Brendan Jan Walsh

artistic director

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  • Classical Music Rave


Brendan Jan Walsh is a classical music mutineer.

Born in England (1979), bred in Belgium, trained throughout Europe and now living in Amsterdam, Brendan may well be named borderless. For years he has combined this geographical exploration with a journey through disciplines, genres, audience groups and times, never minding the traditional borders between high and low, old and new, day and night, haves and have nots. It makes of him the perfect broker between the classics, the heritage of the future and those who wish to build it, listen to it or barely dare to look at it.

“He is a cellist, consultant, conductor, DJ, entrepreneur and producer in one. Confusing? Maybe. But his transboundary vision makes him an inspiring figure in the classical music world that is almost naturally used to dig itself in tradition. He makes curious by arousing curiosity. He opens doors, eyes and ears in a sassy and entrepreneurial fashion by smartly using conventions – mixing them unexpectedly – and breaking them with the same ease. This way he not only contributes to the classical metier but also generates a renewed interest, with the classical music rave as a telling example.” (Maarten van Boven, director of Muziekgebouw aan’t IJ, Amsterdam)

As a music student, Brendan felt the urge to do more than perform on stage. He wanted to be part of a cultural revolution, finding new ways to connect art to the world. So he temporarily sold his artistic soul and was (much to his own surprise) admitted to a world-class business school, ESCP Europe. He consequently gathered professional experience in the corporate world with L'Oréal, IBM, Société Générale and Lausanne Consulting, aiming to bring back this expertise into the cultural sector. Whilst working for the European Union Youth Orchestra the entrepreneurial bug bit him.

Brendan is director of the strategic marketing company BRENDING, connecting Arts to Business and Consumers. Amongst his clients are the European Commission Representation Office, European Choral Association, TEDx, Rabobank, City of The Hague, Netherlands Reisopera, Flanders Philharmonic and Piranha Music.

He claims to have no real job, but lots of work as a cellist, conductor, classical music deejay, consultant, lecturer, presenter and producer of events that break with etiquette, such as the Classical Music Rave where audiences dance all night to - indeed - classical music. His latest endeavour is called The Crypt: a new underground stage in Amsterdam for the indie-classical music scene.

People call him a music innovator, a musician gone corporate, an Indie-Classical expert, a one-man revolution or just ‘professor’ when lecturing about cultural entrepreneurship at various international art and music colleges.

As part of the charitable organisation Syrious Mission, Brendan regularly travels to the Middle East to give music workshops to Syrian refugee children.

In 2015 Brendan was awarded a global fellowship from ISPA, the International Society of Performing Arts. In the same year he also received a yearlong residency from the Amsterdam Fund for the Arts. Brendan regularly speaks at international conferences, lectures, concerts and in the pub.

participating in

  • Classical:NEXT 2018
  • Classical:NEXT 2017
  • Classical:NEXT 2016
  • Classical:NEXT 2015
  • Classical:NEXT 2014
  • Classical:NEXT 2013

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