The three federal cultural institutions
are boosting their collaboration
In response to the challenges posed by the Covid-19 pandemic, the Belgian National Orchestra, BOZAR and La Monnaie have decided to step up their cooperation, which began four years ago. Their shared objective is to optimise the use of resources, to continue to offer a high-quality artistic programme, and to strengthen relationships. The three institutions are also working on a joint approach to implement the health measures put in place by the government. The top priority for all three institutions is to ensure the well-being and comfort of their audiences and staff.
The Henry Le Bœuf Hall will play a central role. BOZAR will make its facilities available to the Belgian National Orchestra as a matter of priority so that it can function as a symphony orchestra, taking into account the need for social distancing. Some of La Monnaie’s major productions may also initially be moved to the Henry Le Bœuf Hall.
Facilities at the Centre for Fine Arts will be adapted to accommodate spectators and artists in the best possible way. In addition to ensuring physical distance (1.5 m), regular hand washing and the wearing of masks covering the nose and mouth, further sanitary measures include:
- The capacity of the hall and podium will be adjusted in order to optimise the safety and quality of the concert.
- 6 entrances and exits will be one-way in order ensure an efficient management of audience flow. Specific time slots will be set to manage access.
- When the concert hall reopens, small audience groups will be set up to test and possibly adjust the measures.
- Tickets will bear your name and can only be booked by telephone or online. An exchange/refund protocol will be available for anyone wishing to change or refund their tickets.
- From now on, the stage plans for the musicians will be established in and around the rehearsal hall as well as the concert hall. The necessary social distancing and the provision of sanitary facilities will be taken into account. These plans will be tested to ensure their practical feasibility.
- Particular attention will be paid to the design of the backstage area and the additional spaces that will be made available. Masks covering the nose and mouth will continue to be compulsory in many places in order to keep risks to a minimum.
The Covid-19 crisis has accelerated the digital policy of all three institutions. The need to make up for the closure of venues with the online publication of original content has made it possible to harness the potential of digital technology in fulfilling our cultural mission. In order to enrich their offer, La Monnaie, BOZAR and the Belgian National Orchestra will place greater emphasis on the digital dissemination of their productions. The institutions are already working on greater collaboration in their programmes and on the coordination of content between them.
On an artistic level, the programming for the early part of the season will be adapted if necessary, in line with the maximum permissible number of musicians in the orchestra. Certain “massive” works will have to be revised for smaller symphonic ensembles. Much of the classical repertoire can easily be performed by orchestras of up to 50 musicians. BOZAR’s expanded stage can accommodate up to 70 musicians if it is meticulously arranged. If necessary, the modified content of certain performances or events will be communicated in good time and maximum flexibility will be offered to anyone wanting to exchange tickets or obtain a refund.
Hans Waege, Manager of the Belgian National Orchestra, Paul Dujardin, CEO and Artistic Director of the Centre for Fine Arts and Peter de Caluwe, Manager at La Monnaie: “The period that we have just gone through, forcing us to keep our doors closed, has clearly shown that all employees, musicians, artists, flexi-workers, managers and directors, as well as partners and spectators, want to work together to find solutions to the artistic, operational and financial challenges. Together, we can weather this storm and turn this unprecedented event into a positive human experience that will strengthen us for the future. It should strengthen the cooperation between federal cultural institutions in the long term.”
Dear music lover,
Can't you go to a concert hall? Then we'll come to you!
Under the direction of our music director Hugh Wolff and a group of musicians from the Belgian National Orchestra, we will perform an excerpt from Beethoven's Egmont Overture, our "Symphony of Hope". With this ensemble, we hope to bring you back into the atmosphere of a concert for a little while.
In these times of uncertainty and isolation, we want you to hear and feel the power and beauty of music. "Our orchestra and our passion for music contribute to the essence of our society. They make us aware of what we can achieve through close cooperation and listening, and of the wonderful masterpieces we are then able to produce" (Hans Waege, Intendant).
Our vision of the future is positive. After all, this period also makes us aware of what really matters. "When this is over, I hope we treat each other with a deeper awareness of how fragile everything is – that we value togetherness, cooperation, and working for the common good more than ever" (Hugh Wolff, conductor).
The whole is always more than the sum of its parts. So we hope that by combining our musical strengths, we have been able to bring you some comfort.
Do you also know someone who could use a little recognition or who deserves a word of thanks? Then don't forget to give them this round of applause!
We hope to see you soon at one of our concerts.
Take good care of yourself and your loved ones.
The musicians and the whole team of the Belgian National Orchestra
Dear music lovers,
It's so sadly quiet and empty in the Henry Le Boeuf Concert Hall. We had been looking forward to performing music for you, but in the current circumstances, the health of the public, the employees and the artists is our top priority. Therefore, in accordance with the strict instructions of the Belgian authorities, all concerts of the Belgian National Orchestra are suspended through June 14th. If you already have a ticket, you will be contacted as soon as possible regarding a refund or exchange. Please consider choosing an exchange rather than a refund. This way, you can continue to support us in these difficult times. We have already chosen to pay all our musicians, including freelance players, fair compensation for cancelled productions.
We don't know what the future will look like after June 14th. The Belgian National Orchestra is closely following the government’s instructions regarding the Covid-19 pandemic. Please follow the situation on the Belgian National Orchestra website https://www.nationalorchestra.be or on the BOZAR website https://www.bozar.be. We remain active on social media (Facebook and Instagram).
We are sure that you understand the difficulty of the current situation. We are all working hard to make sure we can offer you the best and most beautiful music as soon as conditions allow us.
Take care of yourself and your loved ones.
The team of the Belgian National Orchestra
The Belgian National Orchestra has acquired a special place in the cultural world. In the choice of its programmes, the emphasis is placed on prestigious and innovative works, but also on the discovery of lesser-known scores. In doing so, the Belgian National Orchestra maintains a fascinating dialogue with a varied audience. The orchestra is conducted by the American conductor Hugh Wolff, with Hans Waege as intendant and BOZAR as privileged partner.
World-renowned soloists are attracted to the concept. Vilde Frang, Gidon Kremer and Rolando Villazón are among them. Just as the pop-rock artist Ozark Henry inspires the future generation with his innovative impulses.
This season the Belgian National Orchestra welcomes soloists such as Khatia Buniatishvili, Renaud Capuçon, Jonas Kaufmann, Nelson Freire, Steven Isserlis, Michelle DeYoung and Branford Marsalis. Guest conductors include Stanislav Kochanovsky, Cristian Măcelaru and Hartmut Haenchen. These are all great talents that you are welcome to come and meet them.