Orchestras and conductors
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]. Following the last Music Directors, Augustin Dumay (2003-2013) and Frank Braley (2014-2019), Vahan Mardirossian took the baton to continue their work of excellence.
The orchestra has worked together regularly with the biggest names in music on the most important international stages, as well as performing regularly in Mons, the Cultural Capital of the Wallonia-Brussels Federation and the European Capital of Culture 2015 : José Van Dam, Mstislav Rostropovitch, Aldo Ciccolini, Mischa Maisky, 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.
The orchestra is a regular partner of the Queen Elisabeth Competition since more than twenty years, the Queen Elisabeth Music Chapel, and many Belgian and international music festivals. The Royal Chamber Orchestra of Wallonia performs often under the direction of Jean-François Chamberlan, its principal violinist.
In Mons, 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. It presents concerts for young audiences and offers services to young artists from the Mons Academy of Music and ARTS2 (École Supérieure des Arts).
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Vahan Mardirossian
After spending nine years at the head of the Caen Orchestra (2010-2019), Vahan Mardirossian was appointed Chief Conductor of the City Chamber Orchestra of Hong Kong in September 2019 and Music Director of the Royal Chamber Orchestra of Wallonia in January 2020. He has also been Music Director of the National Chamber Orchestra of Armenia since 2011.
Internationally renowned pianist and conductor, Vahan Mardirossian has been combining his two passions for several years by simultaneously playing and conducting piano concertos (including Bach, Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven, Grieg and Shostakovich). As a soloist, he has performed under the direction of great conductors such as Kurt Masur, Paavo Järvi, Yutaka Sado, John Axelrod and Yuri Ahronovith. He has also recorded several CDs of Schubert, Brahms, Bach, Händel, Beethoven, Tanguy, and Mulsant.
Meeting Kurt Masur was a decisive point in Vahan Mardirossian’s working life. He was invited by Masur to conduct the Manhattan School Orchestra at an orchestra conducting seminar in New York. This opportunity was the start of his conducting career.
In 2005, Vahan Mardirossian founded the ‘Maestria’ orchestra, performing throughout France, including in Paris at the Théâtre des Champs-Élysées and in Toulouse at the Halle aux Grains.
He is regularly invited to conduct prestigious orchestras such as the NHK Symphony Orchestra, the New Japan Philharmonic Orchestra, the Tokyo Philharmonic Orchestra, the Prague Radio Symphony Orchestra, the National Orchestra of the Pays de la Loire, the Sanremo Sinfonica Orchestra, the Royal Seville Symphony Orchestra, the Philharmonie Südwestfalen and the Orchestre Colonne.
He has collaborated with internationally renowned soloists including Ivry Gitlis, Alexander Markov, Augustin Dumay, Akiko Suwanai, Sergeï Babayan, Alexandre Kantorow, Lars Vogt, Vladimir Sverdlov-Ashkenazy, Diemut Poppen, Brigitte Engerer, Xavier Phillips, Kun Woo Paik, Richard Galliano, Viktoria Postnikova, Daishin Kashimoto, Sergueï Nakariakov, Gary Hoffmann, Alexander Chaushian, Roland Pidoux, Alexandra Soumm, Alexander Ghindin, Igor Tchetuev, Polina Leschenko, Ashley Wass, Jean-Marc Phillips-Varjabedian, le Trio Wanderer, Jean-Claude Pennetier, Jacques Rouvier, Svetlin Roussev, Marc Coppey, Pavel Vernikov, Nicolas Dautricourt, Stéphane Béchy, Guy Touvron and Stéphanie-Marie Degand.
His wide repertoire ranges from baroque masterpieces to contemporary works (including Tanguy, Saariaho, Rautavaara, Hersant, Dutilleux, Rihm, Kagel, Crumb, Ligeti, Mulsant and Canat de Chizy).

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Brussels Philharmonic
The Brussels Philharmonic was founded in 1935 by the Belgian public broadcaster (NIR/INR). Since its creation, it has worked with top international conductors and soloists, and was and is known to be a pioneer in performing contemporary music - a reputation that brought world-renowned composers such as Bartók, Stravinsky and Messiaen to Brussels. The orchestra’s historic home port is the Flagey building in Brussels, where it rehearses and performs in Studio 4, in acoustic terms one of the top concert halls in the world.
