Stéphane Denève to become Chief Conductor of the Brussels Philharmonic

James McCarthy Fri 27th June 2014

Denève announces: 'I will programme at least one 21st-century piece in each of my concerts with the Brussels Philharmonic'

Stéphane Denève conducts the Brussels Philharmonic (photo Bram Groots)

Stéphane Denève conducts the Brussels Philharmonic (photo Bram Groots)

Stéphane Denève, the former Music Director of the Royal Scottish National Orchestra, current Chief Conductor of the Stuttgart Radio Symphony Orchestra and (from September) Principal Guest Conductor of the Philadelphia Orchestra, has been announced as the Chief Conductor of the Brussels Philharmonic. He will assume his new role in Brussels in September 2015, succeeding Michel Tabachnik.

What is particularly interesting about this new appointment is that Denève will also become the inaugural Director of the new Centre for Future Orchestral Repertoire (Cffor), which aims to dramatically increase the amount of 21st-century orchestral music that is finding its way into the standard repertoire. The first stage of Cffor will be to create a database of orchestral music composed since 2000 in the hope that this might make it easier for conductors and orchestras to explore the rich and diverse music being composed today.

Denève's intention is for the Brussels Philharmonic to be in the front line of orchestras actively seeking to expand the repertoire, saying, 'I will programme at least one 21st-century piece in each of my concerts with the Brussels Philharmonic, but always in conjunction with past repertoire: we won't become a specialist modern music ensemble. The new repertoire needs to engage with and confront what is already there. No other symphonic orchestra, to my knowledge, has committed to programming the best music of today in every concert of its Chief Conductor. The Brussels Philharmonic will set out the works that could become the repertoire of the 21st century, which I believe is a very exciting and important project. We want to identify the pieces of today that orchestras want to play and audiences want to come and hear.'

Music to the ears of thousands of composers and their publishers around the world, no doubt.

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