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Callum Au wins the BJO ICC Award

13 Jan 2020

During the finals of the 8th International Composition Contest at Flagey, Callum Au (29) has won the BJO ICC Award.

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Premiere of the BJO-documentary!

09 Dec 2019

The premiere of 'Bring it to the People - the film about the Brussels Jazz Orchestra' takes place on January 12th in Flagey, Brussels.

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BREL with David Linx goes to Canada!

31 Dec 2018

In early February BJO and David Linx will go to Canada for 2 performances of BREL.

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We Have A Dream with Tutu Puoane goes to New York (US)!

31 Dec 2018

On 11 & 12 February the BJO and Tutu Puoane will perform We Have A Dream in Dizzy’s Club Coca-Cola in Jazz at Lincoln Center, New York City!

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In the news (VRT NWS)

01 Nov 2018

BJO25 Birthday tour with Maria Schneider (US)

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We Have A Dream goes symphonic...

31 Oct 2018

with OPRL (Orchestre Philharmonique Royal de Liège) in Liège

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Launch of Youth Jazz Collective

27 Oct 2018

A new youth big-band project

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We Have A Dream featured on De Zevende Dag (VRT)

16 Apr 2018

On 15 April Tutu Puoane and several BJO musicians were guests on "De Zevende Dag" on the Eén (VRT) TV network.

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Tutu Puoane spoke with DownBeat (US)

10 Apr 2018

Q&A about We Have A Dream

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Downbeat magazine (US): Smooth Shake with best albums of 2017!

22 Feb 2018

****1/2 review for Smooth Shake with Bert Joris

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New album We Have A Dream with Tutu Puoane

22 Feb 2018

Now for sale in the BJO webshop!

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Brussels Jazz Orchestra Series: BJO sheet music now for sale

09 Nov 2017

The sheet music of many BJO arrangements (by Michel Herr, Frank Vaganée, Lode Mertens,...) now for sale in our webshop!

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BREL wins an Edison Award 2017

30 Jun 2017

In June 2017, the BREL album with David Linx wins a prestigious Edison Jazz/World Award.

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Newsletter in Dutch, English OR French

29 Nov 2016

Looking for a holiday gift?

