Orchestras and conductors
La Monnaie Symphony Orchestra
In 1772, the Austrian composer and conductor Ignace Vitzthumb officially founded the La Monnaie Orchestra. The ensemble, always closely involved in the opera house’s productions, developed over the years as it worked with great composers such as Richard Wagner, Nikolay Rimsky-Korsakov, Ruggiero Leoncavallo, André Messager, Vincent d’Indy et Alban Berg. In the course of the 19th and 20th centuries, it took part in the first performances of a number of operas, including Massenet’s Hérodiade, Chabrier’s Gwendoline, Chausson’s Le Roi Arthus, Milhaud’s Les Malheurs d’Orphée, Honneger’s Antigone, and Prokofiev’s The Gambler.

The orchestra was regularly conducted by world-famous conductors such as Hans Richter, Felix Mottl, Otto Lohse, Wolfgang Sawallisch, Josef Krips, and, more recently, Sir John Pritchard, Christoph von Dohnányi, and Kent Nagano.

Under Gerard Mortier, the La Monnaie Symphony Orchestra was thoroughly revitalised in 1981 and Sylvain Cambreling (1981-1991) was appointed Music Director. He was succeeded by Sir Antonio Pappano (1992-2002), Kazushi Ono (2002-2008), and Ludovic Morlot (2012-2014). Alain Altinoglu has been Music Director of the La Monnaie Symphony Orchestra since January 2016.

Equally at home in the symphonic and operatic repertoires, the orchestra performs for the most part in Brussels at the Royal Opera House La Monnaie, in the Henry Le Boeuf Hall at Bozar, and in Studio 4 at Flagey, as well as on tour in Europe, the United States, and Japan.
Contemporary music figures prominently in the orchestra’s repertoire and it has collaborated, at times in first performances, with many composers, including John Adams, Luciano Berio, Philippe Boesmans, Pierre Boulez, Kris Defoort, Pascal Dusapin, Luca Francesconi, Toshio Hosokawa, Bruno Maderna, Frank Martin, Benoît Mernier, Krzysztof Penderecki, Wolfgang Rihm, and Salvatore Sciarrino.

The orchestra’s dynamism and versatility have made a huge contribution to La Monnaie’s artistic identity. Their impact has grown as broadcasts of opera productions on television and radio, as well as Internet streaming, have increasingly brought the orchestra to the attention of music-lovers all over the world. Its prestige is reflected in an extensive and ever-growing discography.
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Alain Altinoglu
Alain Altinoglu studied at the Conservatoire national supérieur de musique et de danse in Paris, where he now teaches orchestral conducting. Since 2016 he has been music director of La Monnaie, and since 2021 also of the hr-Sinfonieorchester Frankfurt. In November 2022 he was appointed as artistic director of the Colmar Festival.

He conducts revered orchestras like the Berliner Philharmoniker, the Wiener Philharmoniker, the Koninklijk Concertgebouworkest Amsterdam, the Symphonieorchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks, the London Symphony Orchestra and the London Philharmonic Orchestra, the symphony orchestras of Chicago, Boston, Cleveland and Philadelphia, the Münchner Philharmoniker, the Sächsische Staatskapelle Dresden, the Gewandhausorchester Leipzig and the Tonhalle-Orchester Zürich as well as large Parisian orchestral ensembles.

He is in demand at all the major opera houses and works at the Metropolitan Opera in New York, the Royal Opera House Covent Garden in London, the Wiener Staatsoper, the Opernhaus Zürich, the Teatro Colón in Buenos Aires, the Deutsche Oper and the Staatsoper Unter den Linden in Berlin, the Bayerische Staatsoper in Munich and the opera houses in Paris. He has also made guest appearances at the Bayreuther and Salzburger Festspiele, the Chorégies d’Orange and the Festival d’Aix-en-Provence.

As a pianist, Alain Altinoglu has a particular interest in the Lied repertoire, regularly accompanying the mezzo-soprano Nora Gubisch.
His discography includes Tchaikovsky’s Violin Concerto with the La Monnaie Symphony Orchestra and Konzertmeisterin Saténik Khourdoïan as the soloist, several recordings for Deutsche Grammophon, Naïve, Pentatone and Cascavelle, as well as DVD recordings of Jeanne d’Arc au bûcher (Honegger), Der fliegende Holländer (Wagner), The Golden Cockerel (Rimski-Korsakov), Iolanta & The Nutcracker (Tchaikovsky) and Pelléas et Mélisande (Debussy).
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