Orchestras and conductors
From 10 to 15 May 2021, the 24 semi-finalists will be accompanied by the Orchestre Royal de Chambre de Wallonie, conducted by Frank Braley, for the performance of their Mozart concerto.
From 24 to 29 May 2021, the twelve finalists will be accompanied by the Belgian National Orchestra, conducted by Hugh Wolff.

Orchestre Royal de Chambre de Wallonie
In 1958, Lola Bobesco created “Les Solistes de Bruxelles” [Brussels Soloists], renamed “Ensemble d’archets Eugène Ysaÿe” [Eugène Ysaÿe String Ensemble], now known as the Orchestre Royal de Chambre de Wallonie [Royal Chamber Orchestra of Wallonia].

The orchestra has worked together regularly with the biggest names in music on the most important international stages : José Van Dam, Mstislav Rostropovitch, Aldo Ciccolini, Mischa Maïski, Maurice André, Arthur Grumiaux, Philippe Hirschhorn, Georges Octors, Jean-Pierre Wallez, Gidon Kremer, Louis Lortie, Jian Wang, Ivry Gitlis, Antoine Tamestit, Henri Demarquette, Richard Galliano, the Modigliani Quartet, Jean- Philippe Collard, Gérard Caussé, Renaud and Gautier Capuçon, Augustin Dumay, Maria João Pires ; in Paris, Beijing, Abu Dhabi, Amsterdam, Rotterdam, Bucharest, Bayreuth, Munich, Luxembourg, Zurich, Geneva, Saint Petersburg, Brussels, etc.

In 2020, Vahan Mardirossian succeeded music director Frank Braley (2014-2019). The Royal Chamber Orchestra of Wallonia performs regularly in Belgium with Jean-François Chamberlan, its principal violinist. The orchestra is a regular partner of the Queen Elisabeth Competition, the Queen Elisabeth College of Music, Bozar [Brussels Centre for Fine Arts], Flagey, and many Belgian music festivals, as well as the Queen Paola Foundation.

In Mons, its city of residence, with Mars (Mons Arts de la Scène) [Mons Performing Arts], and the support of the City of Mons, the orchestra gives concerts with a diversified and original repertoire. Frank Braley schedules a season with internationally renowned artists : Michel Portal, Paul Meyer, Eliane Reyes, Ronald Van Spaendonck, Augustin Dumay, Gérard Caussé, Steve Houben, Aurélien Pascal, Les Violons du Roy, Sylvain Cremers, Jean-Pierre Wallez, Richard Galliano, Jean-Paul Dessy, l’Orchestre Philharmonique de Liège, Renaud Capuçon, le Quatuor Modigliani, Jean-Philippe Collard, Anne Quéffelec, Miguel da Silva, Sergio Alapont, Barnabás Kelemen, Mathieu Herzog, Vahan Mardirossian, Henri Demarquette.

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Frank Braley
France, °1968
Brilliant and atypical, Frank Braley did not follow the path usually laid down for artists of his calibre. He even strongly insists that he never wanted to become a pianist. He could be described as a dilettante, but one of genius and an obsessive one, too, who gives more than eighty concerts a year. After hesitating between science and music, the self-assured young Braley finally abandoned the university on reaching adulthood and joined the elect in the Conservatoire National Supérieur de Musique in Paris. Despite his best efforts to end last in the class, the stubborn youngster emerged overqualified and soon found himself propelled onto the international scene following his First Prize in the Queen Elisabeth Competition. Invited by the great orchestras and laden down with flattering comparisons with the great pianists, Braley didn’t let the praise go to his head. An astute and quick-witted artist, with strong ideas about music, he has lost none of his spontaneous, laid-back relationship with the piano, which combines humour and poetry with modesty, gracefulness, and unshakeable sincerity. Frank Braley, after all, plays for pleasure, whether for the great thrill of a recital or the joy of playing chamber music with friends such as Augustin Dumay, Paul Meyer, Eric Le Sage, Emmanuel Pahud, and the Capuçon brothers.
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Belgian National Orchestra
Founded in 1936, the Belgian National Orchestra, previously known as the National Orchestra of Belgium, has a special partnership with BOZAR. From 2012 to 2017, the orchestra’s principal conductor was Andrey Boreyko. Since September 2017, the US conductor Hugh Wolff has been at the helm. The Belgian National Orchestra has performed with renowned soloists such as Vadim Repin, Gidon Kremer, Boris Berezovsky, and Rolando Villazón, as well as with many talented younger musicians. It is also keen to attract a new generation of audiences and takes part in innovative projects such as a collaboration with the pop-rock artist Ozark Henry and participation in the Tomorrowland festival. This season sees the orchestra share the stage with eminent soloists such as Sergey Khachatryan, Nelson Freire, Elisabeth Kulman, Alexander Gavrylyuk, and Lorenzo Gatto, as well as a number of guest conductors, including Kazushi Ono and Hartmut Haenchen. Its discography, which has for the most part been released on the Fuga Libera label, has won worldwide acclaim and includes six recordings made under its former conductor Walter Weller.
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Hugh Wolff
United States of America, °1953
Born in Paris to American parents, Hugh Wolff spent his early years in London and Washington DC. His final year in high school, he studied piano with Leon Fleisher and composition with George Crumb. After graduating from Harvard College in 1975, Wolff won a fellowship to study conducting with Charles Bruck and composition with Olivier Messiaen in Paris.
As a conductor he has a well-defined vision on the functioning of a symphony orchestra and a special interest in education : he strives to make symphonic music more interesting and appealing for youngsters. In addition, Hugh Wolff emphasizes the importance of a thematic approach of each concert, he also does so for each concert season. He is known for his creative programming and placing opposing works together.
Hugh Wolff has previously visited the National Orchestra of Belgium to conduct Mahler’s Third Symphony (in 2010) and First (in 2012). In September of 2017, Hugh Wolff took over the baton from Andrey Boreyko, the music director of the Belgian National Orchestra since 2012.
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Piano 2020 postponed to May 2021
How the competition unfolds
H.M. Queen Mathilde
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