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For over fifty years, the Flanders Symphony Orchestra has been a beacon of the Flemish orchestral landscape. Composed of sixty highly committed and passionate musicians, and led by renowned (guest) 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 orchestra fulfils an exemplary role in creating opportunities for young, talented musicians, composers, soloists and conductors.
Thanks to its own concert series in the major venues of Flanders and Brussels, the orchestra succeeds in reaching a very large and loyal audience. In addition, the orchestra is often invited to international venues in France, Germany and The Netherlands.
From the season 2013-2014 onwards the British conductor Jan Latham-Koenig will succeed Japanese Seikyo Kim as the chief conductor of the Flanders Symphony Orchestra. Latham-Koenig is considered as one of the best conductors of the United Kingdom and has already built up extensive experience in operatic and symphonic repertoire. He is the artistic director of the Moscow Novaya Opera and the Orquesta Filarmónica de la UNAM in Mexico City.
By appointing Jan Latham-Koenig as his chief conductor, the Flanders Symphony Orchestra wishes to make the symphonic repertoire accessible from classicism to the present to a wide and diverse audience. Each concert is a unique experience thanks to a well-balanced and bold programme. In addition, the Flanders Symphony Orchestra contributes strongly to cultural education and youth activities in Flanders using a travelling exhibition on the instruments of the orchestra.
The orchestra was founded in 1960 by engineer Dirk Varendonck who also was its 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. Since then the orchestra has been conducted successively by David Angus, Etienne Siebens and Seikyo Kim as their principal conductor. Since September 2017, Frederik Styns has been the general manager of the Flanders Symphony Orchestra.