24 Nov 2015

Check out the BJO umbrella

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News from the Brussels Jazz Orchestra - January & February 2020
Brussels Jazz Orchestra wishes you a swingin' new year!
We’re already looking back on a smashing 2019. In February we had a fantastic reception in Canada, where we performed the chansons of Brel with David Linx in Palais Montcalm. Later that month, Brussels Jazz Orchestra was with Tutu Puoane in Jazz at Lincoln Center’s Dizzy’s Club in New York City with We Have A Dream. In March, thousands of enthusiastic fans in the Konzerthaus in Vienna and the Elbphilharmonie in Hamburg enjoyed The Sweetheart and The Daredevil, the third edition of BJO vs. The Big White Screen. In October BJO went on tour through Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg with star trumpet player Ambrose Akinmusire (US), and our graphic-novel project In The Pines crossed the national borders during the Douro Jazz Festival in Portugal. Our educational projects were also well received; up-and-coming talents Muriel Urquidi and Artan Buleshkaj put a lot of work into The Future is Now, during Fire Up That Big Band, BJO coaches did exactly that for three big bands, and the Youth Jazz Collective gave an exciting first concert, led by Frank Vaganée.
2020 is looking like it’ll be a blast as well!
Take a look at what’s on the music stands for the new year here.
  • ICC FINALS
  • PREMIERE OF BJO DOCUMENTARY BRING IT TO THE PEOPLE
  • NEW EDITION OF WOW
  • BJO & JAZZ AT LINCOLN CENTER ORCHESTRA
  • MEET & GREET WITH KAREL VERMEERBERGEN
  • BJO MUSICIANS' UPCOMING CONCERTS
FINALS INTERNATIONAL COMPOSITION CONTEST
On 12 January, during the Brussels Jazz Festival in Flagey, Brussels Jazz Orchestra will play the compositions written by the four International Composition Contest finalists. This concert will be the culmination of all their hard work. The winner will receive the BJO ICC Award: a cash prize of € 2000 and a professional audio and video recording of their work being played by BJO.
From 6 January you can meet the finalists on Facebook and Instagram: we’ll have video messages from Rainer Tempel (DE), Ralf Hesse (DE), Callum Au (GB) and Christopher Zuar (US), telling us more about themselves, how they work and the composition they wrote for the ICC.
Info & tickets.
Trailer 'Bring it to the People'
PREMIÈRE OF DOCUMENTARY 'BRING IT TO THE PEOPLE'
Flagey has a second BJO event planned for 12 January: the premiere of the documentary Bring it to the People: the film about the Brussels Jazz Orchestra. Director Guy Fellemans followed Brussels Jazz Orchestra closely for three years and has created a unique portrait of the orchestra with this film. How do we make our artistic choices? How do we play so tightly as an ensemble? How do the musicians experience working with international artists? And who bluffed their way through their BJO audition?
Watch the trailer (above).
The premiere on 12 January is sold out. You can see the other dates in Flagey
here.
WE ORCHESTRATE WORDS IN KORTRIJK
Brussels Jazz Orchestra goes all out for experimentation. In this edition of We Orchestrate Words we do it with Zediam, Monique Harcum and DJ Grazzhoppa. WOW is an incubator for innovative, new discoveries from the urban scene, that gladly takes inspiration from different cultures and genres, spurred on by improvisation. ‘With this project we’re trying to achieve a symbiosis between our world, that of a big jazz orchestra, and the world of urban artists’, says artistic director Frank Vaganée.
The kick off of this new edition will take place on 30/01 in the municipal theatre (Schouwburg) in Kortrijk.
Info & tickets.
BJO & JAZZ AT LINCOLN CENTER IN BOZAR
One of the world’s most famous big bands is coming to BOZAR in Brussels. New York’s Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra has been a spearhead of big bands and the big band repertoire in jazz for years. Their artistic director may be even more famous than they are: the acclaimed trumpet player and composer Wynton Marsalis already has 9 Grammy Awards and a Pulitzer Prize for Music on his trophy shelf. The JLCO and BJO stand on one stage! We don't only exchange soloist, but also bring two world class creations for double jazz orchestra by Bert Joris and Chris Crenhshaw. Together with us, they’ll present a great ode to the big band: a fantastic double bill, and one for the history books.
CONCERT SCHEDULE
- 12/01 BJO International Composition Contest finals in Flagey, Brussels (B) Tickets.
- 22/01 Bring it to the People in Belgian cinemas. Tickets.
- 24/01 In The Pines with Lynn Cassiers in Cultuurcentrum Westrand, Dilbeek (B) Tickets.
- 30/01 We Orchestrate Words with Zediam, Mo & Grazz in Municipal Theatre (Schouwburg), Kortrijk (B) Tickets.
- 01/02 We Orchestrate Words with Zediam, Mo & Grazz in Cultuurcentrum, Bruges (B) Tickets.
- 19/02 BJO & Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra in BOZAR, Brussels (B), Tickets.
WIN FILM TICKETS!

Starting on 22 January, ‘Bring it to the People’ (see below) is playing in Belgian cinemas. Would you like to win a ticket? Simply send us an email before 20/01 and tell us why you’d like to see this documentary. The winners can use their ticket in any cinema where the film is showing.
@brusselsjazzorchestra
Are you already following us on Facebook and Instagram? Discover the latest news, take a peek behind the scenes and follow our concerts on social media.
Share your BJO experience at @brusselsjazzorchestra and #bjo.

 

BJO Meet & Greet
In every BJO newsletter we're introducing you to someone connected with the orchestra, whether it's one of the players or someone behind the scenes. In this edition:
 
Karel Vermeerbergen
(production & administration)

How long have you been part of BJO?
I started with Brussels Jazz Orchestra in November 2017. Before that I studied classical guitar at the Royal Conservatoire in Antwerp and General Management at the Antwerp Management School.
 
