Biography

Luc Brewaeys (Mortsel, August 25, 1959 – Antwerp, December 18, 2015) studied composition with André LAPORTE in Brussels, Franco DONATONI in Siena (Italy) and Brian FERNEYHOUGH in Darmstadt (Germany). From 1980 to 84 he had regular contacts with Iannis XENAKIS in Paris. He was also conductor, pianist and recording producer at the VRT (Flemish Radio & Television).

Luc Brewaeys was awarded several prizes and distinctions : 3rd Prize of the European Competition for Young Composers for “.., e poi c’era…” Symphony n° 1 (Amsterdam, 1985); 1st Prize in the category of young composers of the International Rostrum of Composers of the UNESCO for the same work (Paris, 1986); the “Prix de Musique Contemporaine du Québec” for his entire work (Montréal, 1988); 1st Prize of the Competition for European Composers of the International Encounters of Contemporary Music in Metz (F) for “Komm! Hebe dich…” Symphony n° 2 (1988); the Prize for Music of the Flemish Community (1989); the SABAM-Prize (1990); 1st Prize “Premio Musicale Città di Trieste” for symphonic composition for “Symphony n° 3 : Hommage” (1991).

In 1996 the Belgian Musical Press awarded him two Prizes for the recording of his (up to then) entire symphonic work by the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra of Flanders conducted by Arturo Tamayo. In 1999 he received the Cultural Prize “Blanlin-Evrart” from the Catholic University of Leuven for his entire work.

He was “composer in residence” of the International Cultural Center deSingel for the ’88-’89 concert season, Guest-composer of the 4th Week of Contemporary Music at the Ghent Conservatory in February ’89. From 1991 to ’92 Luc Brewaeys was composer in residence of the city of Saint-Nazaire (France) for the composition of “Kientzyphonie” (Symphony n° 4) for Daniel Kientzy on saxophones and large wind orchestra. In February and December 1998 he gave Masterclasses in Composition and Conducting at the University of Aveiro (P).

From 1998 to 2000 Luc Brewaeys was professor of composition at the Ghent Conservatory.

In 2001 he was composer in residence of the ensemble “I Fiamminghi” and also at the first Festival “Dicht bij huis” in Tilburg (NL), where 11 of his works were performed (some of them with the composer conducting or at the piano).

He was appointed “composer in residence” at BOZAR (the “Palais des Beaux Arts”) in Brussels for the season 2003-04. He was also one of the main featured composers at the 2004 edition of the Ars Musica Festival (Brussels). He was central composer of the 2007 edition of the festival “November Music”, on which occasion “Talisker” and his “Symphony n° 7” were programmed.

In December 2008 Luc Brewaeys was elected member of the Royal Flemish Academy of Belgium for Science and the Arts.

In February-March 2009, he was in residence in Montréal where he gave Masterclasses at the McGill University, at the Université de Montréal and at the Conservatoire. In September 2009 he was invited by the Cantus Ansambl in Zagreb for workshops and a performance of “Cardhu” as part of the Re:new music project, an initiative of ensembles and composers’ organisations in Europe. In October the same year he was appointed guest professor of composition at the Conservatory of Rotterdam (The Netherlands).

In 2013 the Flemish classical music station Klara (VRT) heralded him “musician of the year”.

Luc Brewaeys received many commissions both in Belgium and abroad. His works include 8 Symphonies, 2 String Quartets, Chamber and Solo pieces, electro-acoustic (& mixed) works, a Chamber Opera “Antigone”, an opera “L’uomo dal fiore in bocca”. His music can best be described as “spectral symphonic” with (especially in more recent works) lyrical accents.

From 2002 to 2005 he recomposed, on commission of the Antwerp Symphony Orchestra, the complete two books of “Préludes” by Claude Debussy for orchestra.

In February 2007 his first opera (on Pirandello’s “L’uomo dal fiore in bocca”), commissioned by the Belgian National Opera “La Monnaie”, got its widely acclaimed premiere in Brussels.

During the seasons 2012-2013 and 2014-2015 his music was performed by the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra Amsterdam, who also commissioned a new piece : “…sciolto nel fore universale del vuoto…”. In the same period, I Solisti del Vento and the Collegium Vocale (Philippe Herreweghe) gave a joint commission for “Sonnets to sundry Notes of Music” for winds and mixed choir.

Due to severe illness Luc was not able to finish the scores. He passed away on December 18, 2015. He was 56.