Antony Hermus as new Chief Conductor of the Belgian National Orchestra
Belgian National Orchestra opts for innovation and chooses Dutchman Antony Hermus as its new Chief Conductor from the ’22 – ‘23 season
Antony Hermus will take the Belgian National Orchestra under his guidance for four seasons. The internationally renowned Dutch conductor will take over the baton from Hugh Wolff, who has led the capital’s famous orchestra as principal conductor since 2017. With Antony Hermus, the Belgian National Orchestra will once again be led by an extremely talented and exceptionally versatile personality, who is also very active in society and has excellent communication skills. The new chief conductor fits perfectly with the mission of the Belgian National Orchestra: to continue to innovate and to believe in the power of novelty and authenticity. He will introduce audiences to new symphonic masterpieces and a less frequently performed repertoire. He has already performed twice with the Belgian National Orchestra. In June 2019, Antony Hermus and violinist Lorenzo Gatto performed Paganini’s second violin concerto to high acclaim. A concert during which he also conducted Zoltán Kodály’s Dances from Galanta as well as excerpts from Sergey Prokofiev’s Cinderella. In October 2020 – one of the last concerts before the second lockdown – he offered Brussels audiences exquisite interpretations of Schubert’s third symphony and Sibelius’ third symphony. On 24th September Antony Hermus will join the Belgian National Orchestra for the concert at Bozar (Brussels) featuring Ibert's Concertino da camera with the Belgian saxophonist Simon Diricq and Wagner’s Meistersinger (in a symphonic compilation by Henk de Vlieger).
A driving force
Antony Hermus is a successful symphonic concert and opera conductor who, early in his career, held two Music Directorships in German opera houses, being named ‘Conductor of the Year’ by German magazine Opernwelt for three years in a row. Today, in addition to all the major Dutch orchestras including the Rotterdams Philharmonisch Orkest and the Koninklijk Concertgebouworkest, Antony Hermus conducts regularly across Europe where engagements include the Philharmonia, Royal Philharmonic, Orchestre National de Lyon, Bamberger Symphoniker, Stuttgart, Strasbourg, and Gothenburg operas, as well as Melbourne Symphony and Seoul Philharmonic. He is Principal Guest Conductor at the Noord Nederlands Orkest and at Opera North (UK).
A pure inspiration
Intendant Hans Waege sees Antony Hermus as an absolute inspiration, a shining example who, with the musicians of the Belgian National Orchestra, can take the works the audience loves so much to a higher level: “I just can’t wait for Antony Hermus to join us. We’re going on an incredible journey! He will introduce our audience to new symphonic masterpieces and to little-performed music.” Antony Hermus will also be actively involved in audience development projects, both inside and outside the concert hall. The fact that Antony Hermus speaks both Dutch and French is a great added value. With these projects, the orchestra makes a clear commitment to society. Anthony Devriendt, chairman of the artistic committee of the Belgian National Orchestra: "As an orchestra, we are extremely happy with this choice of a richly talented musician and conductor. We look forward to working with him".
Music gives soul to the universe
Antony Hermus has a four-seasons commitment to the orchestra. In the first season, he will conduct eight concerts as Designate Chief Conductor. His artistic commitment to the orchestra will increase from season '23 - '24 as Chief Conductor for eighteen concerts per season. This collaboration will also lead to an increased presence abroad. Antony Hermus: “I am extremely pleased and feel highly honoured to have been so warmly invited by the Belgian National Orchestra to become its next Chief Conductor. Every time I have worked with the orchestra, I have been struck by the extraordinary dedication of the musicians and the management. Plato once said: ‘Music gives soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination... music gives life to everything.’ I look forward to working with the Belgian National Orchestra to create a world of unique sounds, a world where we can make a difference with our music.”
Antony Hermus will also be joined by an artistic team of two new resident conductors: one person with a lot of experience and one rising star. Current principal conductor Hugh Wolff will also regularly conduct concerts with the Belgian National Orchestra.
Hugh Wolff will conduct his last season from September and will remain involved as conductor emeritus for another two years
“We want to keep our relationship with the music director. It is important for the life of the orchestra. He will continue for two more seasons as conductor emeritus, from the ’22 – ‘23 season,” said Hans Waege, Intendant of the Belgian National Orchestra. In Hugh Wolff’s fifth and final season as Principal Conductor of the Belgian National Orchestra, no fewer than nine concerts are scheduled with him. These include Mahler’s Das Lied von der Erde, Prokofiev’s Sinfonia Concertante, the New Year’s concert, and even a brand-new family show based on compositions from Romeo and Juliet by Berlioz, Prokofiev and Bernstein. As usual, Hugh Wolff will introduce a wide range of composers and soloists to the Brussels audience. This year’s programme includes composer-in-residence Thomas Adès, mezzo-soprano Michele DeYoung and cellist Alisa Weilerstein.