The autumn of 2020 will not start in its usual way for Brussels Jazz Orchestra. The impact of COVID-19 has been great and as a result of the measures taken by the government, the orchestra will be unable to perform in the coming months. Most of the stages where BJO were scheduled to play this autumn are too small.
There is also still a lack of clarity about travel advisories for musicians outside of Europe, which means that projects planned with international guest artists have to be put on hold indefinitely.
Artistic director Frank Vaganée: “The stages we’ve been invited to this autumn are too small to host BJO in a corona-proof formation. Organisers also have to deal with restrictions on occupancy that mean they’ll lose money putting on a concert with a large ensemble like BJO.”
Earlier this summer, BJO went into the recording studio one section at a time (and corona-proof) for “We Orchestrate Words”. In October they’ll do the same with a new production based on Serge Gainsbourg and later this autumn they’ll join up with some talented young artists in “The Future Is Now”. They’re also working on an exciting concept for the end of the year. In addition, BJO is continuing with some online projects that will be announced soon.
Frank Vaganée: “This autumn, we’re making three studio recordings in one of Belgium’s largest music studios, fully corona-proof. This will provide some continuity for the orchestra and our musicians. And we can continue to amaze you with new BJO material.”
Recent research in Germany (Charité, Berlin) showed that the distance rules for musicians on stage, now 2 m for wind players and 1.5 m for non-wind players, can be safely reduced to 1.5 and 1 m respectively. Brussels Jazz Orchestra hopes that these new findings will find their way into government policy.
Frank Vaganée: “We hope that government measures are eased enough that we can see you all live in a concert hall. (…) COVID-19 is a terribly hard nut to crack for the entire world. We hope to see you all as soon as possible in a concert hall, club or a festival, because those places are where BJO really belongs.”