A modern and stylistically flexible symphony orchestra, the Royal Flemish Philharmonic demonstrates an artistic flair which allows for a variety of styles – from classical to contemporary – in a historically authentic manner. Chief Conductor Edo de Waart is responsible for the orchestra’s main repertoire. Drawing on his vast orchestral experience, as former Chief Conductor of the San Francisco and Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra, he contributes to the unique character of the Royal Flemish Philharmonic. He works in close co-operation with Principal Conductor Philippe Herreweghe, who makes use of his specific background in his readings of (pre)Romantic music. Martyn Brabbins is Principal Guest Conductor. Composer Wim Henderickx joins the Royal Flemish Philharmonic as ‘artist in residence’ as of season 2013/2014.
Thanks to its own series of concerts in large venues, the Royal Flemish Philharmonic occupies a unique position in Flanders. The orchestra has earned itself a recurring spot on the annual programmes of the Queen Elisabeth Hall and deSingel in Antwerp, the Centre for Fine Arts in Brussels, de Bijloke Music Centre in Ghent and the Bruges Concertgebouw. Alongside its regular concerts, the Philharmonic attaches great value to developing educational and social projects, offering children, youngsters, and people with different social backgrounds the opportunity to get acquainted with the symphony orchestra from close quarters.
The Royal Flemish Philharmonic has also been a guest of some major foreign concert halls: the Musikverein and Konzerthaus in Vienna, the Festspielhaus in Salzburg, the Amsterdam Concertgebouw, the Suntory Hall and the Bunka Kaikan Hall in Tokyo, the Philharmonie of Cologne and Munich, the Alte Oper in Frankfurt, the Palace of Art in Budapest and the National Grand Theatre of Peking. International concert tours through various European countries and Japan are a constant item on the yearly calendar.
In collaboration with the publisher, Lannoo, the Philharmonic developed a series of audio books for children. The Royal Flemish Philharmonic is frequently broadcast on its media partner, Radio Klara, and on television. Several of the orchestra's CDs received acclaim by the professional press, including the recent recording of Dvorák's Stabat Mater with principal conductor Philippe Herreweghe (Phi). Further releases include recordings of Strauss, Mahler and Dvorák with chief conductor Edo de Waart and Mortelmans and Vieuxtemps with principal guest conductor Martyn Brabbins (Hyperion). The Royal Flemish Philharmonic also records for its own label, focusing on the main orchestral repertoire, Belgian composers and contemporary music.