In Brussels, the airline has adopted the orchestra

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March 6, 2019 – Brussels Airlines and Brussels Philharmonic announce a new partnership that allows the orchestra to grasp more international opportunities and revolutionizes their touring pattern. The partnership is a first in the classical music market and makes way for international expansion and a more tailor-made repertoire.

Brussels Philharmonic is working on a strong international profile to become a leading orchestra in the global music scene and a proud classical music ambassador of Belgium to the world. Therefore the Belgian orchestra constantly invests in its international touring activity and in high-profile visiting artists from all over the world. Brussels Philharmonic works with top-notch music director Stéphane Denève and has garnered critical acclaim for its recordings, including an Academy Award and a Diapason d’Or de l’année.

Traditional orchestra touring presents a set of particular challenges, making it a complex and costly operation. The brand new partnership between Brussels Philharmonic and Brussels Airlines paves the way for a revolution in touring activity: instead of travelling for a longer period from one venue to the other, the partnership consists of one-day returns to specific venues or festivals, with Brussels as a base. This ‘touring 2.0’ allows for a time- and cost-efficient approach, placing always at the forefront the artistic objective of both concert performer and concert organiser, and thus making it possible a tailor-made and high quality project for each venue.

“This partnership brings a breath of fresh air to the traditional touring business as Brussels Airlines will become our official logistics partner. The ‘one-day return’ concept will lead to open in-depth discussion with venues or festivals in Europe on the repertoire and content of a project to be performed by the orchestra on a specific stage. Without compromising both artistic partners (orchestra and venue) will sharpen their identity. Once the programme is defined, Brussels Philharmonic will develop the project in Belgium and then bring it to the venue in the shortest possible time-frame (one day), served by a charter flight handled with care by Brussels Airlines. We are extremely happy to work with our national airline on this project and look forward to our cooperation.”
— Gunther Broucke, Intendant Brussels Philharmonic


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  • One orchestra, at least, who ought to be able to count on stowing their instruments in the overheads?

    But tush, I speak too soon…

  • So basically they’ll fly them straight back on the same night after they’ve performed somewhere? Doesn’t that make for some very long nights for the performers, and wouldn’t they rather go for a beer after the concert rather than rushing off for an 11pm flight home?
    Also, I take it Brussels airport doesn’t have a night curfew for landings?

    • This has to be balanced against both the costs of hotels and meals for overnight stays – and also the understandable desire many players have to get back home to their families. Weeks on end with only Skype or Viber as a way to see your kids can be a soul-destroying experience. Not all musicians are footloose and fancy-free.

    • As Viola points out, the economics are probably an impediment. Some orchestras simply can’t afford the costs of ~100 hotel rooms and per diem for overnight stay on shorter Intra-European tours with limited sponsorship.

      As for Brussels Airport, no, there isn’t a curfew in effect at present. But even with curfews, most infractions result in a percentage increase based on standard landing fees and usually come to less than a €1.000 surcharge per violation (and to show you just how much airlines care about those fines, most larger airports in Europe with curfews log >1000 avoidable or outright intentional infractions each year).

  • Since the airline changed its name no-one will be able to say, ‘Such A Bloody Ensemble, Never Again’.

  • That sounds very taxing for the orchestra. I don’t enjoy concerts when the musicians fly in and out for them. Why not use rail transport?

  • This is normal practice with the London Big Four orchestras, calling them Crash n Burns. Fly out early on the day of the concert to the venue. Arrive lunchtime. Rehearsal. Show. Sleep in local hotel. Back on the first flight back to London. Keeps costs low. Indeed, due to time zone differences, have been known to fly back to London after an early 5pm show, arriving in London before midnight. Hence, negating costs even further. No other orchestras would reconcile this work practice – it’s normal for London based musicians!

  • So will this unite the Walloons and the Flemish in musical harmony? They are practically two separate countries.

  • Another orchestra that starts touring with the same repertoire. When does somebody write an article about the enormous ecological footprint of classical music? With al this big groups flying It is a relatively dirty art. Besides that: More orchestras start sounding the same so there should be less reason to go on tour. Stay at home and be busy bringing the beautiful music to (new) local audiences!

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