Chairman of the jury
Marcel Poot
Belgium, °1901 - 1988
Marcel Poot (1901-1988), the son of Jan Poot, director of the Royal Flemish Theatre, grew up in an artistic milieu. He took his first music lessons with the organist Gerard Nauwelaerts and subsequently studied solfège, piano and harmony from 1916 to 1919 at the Royal Conservatory in Brussels with Arthur De Greef, José Sevenans and Martin Lunssens. His first prizes in counterpoint (1922) and fugue (1924) were earned at the Royal Conservatory in Antwerp with Lodewijk Mortelmans. He also studied composition and orchestration privately with Paul Gilson.

Together, Poot and Gilson published La Revue Musicale Belge, a periodical that appeared starting in 1925. In that same year, he and seven other of Gilson’s students set up the group known as Les Synthétistes, which aimed to create a synthesis of the achievements of current musical evolutions, without sacrificing their individuality. In 1930, he won the Rubens Prize, which allowed him to study for three years with Paul Dukas at the Ecole Normale de Musique in Paris.

Marcel Poot began his career at the State Secondary School in Vilvoorde and also taught piano, solfège and music history at the music academy in that city. He taught practical harmony (1939) and counterpoint (1940-1949) at the Royal Conservatory in Brussels before becoming director of that school (1949-1966). Besides this, he was a lecturer at the Institut Supérieur des Arts Décoratifs, headmaster of the Queen Elisabeth Music Chapel (1970-1976), a member of the Royal Flemish Academy for Sciences, Letters and Fine Arts, a jury member for the Queen Elisabeth Competition (1963-1981), chairman of SABAM (composers’ rights organisation), the Union of Belgian Composers and CISAC (the International Confederation of Societies of Authors and Composers), and he was a jury member for various composition competitions.
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Jean Absil
Belgium, °1893 - 1974
Jean Absil was, first, a pupil of Alphonse Oeyen, organist at the basilica of Bonsecours. From 1913 he attended classes at the Royal Conservatory of Brussels, where he completed his musical studies. After learning orchestration and composition with Paul Gilson, he was awarded the Rome Prize and the Rubens Prize. He also sought the advice of Florent Schmitt. He was a professor at the Royal Conservatory of Brussels and at the Queen Elisabeth Music Chapel and, for more than forty years, he was director of the Music Academy in Etterbeek, which has borne his name since 1963. He was also a member of the Royal Academy of Belgium.

Two activities dominated Jean Absil’s life and career: education and composition. An undisputed educator, he trained generations of composers for more than forty years. A leader who allowed his disciples to discover the music of their time, Absil synthetized the French School, Stravinsky, Bartok, polytonal, atonal and serial music (J. Stehman). His extensive works encompass all genres.

His first distinguishing work was La mort de Tintagiles. His research on polytonality and atonality led to a brief study: Postulat de la musique contemporaine, prefaced by Darius Milhaud.
Between 1929 and 1936 Absil applied the principles of his style mainly to numerous chamber music works. In 1936 he returned to large orchestral works with a second Symphony and Concertos for various instruments, including a Concerto for piano which, as a compulsory piece at the Ysaÿe Competition of 1938, definitely established his reputation. He produced large-scale works such as Les Bénédictions, Pierre Breughel l’Ancien, Les Voix de la Mer, and many choral works, whether religious or secular. Moreover, he often drew his inspiration from the folklore and rhythmic subtleties of Central Europe.

When characterizing the Absilian language, Joseph Dopp notes that the ear never suffers from an impression of tonal insecurity when listening to Absil’s music: while it is no longer possible to find a reference to the classical major or minor tonalities, the composer invents new modes, which he replaces for each piece. From these modes emerge chords which, even if they are different from the classical ones, also have an expressive sense (tension or resolution). Absil never practised a real atonality: the apparent tonal independence of the voices always resolves itself into a unique tonality.
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Robert Darcy
Belgium, °1910 - 1967
Born in Paris, Robert Darcy (1910-1967) became a Belgian citizen in 1949. He was a cellist and a composer. Initially he studied at the Conservatory of Lyon and obtained a First Prize for cello-playing, afterwards he studied composition with Bousquet at the Conservatory of Roubaix and with Vidal and Monteux at the Conservatory of Paris. He was professor at the Conservatories of Paris and Auteuil. As a cellist he was a member of the National Orchestra of Belgium. He received several prizes for composition : in Brussels (1936), in Liege (1939) and in Geneva. In 1965 he received the Queen Elisabeth Prize for Composition. As a composer, Robert Darcy had a predilection for neo-classicism. His musical style evolved from polytonality into free atonality, using a clear, elegant and sometimes extremely complex language.
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Jean Louël
Belgium, °1914 - 2005
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Pierre Moulaert
Belgium, °1907 - 1967
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Relive the performances of Violin 2024
The Competition's CD's
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