American Friends

Founded in 1939, the Music Chapel is a center of musical excellence where young artists in residence, selected from around the world, are in contact with, and benefit from the advice of, leading artists, musical masters – not only through masterclasses but also by sharing the stage together. Over the past 15 years, the Chapel has grown within its own laboratory, based in Waterloo, Belgium. It has also developed a network of important partners around the world and wishes to collaborate with leading American and Canadian institutions.

The aim of this development on the North American continent is clear: to create bridges that will make it possible for young artists to grow on both sides of the Atlantic, in markets that are sometimes a bit too far apart. This process relies not only on exchanges of projects and artists but also on exchanges of initiated audiences wishing to contribute to the success of this connection around transmission. Our American Friends Launch Event took place @ The Morgan Library & Museum in New York on 2017.03.15.

Discover the brochure created for this occasion.

Music Chapel: an 80 years journey

Inaugurated on July 12, 1939, the Queen Elisabeth Music Chapel is named in honor of Queen Elisabeth of Belgium, co-founder of this center for musical excellence. A violinist herself, she was a keen supporter of the arts, amongst other causes, and always eager to help young talent. Her love of music and her support of gifted musicians are honored and carried on to this day by the continued patronage of the Belgian royal family, with Her Majesty Queen Paola serving as Honorary Chairman of the Music Chapel.

The Queen Elisabeth Music Chapel is the fruit of Ysaÿe’s reflection on transmission and of the formidable energy that Queen Elisabeth deployed during the interwar period to bring about a series of ambitious cultural projects in her adopted home country of Belgium. Headstrong and close to the artistic and intellectual milieux (she was as close to Albert Einstein as well as Pablo Casals), Queen Elisabeth helped to make Belgium an important center for the arts in the late 1930s.

These two personalities had a clear vision and mission, which is still to be found at the heart of the Music Chapel’s philosophy and actions today. Ysaÿe opened Queen Elisabeth’s eyes and mind to the principle of music education through transmission, the impetus behind their co-founding of the Queen Elisabeth Music Foundation in 1931.  Together, they envisioned an environment where highly gifted young musicians can grow and develop towards excellence, through unique, tailored exposure to the knowledge, technique, and experience of seasoned masters.

Today the Music Chapel has become a center of musical excellence where young artists in residence, selected from around the world, are in contact with, and benefit from the advice of leading artists, musical masters – not only through masterclasses but also by sharing the stage together.

A modern addition enables the Music Chapel to support more than 60 artists in residence—five times its previous capacity—as well as engage visitors and concertgoers in a new 250-person performance hall. The tranquility of the environment remains unchanged, however, with the concert hall looking out upon the forest of Argenteuil and the architecture intended to blend with and reflect the natural surroundings.

With its rich history of vision, tradition, and musical distinction, the Music Chapel is so much more than an educational center— it is truly an experience, for musicians and audiences alike. This experience isn’t possible without the quality and excellence of the Masters in Residence. It is their high standards and full dedication which make it truly unforgettable, unique and so attractive for the next generation of musicians.

The ‘American Friends’ Project

Building from our decades-long history, the masters, artists, and staff of the Music Chapel are all deeply committed to the vision of Queen Elisabeth and Eugene Ysaÿe. It falls upon us, collectively, to keep alive the spirit of transmission, and to use this as a means to build vibrancy and excellence among the artists of the future.

Today, as we continue to steward this legacy and mission, we seek partnership and support from committed lovers of music, who wish to be part of shaping the future of this art form. 

Music is an art “without borders”, a universal language: it is all about shared emotional responses that we all, as human beings, feel. Music gives us the opportunity to experience our common humanity beyond all our cultural differences.

The Music Chapel is like a little jewel, settled in Belgium, where the core mission is the transmission of this universal language; a cultural heritage that has been passed from one generation to another. Simultaneously, we are ever mindful of the aim of excellence and sharing this work with a very wide public. It is this imperative to reach new audiences and build the most robust network of support for our young artists that brings us to the United States, a country with a long and proud tradition of encouraging expression through private patronage.

This means that you too can be part of the passion of our young musicians, by joining the American Friends of the Queen Elisabeth Music Chapel!

In Belgium and abroad, our donors are invaluable partners that we wish to work within respecting their philanthropic visions. This means you can choose to give an unrestricted contribution to our discretionary fund, allowing us to address constantly evolving ongoing needs, or you may work with our team to identify a specific area of interest that you may like to support. This could range from targeted grants in artist support, addressing concerns like their travel or lodging, sponsorship of an instrument, or even naming a chair for a Master in residence.

Importantly, each of these are initiatives that not only keep our doors open but keep the Music Chapel thriving in the 21st century. And, we are eager to tailor unique opportunities of engagement that will allow you to see the true force of your gift in action.

