The first edition of Walden Festival takes place on July 18th in and around Leopold Park in Brussels with a mix of classical, contemporary, jazz, non-western and ‘new classical’ music. Short concerts, a relaxed atmosphere, cosy picnicking, the greenery of Brussels, and a number of architectural jewels, will make the first Walden Festival a unique experience.
It opens with “The Four Seasons” by Max Richter, this British composer has adapted Vivaldi’s original into a post-modern, minimalist score. The Ataneres Ensemble from Leuven and violinist Nadja Nevolovitsch will perform on the main stage in the garden of the museum of Natural Sciences.
Next, there is a choice between three different concerts in three locations. Bel Ayre (Lieselot De Wilde and Peter Verhelst) perform Songs of Travel in the Citizens Garden, a green oasis of serenity in the middle of the busy European Quarter. In the reading room of the Leopold Park’s stunning Solvay Library, pianist Stephane Ginsburgh plays a programme that combines Schumann’s Waldszenen, with music by Charles Ives and the contemporary British composer Joanna Bailie. In ‘la Salle des Fêtes’ of the secondary school Lycée Emile Jacqmain, Marieke Van Ransbeeck, performs a danceable blend of Baroque and folk music with the Brussels Baroque ensemble Les Abbagliati.
Following this, the main stage hosts the Brussels ensemble Oxalys and Summer Music by Samuel Barber, who also perform work by Edvard Grieg and Maurice Ravel. Later on the same stage, Refa, invite us on a journey along the legendary Silk Road.
In the late afternoon and evening, there is once again a choice of three different concerts that will each be performed twice (so that you can choose two out of three). Accordionist Philippe Thuriot and trumpet player Carlo Nardozza pay tribute to the Argentine tango composer Astor Piazzolla. Meanwhile, Bojan Z., one of the most famous jazz pianists in the world, gives a solo recital. Finally, the Ensemble Didier François experiments with a combination of lute, viola da gamba and nyckelharpa.
Walden Festival draws to a close on the main stage with guitarists Myrddin De Cauter and Karim Baggili, who will combine Spanish and South American rhythms with virtuoso flamenco playing and Eastern soundscapes. The final concert is given by the Echo Collective from Brussels, they will perform 12 Conversations with Thilo Heinzmann, an incredibly haunting piece by the recently deceased Icelandic composer Jóhann Jóhannsson.
Walden Festival takes place for an audience of only 400 people, so tickets are limited and it will strictly follow the government’s measures regarding COVID-19.