The Flanders Symphony Orchestra is a freelance project orchestra composed of sixty highly committed musicians. A leading light in the Belgian musical firmament, the Flanders Symphony Orchestra guarantees adventurous symphonic programming and high quality electrifying performances. Ambition and innovation are key words in the development of the orchestra. This enthusiastic and dynamic ensemble aims to bring the main symphonic repertoire to national and international venues.
From 2010 on, Seikyo Kim is the new Principal Conductor of the orchestra. Known for his versatility as a musician, Seikyo Kim shows an incredible hand and baton technique and a delicate approach of the orchestral repertoire. Currently living in Tokyo, he has established a reputation as one of Japan's leading young conductors, developing a wide-ranging repertoire and enjoying strong relationships with the country's leading orchestras. Whilst the majority of the concerts are led by their chief conductor, the Flanders Symphony Orchestra also appears frequently in collaboration with various renowned guest conductors.
The orchestra was founded in 1960 as the Westvlaams Orkest, changed its name to the Nieuw-Vlaams Symfonieorkest in 1984 and finally adopted its current name in the mid-1990s upon the arrival of the orchestra's current manager, Dirk Coutigny. Coutigny's wide-ranging overhaul of the whole organisation included bringing in British conductor David Angus as Chief Conductor. Under Angus' musical leadership, the orchestra invested heavily in developing musical quality and created an artistic break-through as it became a modern flexible freelance orchestra. With strong programmes and careful nurturing of the players, there was a huge and obvious development in the quality of the orchestra. This was recognised very quickly by the Flemish public who attended the concerts of this ambitious and technically eminent performing orchestra in ever greater numbers. Flemish conductor Etienne Siebens was appointed Principal Conductor in 2004.
The orchestra is very well known for its own concert series in the major venues of Belgium. In order to strengthen its presence and effect through Brussels, it has recently established a regular concert cycle in the Centre for Fine Arts (Bozar). In addition to a strong presence in the capital, the orchestra invests a great deal of effort in being represented throughout Flanders. The orchestra performs regularly in the major Flemish concert halls such as the Concertgebouw in Bruges, the Muziekcentrum DeBijloke (Ghent), and deSingel (Antwerp). Through its high orchestral standards and exciting committed performances, these concert cycles annually reach a very large and loyal public.
The programmes of the Flanders Symphony Orchestra are notable for their great diversity and originality. In addition to the great symphonic repertoire, the orchestra also brings excellent but little-known works to the attention of the public. A significant part of the repertoire consists of music from the twentieth century. The orchestra also pursues an active commissioning policy, contributing to the development of new compositions.
The orchestra works on a regular basis with highly acclaimed soloists and renowned guest conductors, who often express their deep appreciation of the orchestra's professionalism, enthusiasm and dynamic character.
The 2011-2012 season marks the second year of the tenure of Seikyo Kim as chief conductor of the Flanders Symphony Orchestra. Besides a recording of the Lalo Cello concerto, there are other interesting encounters on the programme including pianist Anna Vinnitskaya, trumpet player Tine Thing Helseth, violinist Lorenzo Gatto and viola player Nathan Braude. In addition, the Flanders Symphony Orchestra is again invited by the Royal Ballet of Flanders as a preferential partner for the productions Sleeping Beauty and Giselle from January 2012 to June 2012.