ‘OrchKids’, which provides music education, instruments, meals and mentorship to the city’s neediest young people. Engaging the local community, the BSO Academy and Rusty Musicians schemes also allow adult amateur musicians the chance to play alongside members of the orchestra under Alsop’s baton.

Alsop took up the post of Principal Conductor of the São Paulo Symphony Orchestra (OSESP) in 2012 and became Music Director in July 2013. She continues to steer the orchestra in its artistic and creative programming, recording ventures and its education and outreach activities. Alsop led the orchestra on a European tour in 2012, with acclaimed performances at the BBC Proms in London and at the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam; they returned to Europe in October 2013, with concerts in Berlin, London, Paris, Salzburg and Vienna. Since 1992, Marin Alsop has been Music Director of California’s Cabrillo Festival of Contemporary Music, where she has built a devoted audience for new music. Building an orchestra is one of Alsop’s great gifts, and she retains strong links with all of her previous orchestras - Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra (Principal Conductor 2002-8; now Conductor Emeritus) and Colorado Symphony Orchestra (Music Director 1993-2005; now Music Director Laureate). Marin Alsop has guest-conducted the great orchestras of the world: Philadelphia, Cleveland, Los Angeles Philharmonic, Royal Concertgebouw, La Scala Philharmonic, Orchestre de Paris, Bavarian Radio Symphony. Alsop has a close relationship with the London Symphony Orchestra (LSO) and London Philharmonic Orchestra (LPO), appearing with both most seasons, as well as with the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment. She is also Artist in Residence at the Southbank Centre in London.

In September 2013, Marin Alsop made history as the first female conductor of the BBC’s Last Night of the Proms in London. 2014/15 highlights include a European tour with the LPO and a Remembrance Day performance of Britten War Requiem at Southbank Centre with young musicians from the Royal Academy of Music and the National Youth Choir of Great Britain. Marin Alsop is the recipient of numerous awards and is the only conductor to receive the prestigious MacArthur Fellowship, given to US residents in recognition of exceptional creative work. She was the only classical musician to be included in The Guardian’s ‘Top 100 women’, celebrating the centenary of International Women’s Day in 2011. In 2012 Alsop was presented with Honorary Membership (HonRAM) of the Royal Academy of Music, London, and was named an Honorary Member of the Royal Philharmonic Society in 2014.

Alsop’s extensive discography on Naxos includes a notable set of Brahms symphonies with the LPO, Brahms Ein deutsches Requiem with the MDR Leipzig Radio Choir and Symphony Orchestra and a highly-praised Dvoøák series with the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra. The first disc of her Prokofiev symphonic cycle with OSESP was Orchestral Choice in BBC Music Magazine. Alsop has also recorded for Decca Classics, Harmonia Mundi and Sony Classical.

Born in New York City, Marin Alsop attended Yale University and received her Master's Degree from The Juilliard School. Her conducting career was launched when, in 1989, she was a prize-winner at the Leopold Stokowski International Conducting Competition and in the same year was the first woman to be awarded the Koussevitzky Conducting Prize from the Tanglewood Music Center, where she was a pupil of Leonard Bernstein.
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