Orchestras and conductors
From 10 to 15 May 2021, the twelve 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 six 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]. 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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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 in 1991. 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 is in permanent residence at Bozar. Since September 2022, the orchestra has been under the direction of chief conductor Antony Hermus, with Roberto González-Monjas as guest conductor and Michael Schønwandt as associate conductor. The Belgian National Orchestra performs alongside renowned soloists such as Hilary Hahn, Thomas Hampson, Leif Ove Andsnes, Víkingur Ólafsson, Sergey Khachatryan and Truls Mørk. It is interested in the new generation of listeners, and doesn’t shy away from innovative projects such as its collaboration with pop-rock artist Ozark Henry or recently with Stromae on his latest album Multitude. Its discography, released mainly on the Fuga Libera label, enjoys international recognition and includes, among others, six recordings made under the direction of one of its former conductors, Walter Weller.
The Belgian National Orchestra is supported by the Belgian federal government’s Tax Shelter, the National Lottery and Casa Kafka Pictures.

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Hugh Wolff
United States of America, °1953
Hugh Wolff is among the leading conductors of his generation. He has appeared with all the major North American orchestras including those of Chicago, New York, Boston, Philadelphia, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Toronto and Montreal and is much in demand throughout Europe, Asia and Australia.
Appointed Music Director of the Belgian National Orchestra in 2017, Wolff was principal conductor of the Frankfurt Radio Orchestra from 1997 to 2006. Together they toured Europe, Japan and China and appeared at the Salzburg Festival.
From 1988 to 2000, Wolff was principal conductor of the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra, with whom he recorded extensively and toured the United States, Europe and the Far East.
A conductor whose interests span baroque performance practice to the championing of new works, he began his professional career in 1979 as associate conductor of the National Symphony Orchestra under Mstislav Rostropovich.
Wolff has recorded more than fifty discs, including the complete Beethoven symphonies and collaborations with Mstislav Rostropovich, Yo-Yo Ma, Joshua Bell, Hilary Hahn, and jazz guitarist John Scofield. Three times nominated for a Grammy Award, Wolff won the 2001 Cannes Classical Award.
Born in Paris to American parents, Wolff graduated from Harvard College, studied piano with Leon Fleisher, composition with George Crumb and Olivier Messiaen, and conducting with Charles Bruck. For the last decade he has been deeply involved in music education, teaching conducting at Boston’s New England Conservatory.
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