What do you do in the orchestra?
I’m responsible for the production, administration and the communication with the musicians. That means I work on everything that has to do with the concerts. I draw up a technical fiche and a rider for every production. From the moment a BJO production gets booked, I contact the venue to make some basic arrangements. When are we expected to show up? What time do we start setting up? When is the sound check? That kind of thing. On the day of the concert, my job is a combination of production manager, tour manager, stage manager and roadie. I communicate with the hall’s staff, keep an eye on the clock, and above all ensure that everything goes smoothly. And I also do a lot of work at my desk at the office: the logistics planning for our (guest)musicians (making travel bookings, transport, hotels,...), dealing with rights, invoices, the management of our orchestra librabry, etc… and sending a lot of emails!
 
Why did you choose this role in the orchestra?
This job was an ideal combination of my studies in music and in management.

What do you do besides work in the orchestra?
Until a few months ago, I had a guitar quartet with three friends from the conservatory. We've put this project on hold for a while. In my free time, I go wall clambing in Antwerp, and I try to get out to concerts as much as I can.
 
Wich project do you or did you most look forward to this season and why?
Most of all I'm looking forward to our project with the Lincoln Center. Two jazz orchestras on the same stage will be a big challenge.


What is your favourite BJO memory?
Given that I’ve only worked for BJO for a few years, there’s not a lot in my memory bank, but I’ll choose a moment that I’ll always remember.
     My first time travelling as a tour manager was to Villars Les Dombers in France, on 20 July 2019. The concert was to be outdoors in a very beautiful place, on the steps of a chateau. Frank Vaganée (artistic director, ed.) was in France on holiday and was only coming by to play the concert. Koen Maes (business manager) had stayed in Belgium. So I was alone as far as the staff. On Saturday 20 July, our flight departed with several hours’ delay. I communicated with the organisers, and got the sound check postponed an hour. During the sound check it started to rain lightly, but the organisation didn’t think it would be a problem. Once the concert started, the rain got heavier. They hastily set up party tents but they hardly worked. The audience, musicians and technicians were soaked to the skin, and after 20 minutes we had to stop the concert.
     The next morning I was awakened by a phone call from Brussels Airlines telling me that our flight was cancelled and that we all had to come to the airport. It turned out they had already booked us on the next flight to Brussels, but it wasn’t until the following day… This didn’t work for some of the musicians, so the orchestra got back into taxis and went to the Lyon train station (next to our hotel). Two TGVs and a regional train later, we arrived in Brussels. It was quite a rainy ‘baptism by fire’!


What was the last CD/Spotify track or radio hit you listened to?
Death Letter - Cassandra Wilson.

Who would you like to invite to do a production with BJO and why?
Gregory Porter: simply a fantastic voice!


 



 
Listen to the musical choice of Karel Vermeerbergen here.
BJO musicians perform | Our musicians have a lot more in their datebooks than BJO concerts. They play in other groups, organise projects or release albums, working with BJO colleagues or big names on the national and international jazz scene. We're proud to provide an overview of their calendars in every newsletter.
 
Frank Vaganée
  • On 26/01 Frank plays with Sam Gerstmans and Teun Verbruggen during the Ham Sessions in Ghent.  More info.
  • On 13/02 Frank plays with OTOMACHINE in the Stadsschouwburg Mechelen during Jazz Night 2020, together with several other BJO musicians. More info.
Lode Mertens
  • On 13/02, Lode is also present at the Stadsschouwburg in Mechelen, where he plays with OTOMACHINE. He is one of the founders of this funkband, together with soulmates Dieter Limbourg (also a BJO musician) and Frank Deruytter. More info.
Carlo Nardozza
  • With the trio In Bocca al Lupo, Carlo presents a new album. The trumpet player chose to work together with pianist Alano Gruarin and guitar player Tim Finoulst to record an album from which every track is dedicated to the most important people in his life. The album 'Dedicato' will be released on these concerts: C-Mine, Genk on 17/01, JazzA in Zandhoven on 24/01, the Jacques Pelzer Club in Liège on 05/02 and Chapelle, Herentals on 08/02. More info.
    Watch the teaser for the album here.
Nathalie Loriers
  • On 02/02, Nathalie plays during the Sieste musicale with piano and Tibetan bowls in the Delta, Namen . More info.
  • Nathalie is present at Jazz Station in Sint-Joost-ten-Node on 15/02, together with Rachel Gould and Riccardo del Fra. More info.
  • On 16/02, there's a second Sieste musicale with piano and Tibetan bowls in Espace Toots in Evere. More info.




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