Piano 2003
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Orchestras & Conduct.
Jury 2003
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Orchestras & Conductors

The Belgian National Orchestra
Founded in 1936, the National Orchestra of Belgium (NOB) can be proud of a richly varied history, marked by collaborations with distinguished conductors and renowned soloists. Over the years it has forged its own identity and is remarkable today for its distinctive character and unique qualities. It is an orchestra that does not hesitate to take to the road. Although in residence in the Brussels Palais des Beaux-Arts, presenting varied concert cycles in partnership with the Philharmonic Society, the NOB also travels to the four corners of Belgium to make closer contact with the public. The orchestra counts on the enthusiasm of young people. In 2002, bubbling with ideas and abounding in energy, its very young conductor, the Finn Mikko Franck succeeded Yuri Simonov as the NOB’s musical director. The Orchestra’s many young recruits and the choice of soloists also bear witness to the confidence which the Orchestra has in talented young artists. The Orchestra possesses a truly vast repertoire and does not confine itself to works of a particular style, period or country. Its programmes mix classical and romantic works with 20th century music, together with daring film music projects, co-operation with the Queen Elisabeth Music Competition of Belgium, international tours (the NOB was welcomed in Japan this year), and recordings made for the Cyprès label.

Gilbert Varga
Born in London, Gilbert Varga began studying the violin at the age of four with his father, Tibor Varga, the famous Hungarian violinist. He went on to study conducting with Ferrara, Celibidache and Bruck, and is renowned for his solid, exemplary technique. The early part of Varga’s career concentrated mainly on work with chamber orchestras in Germany and France. He was Chief Conductor of the Hofer Symphoniker from 1980 to 1985 and of the Philharmonia Hungarica from 1985 to 1990. Varga now works with many major orchestras. In North America he has conducted the symphony orchestras of Minnesota, Toronto, Milwaukee and Indianapolis, the chamber orchestras of Los Angeles and St Paul, and he has appeared at the Aspen Music Festival. In Europe he has conducted the radio orchestras of Frankfurt, Cologne, Munich (Symphonieorchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks), Leipzig (MDR), as well as the Rotterdam Philharmonic, Orchestre de Paris, Orchestre National de Lille, RAI Torino, Budapest Festival Orchestra, Bamberger Symphoniker, Hallé Orchestra and Gothenburg Symphony. Further afield, Varga has also conducted the Sydney Symphony Orchestra and the Yomiuri Nippon Symphony Orchestra in Tokyo. In 2003 Gilbert Varga conducted other major orchestras including those of Munich (Chamber Orchestra and Bayerische Staatsoper), Cologne, Geneva, Gran Canaria, Saint Louis and New Jersey. His discography includes recordings for ASV, Discover Records, Tring, and Koch International. Gilbert Varga is now in his fifth season as Music Director of the Euskadi Symphony Orchestra (Basque Country).

The Royal Chamber Orchestra of Wallonia
The Royal Chamber Orchestra of Wallonia has pursued its musical journey for almost half a century. Bringing together music from the past and the present, the Orchestra has developed a repertoire rooted in classicism that extends into romanticism and successfully embraces contemporary music as well. Founded by Lola Bobesco in 1958, the Orchestra’s musical directors have included Philippe Hirshhorn, Jean-Pierre Wallez and Georges Octors. In addition to its busy concert schedule in Belgium, the Orchestra also tours throughout Europe as well as elsewhere in the world. The Royal Chamber Orchestra of Wallonia has accompanied the greatest soloists, instrumentalists and singers, including José Van Dam, Mstislav Rostropovich, Aldo Ciccolini, Alexandre Lagoya, Augustin Dumay, Patrice Fontanarosa, Anner Bylsma, Nikolaj Znaider, Sonia Wieder-Atherton and Vitaly Samoshko. The Royal Chamber Orchestra of Wallonia is supported by the Ministry of the Francophone Community of Belgium, the National Lottery and the city of Mons, where the orchestra is based.

Georges Octors
A laureate of various international competitions, Georges Octors began his career as a solo violinist. In 1956 he created the Antwerp Bach Ensemble, a celebrated chamber orchestra which received enthusiastic plaudits during its many European tours. André Cluytens, musical director of the Belgian National Orchestra, appointed Octors as his assistant in 1960. From 1975 to 1989 Georges Octors served as the orchestra’s conductor and musical director. He is highly regarded in the Netherlands, where he conducts several orchestras, and where he served as musical director of the Gelders Orkest in Arnhem for ten years. Georges Octors has been a popular guest conductor with orchestras in Eastern and Western Europe, the United States and the former Soviet Union (including the Saint Petersburg Philharmonic Society and the London Symphony Orchestra), as well as in South Korea, where he conducts each year. Georges Octors conducted the finals of the Queen Elisabeth Competition every year from 1976 to 1989. He then became musical director of the Royal Chamber Orchestra of Wallonia for seven years, making several recordings which were highly acclaimed by the international music press. In 2001 Georges Octors conducted the semi-finals of the violin session of the Queen Elisabeth Competition, during which –for the first time– the Mozart concertos were performed with the accompaniment of the Royal Chamber Orchestra of Wallonia.


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