Nov 08 2019

Brussels Belgium Bozar Fine Arts

Published by at 5:25 am under PSO 2019 European Tour

The city of chocolate, mussels, frites, beer made by monks, The European Union, the Grand Place, Flemish and French welcomed the Pittsburgh Symphony with an enthusiastic standing ovation on Thursday evening November 7. I spoke with  Ulrich Hauschild, the Director of Music who explained where the name of the Centre, Bozar originated. It has to do with the multitude of languages spoken in the area and the use of he French beaux arts.

Bozar Centre for Fine Arts Brussels Belgium


The Bozar Centre for Fine Arts is the location for the Queen Elizabeth of Belgium Competition and hundreds of concerts throughout the year plus a Cinematek showing a wide range of international films  next to  cafe and a restaurant and an art gallery upstairs which is currently showing an excellent exhibit of Constantin Brancusi the Romanian born sculptor who is represented at the Carnegie. Brancusi aligned himself with the Dada movement and managed to outrage the critics and public many times. He was a music lover and the catalog of the exhibition includes reproductions of the album cover art from some of the records in his collection. The Bozar Book Store was terrific with volumes spanning the art world including a book devoted to record covers from recordings of soccer song favorites. I didn’t even know that was a category much less a book.

Brancusi exhibit at the Bozar Centre Brussels Belgium









A must have volume for your collection from the Bozar Book Store


Sir James Macmillan has just been profiled in the New York Times with the premiere of his Stabat Mater. His Larghetto had principal Trumpet Micah Wilkinson with horn Steven Kostyniak and trombone Peter Sullivan in the top balconies left and right. It’s been very favorably received at every tour stop where it appeared. The same for pianist Igor Levit who has played a different encore for every city. In Brussels he played the Muisc Box Waltz from the Ballet Suite No 1 after his Rachmaninoff Paganini Rhapsody. Igor has played often at the Bozar in the last few seasons winning great affection from the house.

Bozar Centre for Fine Arts Brussels Belgium

The Shostakovich Fifth wove its spell needing an excore which for the first time on this tour brought the Khachaturian Galop from Masquerade and the big solo for Principal  Clarinet Michael Rusinek.


Out my window I see the Palace of Justice with scaffolding that has been in place for decades. Perhaps the work never stops? It was a favorite architectural curiosity for Adolf Hitler during WWII . A Ferris wheel has recently become a feature of the skyline downtown.


I enjoyed speaking with Julia Wehmeier and Hugues Sinier who live in Brussels. Julia is the daughter of Helge and Erika Wehmeier, WQED-FM Angels since arriving in Pittsburgh to lead the operations of Bayer North America. Helge’s sister Gabriele was on hand for the tour concert in Hamburg where she makes her home. it was a happy mood in the slow moving  line to greet Manfred Honeck after the concert.

Julia Wehmeier and Hugues Sinier backstage in Brussels Belgium to gret Manfred Honeck









So was the Deputy Chief of Mission for the US Embassy in Brussels Nicholas Berliner and his wife Alemka. They have arrived on assignment just three months ago. They told me there is no doubt that an American Orchestra like Pittsburgh helps to raise the profile of American citizens putting aside any confusion for Belgian residents about  politics from Washington DC.

Nicholas Berliner Deputy Chief of Missions for the US Embassy Brussels Belgium with Alemka Berliner









The Apple store is just across the street with the latest Iphone, the 11 Pro Max in neon enticing you to spend $1,000. and more to upgrade.  The sun is shining after rain on arrival so its on to Dusseldorf and the final concert of the tour.