de Launoit Wing
Seventy-five years after the opening of the Music Chapel, the de Launoit Wing was inaugurated between in January 2015!
This concluded an intense, decade-long overhaul of the Music Chapel’s program and mark the start of a new page in its history. It also brought to an end a long process of reflection on the contents and container of this beautiful project imagined by Eugène Ysaÿe and Queen Elisabeth, and materialized in 1939 by Paul de Launoit. Indeed, the Queen Elisabeth Music Chapel, a public utility foundation since 2008, was founded in 1939. Starting in 2004, its project was completely overhauled and now focuses on two main axes:
- High-level training in six disciplines (voice, violin, piano, cello, viola and chamber music) and the presence of Masters in Residence. Six major names of classical music are accompanying the Music Chapel and its young artists in 2014-15: José van Dam, Augustin Dumay, Maria João Pires, Gary Hoffman, Miguel Da Silva and the Artemis Quartet.
- Professional insertion through a network of cultural partners in Belgium (Bozar, Flagey, La Monnaie, leading orchestras, etc.) and throughout the world. Over 200 concerts were produced, coproduced or initiated by the Music Chapel during the 2013-14 season.
Each year the Music Chapel welcomes about 60 young talents in residence, both from Belgium and abroad (23 nationalities in 2014-15). The objective of the Music Chapel is to occupy a leading position among the best institutions of this type in the world. The Music Chapel’s operational budget is currently in the order of €2.5 million per year, 80% of which is financed by the private sector (foundations, corporations, private patronage, own revenue) and 20% by public aid (the European Union, Belgium’s Federal Scientific Policy, the Ministry of Education of the Wallonia-Brussels Federation, the National Lottery, etc.).
The expansion of the infrastructure is a project that was launched in 2006 already with the choice of the architecture offices Synergy International and L’Escaut, experts in, among other things, cultural constructions and buildings with a high environmental value. The expansion was the object of a long reflection followed by a demand for a heritage certificate and lastly a building permit obtained in March 2013. These changes make it possible to continue the new dynamic launched in 2004, making it possible to now offer to a greater number of musicians and their professors a residence adapted to the new project by providing among others:
- 20 additional housing studios, a specificity of the Music Chapel;
- three new music, rehearsal and recording studios, indispensable to the Chapel’s activities;
- new living areas that make it possible for these artists to grow in a permanent musical laboratory.
It is also important to underline the choice to complement the wonderful work of the architects with a thorough acoustic analysis conducted by Capri Acoustique (Rémi Raskin), with the restoration and improvement of the listed park by JNC and Jean-Noël Capart, with an efficient partnership with the contracting company AMART (CFE Group), and lastly with a remarkable interior design created for the artists and the audience by MBO (Michèle Buchter).
The de Launoit Wing makes it possible for all to work in a spirit of knowledge transmission favorable to the development of each artist’s talent, rigor and sensitivity in order to help forge new generations of musicians. More than ever, the international vocation of the Music Chapel, rooted in its Belgian setting, is continuing its development.
Regarding the financing of the New Building, the challenge was considerable but it has nevertheless been pulled off successfully! Out of a definitive budget of €10 million, the Music Chapel has so far raised over 90% of the funds, a miracle in the current economic context. The quality of the overall project as well as the striking architecture of the new building have convinced many public and private partners to support the Music Chapel in its development.
The official opening of the building, 75 years after the creation of the Queen Elisabeth Music Chapel, concludes a decade during which its project was thoroughly restructured and provides it with a tool that will enable it to pursue, in optimal conditions, its mission of music transmission to the generations to come.
Bernard de Launoit