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Olivia Whanon de Oliveira
Directrice de Conservatoire royal de Bruxelles

A word from our President

Our early music department was born in extremely fertile ground.

As early as 1832, François Joseph Fétis, the director of the nascent Royal Conservatory of Brussels, introduced Europe to its first "historical concerts." This marked the inception of a remarkable journey, reaching international prominence in the '60s with the emergence of a pioneering generation. Janine, Robert, Wieland, Sigiswald, Bart, Paul, and many other Belgians played instrumental roles in elevating this historically informed interpretative approach to the esteemed recognition it enjoys today. 
While Charles Koenig's harpsichord class in the 70s saw the addition of Frédéric de Roos's recorder class, it wasn't until 2003 that the current department was established, becoming part of the European higher arts education network. Initially, the department offered a curriculum for ten students across four instrument classes.

Since then, the department has experienced significant growth, attracting approximately 80 students annually to undergo training in one of the 16 instrumental disciplines currently offered, including voice, recorder, traverso, oboe, clarinet, bassoon, horn, harpsichord, basso continuo, fortepiano, lute and theorbo, harp, violin and viola, cello, violone and double bass, and viola da gamba. Nearly 40 teachers are actively involved in their comprehensive training.

Having had the honor of chairing this department for nearly 20 years, upon reflection, I am deeply impressed by the multitude of projects initiated within the department, spanning from early 17th-century music to contemporary compositions for early instruments. What truly touches me, however, is the remarkable spirit that has evolved. "Ensemble pour l'ensemble" is, I believe, a phrase that encapsulates our essence.
Beyond their often remarkable individual careers, each member of the teaching team is dedicated to knowledge transmission. Recognizing that together we achieve more, we strive to foster constructive interactions between courses. Moreover, Brussels' central location at the heart of Europe facilitates a diverse cultural blend within the department, fueled by a shared passion for music. This unique combination allows me to affirm that today, the Early Music Department of the Royal Conservatory of Brussels provides a rich and dynamic teaching experience, offering our students a comprehensive and global training, both musically and personally enriching.

Benoît Douchy
President of the Early Music Department