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The New Building
In September 2013 was laid the foundation stone for the extension of the Queen Elisabeth Music Chapel: a brand new building in harmony with the current architectural heritage that meets the constantly increasing needs of this unique laboratory of musical life and creativity in Europe. Inaugurated on 12 July 1939, the Music Chapel is characterized by quality training for exceptional young talents. A center of excellence of international scope and prestige, the Music Chapel plays host to top level musicians and ensembles in residence (the musical elite of tomorrow) in piano, violin, cello, chamber music and voice. A renovated Music Chapel was launched in 2004 when its artistic curriculum was completely reorganized. Henceforth, each musician receives training to measure along six lines:
• The compagnonnage, with masters in residence – currently Augustin Dumay, Maria João Pires, José van Dam, Abdel Rahman El Bacha , Gary Hoffman and the Artemis Quartet.
• Career integration through concerts and recitals organized throughout the artistic season thanks to a network of partners. The Music Chapel also organizes 250 concerts per year, including no fewer than 30 abroad throughout Europe (England, Austria, Spain, France, the Netherlands, Italy, Switzerland and Portugal), Russia and Japan, plus an international tour with the Sinfonia Varsovia every other year.
• The promotion of young artists in residence through a discographic collection under the aegis of the Outhere Group (Fuga Libera/ZigZag).
• The Artists Village which promotes the development of the personality of soloists in the world today.
• The Equinox social and artistic project under the artistic direction of Maria João Pires.
• And finally, the Music Chapel, as a real quality facility that fosters concentration, work, mediation, conviviality and exchange.
The New Building project stems directly from the explosion of the Music Chapel’s activities in recent years and is geared to meeting the ensuing new needs. Whereas the existing building represents 1800 m2, this new extension doubles the floor space (3,500 m2): the large music studio will offer not only rehearsal and concert space, but also a real recording studio featuring professional equipment from the Outhere group, 2 large rehearsal and concert studios, 4 rehearsal studios at the disposal of musicians and ensembles in residence, 20 residential studios that will enable the Music Chapel to host up to 60 young artists in residence, and finally an Artist Global Village (restaurant, kitchen made available, lounge area, gym and relaxation facility) will provide the quality environment needed to achieve the objectives of the Music Chapel. In concrete terms, the New Building will enable the Music Chapel to continue to flourish while protecting the existing heritage. More specifically, linked strongly to Queen Elisabeth herself, the past makes the Music Chapel a historic place that deserves to be protected and developed. Some parts of the original building are listed, as is the park as a whole. This requires the two project management firms (L’Escaut & Synergy International), the architects Olivier Bastin and Sébastien Cruyt, and the landscape architect Jean Noël Capart (JNC international) to adopt a respectful attitude and to engage in a real quality dialogue between the old and the new. Visually, the New Building looks like one long horizontal bar more than 80 meters long. The south façade resembles a glass screen which, depending on the outdoor light conditions, can afford a glimpse of life in the corridor and rehearsal rooms, or a reflection of nature and the old building. The outside materials echo the surroundings, so that the extension merges with the environment. Inside, particular attention has been paid to the acoustic qualities of spaces devoted entirely to music by the acoustician Remy Raskin (Capri Acoustique).