No matter the size, your gift will play an invaluable role, having an impact on every aspect of our house: the young talents, the masters in residence, the guest artists, and the public who enjoy the concerts they perform!

Donate now

Gifts at all levels have the potential to support a wide range of needs at the Queen Elisabeth Music Chapel, including maintenance or restoration of our original building, a national landmark, or the expansion of our modern facilities and the development of an instruments fund to allow for the purchase of highly valuable instruments for our young artists.

Among other projects, your contribution could:

  • Support a CD recording for one of our young talents. A recording is a unique facet of the music industry, and this experience can be essential for our young artists on their path to development.
  • Finance an instrument purchase of a period instrument or modern string instrument – violin, viola, or cello. To facilitate their growth at this high level, our outstanding artists must be able to play on the highest quality instruments available. You can make this possible, unlocking their potential, and even assign your name in recognition on the instrument.
  • Restore our historically listed building to bring back its original glory. Our historic original building is listed on a national register for preservation, and it is filled with beautiful “De Coene” furniture, “Perzel” lights, and silked walls that require upkeep and restoration. You can help us to preserve this heritage for future generations.
  • Strengthen our endowment fund to preserve the future of the Music Chapel. The endowment will ensure the longevity of our institution and our ability to carry forward the incredible legacy with which we are entrusted.
  • Create a named endowed chair in your honor, supporting a department and one of our Masters in residence. Endowing a named chair today will enable the continued engagement of performers at the highest levels to join the Music Chapel as Masters in residence, contributing to the unlocking of musical potential for generations.
  • Support our community projects to bring music and the arts to a broader audience. For many people, music is nearly absent from their lives. From their disadvantaged or isolated positions, they cannot experience its joy, and it is an important part of our mission to bring music to broad audiences to reach them.

At set giving levels of the American Friends, your gift is allocated to essential programming needs!

As an American Friend of Queen Elisabeth Music Chapel, you will take on a unique role for our institution. Gifts at different levels will be recognized per the previous pages, and we likewise are open to discussions about tailored recognition packages as are appropriate for your contributions.

Regardless of your giving level, you will always be at home at the Music Chapel. We look forward to welcoming you to our campus, affording you the opportunity to see firsthand the incredible impact that our institution has on the development of young artists! You are always free to contact us and let us know you are coming. We would be honored to organize a private tour of our studios and grounds, and to introduce you to the talent you will be lucky to find within our walls.

  • At $100 ($50 for Students & Artists), you become a Friend of the Music Chapel.
    • Newsletter and invitation to events
    • Concert and Event Discounts
  • At $2,000, you become a Patron of the Music Chapel.
    • Newsletter and invitation to events
    • Program recognition
    • Invitation to pre/post-concert receptions
    • 2 complimentary tickets to each US concert
    • Opportunity to attend international performances, musical voyages, and more (Queen Elisabeth Music Competition finals in Belgium, LacMus Festival Concerts in Italy, …).
  • At $5,000, you become a Voyager. You support artists through travel and accommodation grants.
    • Newsletter and invitation to events
    • Program recognition
    • Invitation to pre/post-concert receptions
    • 2 complimentary tickets to each US concert
    • Opportunity to attend international performances, musical voyages, and more (Queen Elisabeth Music Competition finals in Belgium, LacMus Festival Concerts in Italy, …).
    • And more tailormade returns
    • There are more opportunities to support the project and our artists in residence. Returns as above + tailormade benefits
  • At $15,000, you become a Sponsor, granting a named fellowship to a talented young artist.
  • At $25,000, you become a Mentor, enabling a guest Master to give a masterclass cyclus in Waterloo, advancing transmission for our artists.
  • At $125,000, you become a Virtuoso in supporting an entire department through providing a named Chair for a Master in residence.

Even from across the ocean, individuals, foundations, and corporations with a commitment to and passion for music can easily support the Queen Elisabeth Music Chapel through a contribution to the King Baudouin Foundation United States (KBFUS). Because KBFUS is a Section 501(c)(3) public charity, donors may claim the maximum tax benefits allowed by U.S. tax law for their contributions.

You may use any of the following ways to support us:

  • Gifts by check: please make checks payable to KBFUS, including “Queen Elisabeth Music Chapel” in the memo line. Gifts may be mailed to KBFUS, 10 Rockefeller Plaza, 16th Floor, New York, NY 10020.
  • Online Gifts through KBFUS website: click here to be redirected to the website
  • Gifts of property, instruments, or other items: please contact KBFUS by email ( or by phone (212) 713-7660.


We would be very happy to discuss this with you!

To contact the American Friends of the Music Chapel Committee :
Mr. George Ugeux, Chairman
Fc/o Galileo Global Advisors
10 Rockefeller plaza
New York, NY, 10020
E-mail :
Tel: 212-332-6055

With the support of KBFUS