Jan Caeyers is a Belgian conductor and musicologist. He lived, studied and worked in Vienna for many years. From 1993 to 1997, he was assistant to Claudio Abbado at the Gustav Mahler Jugendorchester. During this time, he also worked closely with Bernard Haitink and Pierre Boulez.
Until 2003, Caeyers was director of the Beethoven Academy, a period instrument orchestra with which he was “artist in residence” at deSingel in Antwerp. With the Beethoven Academy, Jan Caeyers toured major European concert halls including Musikverein Vienna, Salzburg Mozarteum, Concertgebouw Amsterdam, Cité de la Musique in Paris, and Auditorio Nazional in Madrid. As guest conductor, Jan Caeyers has led Antwerp Symphony, Staatsoper Stuttgart and orchestras in Berlin, Paris, Madrid, Barcelona and Prague. He has also conducted leading European choirs like the Arnold Schoenberg Chor in Vienna or the Nederlands Kamerkoor.
In 2009, as a result of many years of research, his biography of Ludwig van Beethoven was published in Dutch by De Bezige Bij in Amsterdam. Meanwhile in its seventh edition, the superbly documented and elegantly written book has met with an enthusiastic reception. In 2012, the German translation was published by C. H. Beck in Munich under the title “Beethoven: Der einsame Revolutionär” (The lonely revolutionary). Since becoming a bestseller in Germany, it has been considered a reference work on Beethoven worldwide. Other translations have followed or are in preparation, including editions in Hungarian, Chinese and Arabic. In the Beethoven year 2020, a revised German edition and an English translation will be published.
In 2010, Jan Caeyers founded his own Beethoven orchestra, Le Concert Olympique, with which he gave two sensational debut concerts in the same year at deSingel. In February 2018, Jan Caeyers was named Artistic Director of the newly founded Internationale Beethoven Akademie e.V. in Berlin.
Kristian Bezuidenhout is one of today’s most notable and exciting keyboard artists, equally at home on the fortepiano, harpsichord, and modern piano. Born in South Africa in 1979, he began his studies in Australia, completed them at the Eastman School of Music, and now lives in London. After initial training as a pianist with Rebecca Penneys, he explored early keyboards, studying harpsichord with Arthur Haas, fortepiano with Malcolm Bilson, and continuo playing and performance practice with Paul O’Dette. He first gained international recognition at the age of 21 after winning the prestigious first prize, and audience prize at the Bruges Fortepiano Competition.
Kristian Bezuidenhout is a regular guest with the world’s leading ensembles including the Freiburger Barockorchester, Les Arts Florissants, Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, Orchestre des Champs Elysées, Koninklijk Concertgebouworkest, Chicago Symphony Orchestra and Leipzig Gewandhausorchester. He has guest-directed (from the keyboard) the English Concert, Orchestra of the Eighteenth Century, Tafelmusik, Collegium Vocale, Juilliard 415, Kammerakademie Potsdam and Dunedin Consort (St Matthew Passion), and has performed with celebrated artists including John Eliot Gardiner, Philippe Herreweghe, Frans Brüggen, Trevor Pinnock, Giovanni Antonini, Jean-Guihen Queyras, Isabelle Faust, Alina Ibragimova, Rachel Podger, Carolyn Sampson, Anne Sofie von Otter, Mark Padmore and Matthias Goerne.
His rich and award-winning discography on Harmonia Mundi includes the complete keyboard music of Mozart (Diapason d’Or de L’année, Preis der Deutschen Schallplattenkritik, Cecilia Prize); Mozart Violin Sonatas with Petra Müllejans; Mendelssohn and Mozart Piano Concertos with the Freiburger Barockorchester (ECHO Klassik); Beethoven and Mozart Lieder, and Schumann Dichterliebe with Mark Padmore (Edison Award). In 2013 he was nominated as Gramophone Magazine’s Artist of the Year. Recent releases include Winterreise with Mark Padmore, and Bach’s sonatas for violin and harpsichord with Isabelle Faust.
In the 2018/19 season, Kristian Bezuidenhout play-directed programmes with Scottish Chamber Orchestra, Irish Baroque Orchestra, Freiburger Barockorchester and English Concert. As a soloist, he performed with Cleveland Orchestra/Cohen, Swedish Chamber Orchestra/Dausgaard, London Symphony Orchestra/Gardiner, Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin/Ticciati and Orchestre de Paris/Harding. Solo recitals and chamber music (with Rachel Podger, Sol Gabetta and the Chiaroscuro Quartet) have taken him to Paris, Amsterdam, Madrid, Vienna, New York, Washington DC, Montreal, Vancouver, Zurich and Oxford.
Le Concert Olympique was founded in 2010 as the brainchild of Beethoven expert and conductor Jan Caeyers. He gathered 50 of the finest musicians from all over Europe to provide a contemporary experience of a timeless tradition with relevant and authentic performances of masterpieces by Beethoven and his contemporaries. All members of the orchestra share the love of music and the ambition to perform the works of the Viennese classical era in a fresh way and, at the same time, conscious of tradition, while developing a unique style that is both modern and historically motivated.
The orchestra has two residencies in Belgium: one at the Flagey in Brussels, and one at deSingel in Antwerp, where it started off with two sensational debut concerts in 2010. Since then, Le Concert Olympique has been invited to many other prestigious concert halls such as the Vienna Musikverein and De Doelen in Rotterdam. In the fall of 2017, the orchestra made its debut at the Beethovenfest Bonn and the Berlin Philharmonie. With its sophisticated programs, it also thrilled audiences at the Vienna Konzerthaus and the Amsterdam Concertgebouw. In December 2018, the orchestra debuted at the Festspielhaus Baden-Baden with Beethoven’s Missa Solemnis .
The musicians of Le Concert Olympique only come together several times per year to work intensively on their ambitious projects. The festive character of their concerts is emphasized by the fact that the musicians are dressed in concert attire designed by the Antwerp fashion house Maison Anna Heylen. This collaboration illustrates their shared goal of combining classical tradition with a modern experience.
The name Le Concert Olympique refers to "Le Concert de la Société Olympique", the best-known concert series in Paris between 1782 and 1789. "Le Concert de la Société Olympique" commissioned six symphonies - his “Paris Symphonies” - from Joseph Haydn in 1785, which caused a stir and are generally considered the birth of the modern classical symphony.