The Flanders Symphony Orchestra is one of Belgium's leading orchestras since 1960. Chief-conductor is Kristiina Poska.
Composed of highly committed and passionate musicians, and led by renowned conductors, the Flanders Symphony Orchestra both performs and creates new compositions as well as electrifying renditions of the main symphonic repertoire from the classical period onwards.
The Flanders Symphony Orchestra is in residence at De Bijloke Music Centre, Ghent (member of the UNESCO Creative Cities of Music Network), and receives support from the Flemish Government and the City of Ghent.
The orchestra was founded in 1960 by engineer Dirk Varendonck, also the orchestra’s first conductor. From 1984 onwards the ‘Nieuw-Vlaams Symfonieorkest’ was conducted by Patrick Peire, Robert Groslot and Fabrice Bollon. The orchestra finally adopted its current name in the mid-1990s upon the arrival of the orchestra’s manager, Dirk Coutigny. Principal conductors have included David Angus, Etienne Siebens and Seikyo Kim. British conductor Jan Latham-Koenig has been chief conductor since 2013. Since September 2017, Frederik Styns has been the general manager of the Flanders Symphony Orchestra.
As from the concert season 2019-20, Kristiina Poska will become the new chief conductor of the Flanders Symphony Orchestra.
Thanks to its own concert series in all major venues of Flanders and Brussels, the orchestra succeeds in reaching a large and loyal audience. In addition, the orchestra is a welcome guest at international venues and festivals in France, Germany, The Netherlands and the United Kingdom.
Together with De Bijloke Music Centre, the orchestra develops new orchestral formats such as ‘Classical Music Raves’, based around dance parties, and several outdoor events. In collaboration with Concertgebouw Bruges, the orchestra has developed ‘CLUB Surround’, a project in which the audience is seated on stage in between the musicians. As one of Belgium’s most important orchestras, the Flanders Symphony Orchestra fulfills an exemplary role in creating outreach projects, educational projects as well as projects focusing on the development of young and talented musicians, composers, and conductors.