Performing choral masterpieces for over 30 years
The Brussels Choral Society was founded in 1979, having evolved out of an earlier group of friends known as the Suppressed Songsters, whose aim was to promote choral music in Brussels. From this modest beginning, the choir matured steadily — moving from seasonal concerts toward year-round programming and gaining a loyal following in the process.
Over 30 years later, the choir has grown in numbers and stature to become a prominent part of the Brussels concert season. The choir gives most of its concerts in the European capital of Brussels. In addition, the BCS’s reputation has enabled it to perform throughout Belgium in the main concert halls of Antwerp, Ghent, Leuven, Charleroi, and Liege, as well as international venues in Budapest, Cologne, London, Lille, Maastricht, Moscow, and Rotterdam. The choir has taken part in many music festivals, notably the Brussels Summer Festival, Festival of Flanders, and the Klara Festival.
The BCS performs a wide range of works, from J.S. Bach to Arvo Pärt – and everything in between – with a particular emphasis on the great symphonic choral repertoire of the 18th to the 20th centuries. The Brussels Choral Society aims to perform to professional standards with internationally-known soloists and orchestras. The choir also takes great pride in providing young, rising soloists, such as Hendrikje Van Kerckhove, Julie Bailly, Werner Van Mechelen, and Jan Van Elsacker, with the opportunity to perform the major works of the choral repertoire.
The BCS has sung with leading orchestras, such as the Belgian National Orchestra, the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra, Limburgs Symfonie Orkest, and the Charlemagne Orchestra for Europe, under such notable conductors as Michel Tabachnik, Ed Spanjaard, Jonathan Willcocks, Jacques Vanherentals, Bartholomeus-Henri Van de Velde, and Yuri Simonov.
Among the Brussels Choral Society’s more prestigious engagements have been Christmas concerts in 2001 and 2002 with internationally-acclaimed soprano Barbara Hendricks; the opportunity to perform the European premiere of the newly-completed Mass in C minor K427 by Mozart; and the Belgian premiere of Karl Jenkins’s The Armed Man. In 2003, the BCS was invited to perform at the wedding of Prince Laurent of Belgium and Princess Claire in St. Michael and St. Gudula’s Cathedral in Brussels, and was subsequently honoured by the royal patronage of Princess Claire.
The choir celebrated its 30th Anniversary in 2009 at Brussels’ Palais des Beaux-Arts with a sold-out performance of J.S. Bach’s iconic Mass in B Minor.