Krzysztof Penderecki (1933) is one of the most outstanding Polish avant-garde composers. His extensive oeuvre includes orchestra works, oratorio, operas, songs, chamber music and film scores (including ‘The Shining’ and ‘The Exorcist’). His best known work includes ‘Threnos’ for the victims of Hiroshima, the Passion of St. Luke, the Polish Requiem and Anaklasis.
‘Threnos’ is a lament he wrote to commemorate the victims of Hiroshima. The piece had its world première on 31 May 1961 in Warsaw. In the sixties, it became part of the standard repertoire in new music.
Throughout his musical career, Penderecki has been honoured for his compositions in many countries. These honours include the Prix Italia in 1968 for the ‘Dies Irae’ which commemorated the victims of Auschwitz; in 1998, he became a Foreign Honorary Member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters; in 2004, he won the Praemium Imperiale for music (Japan); and in 2005 he received the highest Polish decoration: the Order of the White Eagle.
Andres Mustonen, graduated from the Tallinn music academy in 1972 as a violinist and obtained his diploma at the Conservatory of Tallinn five years later. Soon, he started his own ensemble, Hortus Musicus.
After completing his studies in orchestra conducting, he worked as a conductor for orchestras like Riga’s Chamber Orchestra Sinfonietta, the Tchaikovsky Symphony Orchestra, the Philharmonic Orchestra and the Russian National Orchestra. In addition, he worked with the Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra and many choirs in Germany, Sweden and the Netherlands.
In 2003, he participated in the Viljandi Folk Music Festival and in that same year the Estonian Music Council awarded him the Interpretation Prize. In 1998, he received the Estonian Order of the White Star.
One of the hats worn by Anthony Heidweiller was that of artistic director of the Yo Opera Festival. This festival gained great national and international acclaim. In 2011, he started the company ‘Operamakers’ for the development and production of education and participation projects. The company works for organisations like Het Concertgebouw, De Nationale Opera (the Netherlands) and NETzeit (Vienna). In 2008, he received the Prins Bernhard Cultuurprijs voor Educatie and in 2011, he received the Cultuurprijs from the city of Utrecht. In addition, he was nominated in Germany in 2011 for best cultural event.
Brussels Philharmonic was founded by the public broadcasting service (NIR) in 1935. The orchestra has worked with great conductors, soloists and composers like Stravinsky and Bartók. Since 2008, musical director Michel Tabachnik is a key figure in the working of the orchestra and manages to connect the great repertoire of the orchestra and 20th century music. The orchestra feels right at home on the great stages not only in Flanders but also in the rest of Europe, with a residence at the Parisian Cité de la musique, annual concerts in the Amsterdam Concertgebouw, the Festival Musica in Strasbourg and the Festival de Besançon. International recognition came in the form of the Golden Globe-winning soundtrack to ‘The Aviator’ by Martin Scorcese (2005) and more recently thanks to the Oscar-winning music for ‘The Artist’ (music by Ludovic Bource).
Soprano Johanna Rusanen was a member of the young artists programme with the Deutsche Oper in Berlin for two years. During her career in the opera, she has sung productions of the Finnish National Opera, the operas in Vintaa and Turku as well as the Bolshoi Opera in Moscow.
Rusanen performed as an oratorio soloist in Europe, but has also performed in Japan, Chile, the United States and North Korea. The soprano part of the Kullervo symphony, composed by Jean Sibelius, is one of her most famous vocal performances. In 1995, she won the Timo Mustakallio competition and in 2001 she received the Karita Mattila Award.
The Polish mezzo-soprano Agnieszka Rehlis was a soloist with the Wroclaw Opera from 1996 to 2007. The countries she has toured with this opera include Germany, England, Ireland and also Belgium. As a mezzo-soprano she performs oratorios and cantatas. Her repertoire contains more than 60 pieces. Rehlis regularly performed in concerts conducted by Krzysztof Penderecki and during which she sang works written by him including ‘Polish Requiem’ and ‘Te Deum’. In 1991, she won the Franciszka Platówna singing contest in Wroclaw. Some of her recordings won a prestigious Fryderyk Award from the Polish Society of the Phonographic Industry. On 14 January 2011, Agnieszka Rehlis was bestowed the honour of performing in a special concert in the Philharmonic Hall in Warsaw where she premièred Krzysztof Penderecki’s ‘A Sea of Dream Did Breathe on Me’ accompanied by the Sinfonia Varsovia orchestra.
Russian bass Nikolay Didenko graduated from the Moscow Academy of Choral Art as singer and conductor in 2003. In 2003 and 2004, he was soloist with the Moscow New Opera and he was a member of the Houston Grand Opera Studio until 2005. With the latter, he performed in various productions including Il Barbiere di Siviglia, Die Zauberflöte and Tosca. In addition, he has also sung in ‘Il Turco in Italia’ with the Royal Danish Opera, in Rayok with the Liceu te Barcelona and in Petite Messe Solennelle in Cologne. Recently, Didenko enjoyed great success with La Forza del Destina with the Cologne Opera and La Sonnambula with the Bolshoi Theatre, where he has been invited to perform again this season.
Isnelle Da Silveira
Actress Isnelle Da Silveira has been performing since 1979 and is especially known for her work in ‘Public Security’ and ‘Anna Makossa’. As a dancer, choreographer, pedagogue, actress, songwriter and singer, she is a versatile artist. She developed her talent through various influences and life experiences
Cellist Brussels Philharmonic
Luc Tooten is the first cellist with the Brussels Philharmonic. He studied at the Brussels Conservatory with Carlo Schmitz and trained further with Reine Flachot and Mstislav Rostropovich. He committed himself to a career as a chamber music player and soloist. Tooten has played both in Belgium and abroad for renowned conductors like Yoel Levy and Tan Dun. He has won great praise from audiences and specialised press alike for his CD recordings. His CD recording with the Flemish Radio Orchestra of the symphonic poem ‘Naar Hoger Licht’ by L. De Vocht for cello and orchestra was awarded a ‘Choc’ by the music magazine ‘Monde de la Musique’.
Felix Casaer studies the recorder at the Lemmens Institute in Leuven at the moment. He was born in Brussels and moved to Brazil as a two-year-old. At the age of 11, he moved to New York to study the recorder with Nina Stern and to play the oboe in the preparatory university programme of the Juilliard School. In 2012, he graduated from the Fiorello H. Laguardia High School of Music and Arts and he moved back to Belgium to study old music with Bart Spanhove and Bert Coen. Additionally, Casaer acts as the substitute conductor of the choir of the Belgian army.
Organist Cindy Castillo studied at the Conservatories in among other cities Brussels, Namur, Paris. Her repertoire is a dialogue between organ and other artistic expressions including dance and video. In past seasons, she has been invited to give large recitals in, for instance, the Brussels cathedral, the Philharmonic Hall in Liège and at the Ars Musica festival. Today, Castillo is laureate at foundations like the Rotary Club and Vocatio. In 2008-2009, she was chosen as ‘Artist in Residence’ at the Sapporo Concert Hall in Japan.
Twagirayesu Clélia, from Rwanda, is 17 and in her final year of secondary school at the Atheneum of Koekelberg studying social sciences. She is interested in the world on the political and social levels. This is why she enjoys spending time with young children and political youth organisations. She would like to study journalism next year.