Belgium loses one of its great composers


Phillipe Boesmans, an icon of classical music, has passed away at the age of 85. A composer of contemporary music, as well as chamber music and symphonies, he shone on the Belgian and international stages.

Philippe Boesmans was born in Tongeren in 1936. After studying piano at the Royal Conservatory in Liège, he turned to composition, in which he was self-taught. He then worked at the Centre Henri Pousseur and as a producer for RTBF.

Composer in residence at La Monnaie for around 30 years, his first opera, La Passion de Gilles (1983), was the first of a series of works that comprised Reigen (1983), Wintermärchen (1999) and Julie (2004). Yvonne, princesse de Bourgogne (2009) and Au monde (2014) were directed by La Monnaie in co-production with major opera houses in Paris and Aix-en-Provence. Pinocchio (2017), his last opera, was the result of a collaboration with Joël Pommerat.

His career earned him numerous awards (Prix Italia, International Opera Award, Prix de la critique française, etc.) and was honoured in its entirety with the Prix Honegger in 2000.

Philippe Boesmans bowed out on 10 April 2022 after "a short illness". But the artist did not leave without giving us one last composition. A few weeks ago, La Monnaie announced On purge bébé, a comedy whose score was being completed before the composer's death and whose premiere is scheduled for December 2022.