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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Jean-Jacques Kantorow
France, °1945
D’origine russe, Jean-Jacques Kantorow est né à Cannes où il commence à étudier le violon. A l’âge de 13 ans, il entre au Conservatoire National Supérieur de Musique de Paris, dans la classe de René Benedetti, où, un an plus tard, il obtient le Premier Prix de violon.

Entre 1962 et 1968, il remporte une dizaine de prix internationaux dont le Premier Prix Carl Flesh à Londres, le Premier Prix Paganini à Gênes, le Premier Prix du Concours International de Genève et obtient une bourse de la Fondation Sacha Schneider en 1970.

Avec le pianiste Jacques Rouvier et le violoncelliste Philippe Muller, Jean-Jacques Kantorow forme un trio avec lequel il remporte le Premier Grand Prix du Concours de Musique de Chambre de Colmar en 1970. Sa carrière de concertiste l’a amené dès le début à se produire sur les plus grandes scènes internationales : aux Etats-Unis, au Canada, dans les pays de l’Est, en Inde, au Japon, en Afrique… donnant plus de 100 concerts par an.

Désireux de rompre avec l’isolement du soliste et par le biais de la musique de chambre, il évolue naturellement vers la direction d’orchestre. Il dirige alors diverses formations étrangères, dont le Tapiola Sinfonietta dont il fut le Directeur Musical de 1993 à 2013. Jean-Jacques Kantorow donne également de nombreuses masterclasses dans le monde entier.
Pendant dix ans, il a aussi été le Directeur Musical de l’Orchestre d’Auvergne et, en 1994, il est nommé à la tête de l’Ensemble Orchestral de Paris. Jean-Jacques Kantorow poursuit parallèlement une carrière de soliste et de chambriste, trouvant ainsi l’équilibre dans la pluralité de ses activités musicales.

Jean-Jacques Kantorow enregistre en tant que soliste et en tant que chef pour des maisons de disques importantes, notamment pour Denon, Emi, Erato, CBS, Bis etc… Nombre de ses disques ont été primés par des récompenses internationales. Son enregistrement « Sonates Françaises » est sorti en janvier 2014 sous le label NoMadMusic. Il y interprète avec son fils Alexandre au piano, des œuvres méconnues du répertoire français (Chevillard, Fauré & Gedalge). Son dernier enregistrement est sorti en 2015 sous le label BIS. Il y dirige son fils Alexandre et le Tapiola Sinfonietta dans les concertos de Liszt.
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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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Relive the performances of Violin 2024
The Competition's CD's
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