Belgian organist Bernard Foccroulle (°1953, Liège) began his international career in the mid-1970s, playing a wide range of repertoire from renaissance music to contemporary music. He has performed many world premieres of composers such as Philippe Boesmans, Brian Ferneyhough, Betsy Jolas, Xavier Darasse, Jonathan Harvey, Pascal Dusapin. At the same time, he recorded masterworks of the organ repertoire, from Correa de Arauxo to Tournemire, from Scheidemann to Buxtehude.
In the 1980s, he was a founder member of the Ricercar Consort, a Belgian ensemble devoted mainly to German baroque music. His discography as soloist includes more than forty CDs. Between 1982 and 1997, he recorded the complete organ works by Johann Sebastian Bach for the Ricercar label. For these recordings, he carefully chose the most beautifully preserved historic instruments. Since then he has devoted most of his time as performer to the Northern German School. In 2007, his recording of the Dietrich Buxtehude’s complete organ works won the Diapason d’Or and the Grand Prix de l’Académie Charles Cros among other prizes.
Another important aspect of Bernard Foccroulle’s work is the combination of organ music with other art forms, for example his collaboration with choreographers Jan Fabre (Preparatio mortis
) and Salva Sanchis, or with Australian video artist Lynette Wallworth (Darkness and Light
While continuing his career as organist, he became director of the Brussels opera-house La Monnaie/De Munt in 1992, holding this position until 2007. He has been director of the Festival d’Aix-en-Provence from 2007 until 2018. In 2017, he received the Leadership Award at the International Opera Awards in London.
As a composer, Bernard Foccroulle has written works for soprano or baritone with chamber music or orchestra accompaniment. In 2019, Zauberland
, a cycle of melodies for soprano and piano on poems by Martin Crimp, will be premiered at the Théâtre des Bouffes du Nord in Paris. He has also composed a cycle of pieces for historic organs (CD AEON, Diapason d’Or 2016). His compositions are published by Henry Lemoine, Ricordi and Doblinger.
He is the author of La naissance de l’individu dans l’art
(Grasset, 2003), which was written in collaboration with Robert Legros and Tzvetan Todorov. He also published two books made of interviews: Entre passion et résistance
(Labor, 2005) and Faire vivre l’opéra, un art qui donne sens au monde
(Actes Sud, 2018).
Since 2010, Bernard Foccroulle has been professor of Organ at the Conservatoire Royal de Musique in Brussels. He is Doctor Honoris Causa of the Montréal University and Aix-Marseille Université.
Bernard Foccroulle has been designated as President of the jury of the next Queen Elisabeth Voice Competition in 2022.