Meet Philippe Coffyn

03 Nov 2022

Every two months we introduce you to someone connected with the orchestra, whether on stage or behind the scenes. Today we’re talking to Philippe Coffyn (chairman of the board of directors).


How long have you been part of BJO?

In 2007, I was asked by Koen Maes, Frank Vaganée and Marc Godfroid to become a director of the BJO. Quite some time later, in 2017, I was asked to take up the chairmanship role, something I enjoy doing to this day.


What do you do for the orchestra?

Together with the other directors, we have ultimate responsibility for the ins and outs of the organisation. We are responsible for the strategic direction of the organisation, the financial follow-up and the relationship with partners, such as, for example, the Flemish Community that grants the subsidy.  The submission of the five-year subsidy file is one of the most important contributions because it is essential for the orchestra's survival.


Why did you choose this role?

First of all, you actually have to be chosen. When I was asked the question, I agreed because I consider it a great honour to make a personal contribution to this orchestra. Brussels Jazz Orchestra has a strong international appeal, and its activities also contribute to the general awareness of jazz for large orchestra.


What do you do besides playing in the orchestra?

I'm an IT manager in an HR services company that operates globally. Its headquarters are in Amsterdam.


Which project are you looking forward to the most and why?

I am looking forward to the new album featuring the music of Gainsbourg and French singer Camille Bertault, as I am very curious to hear how and what the orchestra has added to this tradition. In addition, a project with accordionist Philippe Thuriot is currently developing, which I am also curious about.


What's your favourite BJO memory?

Undoubtedly the Grammy ceremony in Los Angeles in 2014, following the two nominations of the Wild Beauty project with Joe Lovano. Frank was then escorted like a true star under motorised police from the LAPD to the Staples Center Arena: incredible! Only in America. And on top of that, it was great to witness the final show with Daft Punk, Nile Rodgers, Lorde and many others.


"A project with a jazz or pop star from the USA would be top-notch. Who knows, maybe we could go for a second Grammy nomination?"

- Philippe Coffyn.


What's your connection to jazz?

As an amateur trumpet player, I played big band, dixieland and other light music from a young age. It was in that context that I met Frank Vaganée, when he came to replace our alto saxophonist in our 'family' dance orchestra. Until today, more than 40 years later, I still play the trumpet. I'm inspired by the fantastic trumpet players I have met such as Chet Baker, Bert Joris, Wynton Marsalis, Ambrose Akinmusire and, of course, the BJO's trumpet section.


What was the last CD/Spotify track/radio hit you listened to?

The last BJO track I listened to was 'What If' from the album Two Places. On it, you can hear the funky baritone intro by Bo (Van der Werf) and the extraordinary orchestration by Dieter (Limbourg): the massive sound of the orchestra is combined into a special mix with Zediam's rap and DJ Grazzhoppa's scratching skills.

I also recently listened to 'Oblivion' by Gwen Cresens with the Brussels Philharmonic.


Who would you like to invite to play a production with BJO and why?

I would especially love to see the BJO perform with Wynton Marsalis' Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra in New York. In addition, a project with another jazz or pop star from the USA would be top-notch. Who knows, maybe we could go for a second Grammy nomination?