The French top conductor Stéphane Denève is the music director of the Brussels Philharmonic. His passion for music of the 21st century and his personal mission to open up a dialogue between the repertoire of the past and that of the future ties in with the DNA of the orchestra. Starting in the 2022-23 season, Kazushi Ono will take up the baton as music director of the Brussels Philharmonic.
At the international level, the Brussels Philharmonic has made a name for itself, with regular appearances in the major European capitals. The international representation by IMG Touring brings further tours and concerts in amongst others Japan and the USA. In addition, the orchestra is internationally acclaimed for its expertise in film music, one highlight being the Oscar-winning score for ‘The Artist’. In Belgium, the orchestra is a regular partner of the Film Fest Gent and of MotorMusic, and participates each year in concerts with iconic films.
Meanwhile, the orchestra has proven to be a pioneer in other respects as well, with ground-breaking initiatives including the Tax Shelter, the BXLphil app, the Symphonic Sporting Jacket, the establishment of a foundation for the purchase of string instruments and the partnership with Brussels Airlines, the orchestra embraces innovation in every area and all levels of its activities.
The recordings of Brussels Philharmonic (Deutsche Grammophon, Palazzetto Bru Zane, Klara/Warner Classics, Film Fest Gent, Brussels Philharmonic Recordings) have been warmly received by the international press and awarded an ECHO Klassik, Choc de Classica de l’année and Diapason d’Or de l’année, amongst others. The Brussels Philharmonic is an institution of the Flemish Community.
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Stéphane Denève
France, °1971
Stéphane Denève is Music Director of the Brussels Philharmonic and the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra, Principal Guest Conductor of The Philadelphia Orchestra and Director of Brussels Philharmonic’s Centre for Future Orchestral Repertoire (CffOR). He previously served as Chief Conductor of Stuttgart Radio Symphony Orchestra (SWR) and Music Director of the Royal Scottish National Orchestra. In 2023, Denève will assume the position of Principal Guest Conductor of the Netherlands Radio Philharmonic Orchestra.
Although he is at home in a very wide repertoire, Denève has great affinity for French music and is a passionate advocate for music of the 21st century. He is committed to inspiring the next generation of musicians and listeners, and works regularly with young people in the programmes of the Boston Symphony’s Tanglewood Music Center, the New World Symphony, the Colburn School and the Music Academy of the West.
He performs with the worlds’ most renowned orchestras, such as the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, Bavarian Radio Symphony, Munich Philharmonic, NHK Symphony, Vienna Symphony, Orchestra Sinfonica dell’Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia, Orchestre National de France, London Symphony Orchestra, Philharmonia Orchestra, Deutsches Symphonie Orchester Berlin, Swedish Radio Symphony, Philadelphia Orchestra, Chicago Symphony, Cleveland Orchestra, Los Angeles Philharmonic and San Francisco Symphony.
In the field of opera, Stéphane Denève has led productions at the Royal Opera House, Glyndebourne Festival, La Scala, Saito Kinen Festival, Gran Teatro de Liceu, Dutch National Opera, La Monnaie, and at the Opéra National de Paris.
He enjoys close relationships with many of the world’s leading solo artists, including Jean-Yves Thibaudet, Leif Ove Andsnes, Yo-Yo Ma, Lang Lang, Leonidas Kavakos, Nikolaj Szeps-Znaider, Frank Peter Zimmermann, Gil Shaham, James Ehnes, Emanuel Ax, Lars Vogt, Nikolay Lugansky, Paul Lewis, Joshua Bell, Hilary Hahn, Renaud and Gautier Capuçon.
As a recording artist, Stéphane Denève has won critical acclaim for his recordings of the works of Poulenc, Debussy, Ravel, Roussel, Franck and Connesson. He is a triple winner of the Diapason d’Or of the Year, has been shortlisted for Gramophone’s Artist of the Year Award, and has won the prize for symphonic music at the International Classical Music Awards. Recent releases include discs of Prokofiev suites and the works of Guillaume Connesson with the Brussels Philharmonic (awarded the Diapason d’Or of the Year and the Choc Classica of the Year), and a disc with Lucas and Arthur Jussen and the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, all for Deutsche Grammophon. In 2019, a live recording of Honegger’s Jeanne d’Arc au bûcher with the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra was released on RCO Live.
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Relive the performances of Violin 2024
The Competition's CD's
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