Serious fire damage to Brussels concert hall and organ

Serious fire damage to Brussels concert hall and organ


norman lebrecht

January 19, 2021

The effects of yesterday’s fire at the Beaux Arts (Bozar) concert hall are now being assessed and the damage is extensive.

The hall director Paul Dujardin was on the radio this morning saying that the steel and glass roof is unstable and could cave in after last night’s heavy rain.

The composer Bernard Foccroulle, former director of the Théâtre royal de la Monnaie, writes: ‘According to my information, the ceilings of some exhibition halls have collapsed, the great hall could be closed for months, or even years. The organ (where I was to record a CD in three weeks) is out of order.’

He is furious that Belgian national media barely reported the disaster. ‘What does it take today for cultural life to be at the heart of media, political and civic attention?’

Two firefighters were injured in the blaze.



  • Henry williams says:

    People do not care. As i have mentioned before many people i have worked with no nothing
    About london concert halls. And they do not wish to know.

  • AndrewB says:

    This is sad indeed. I have taken part in concerts at Bozar several times. The artistic team was very welcoming , the programming interesting and there was a good atmosphere for both public and performers. Let us hope that the finance and political willingness will be on hand to restore the building if possible.

  • Mark Janssens says:

    The item was live on the 7 o’clock news on the main tv-channel in Flanders (Belgium). Ratings : 1,2 mill viewers. Share : 50,9 % of the market. See
    For some people it will never be enough!

  • Timmy says:

    I think many people care/are interested.

  • Arto says:

    Foccroulle wrote a fair new update on his Facebook:

    Last night I regretted the fact that the RTBF news did not mention the fire in progress at the Palais des Beaux-Arts in Brussels. Since then, the RTBF has given an important place to this disaster, the precise consequences of which are not yet known, but which could be dreadful.
    In this period of populism where journalists and media are too often targeted, I would like to reiterate here my attachment to public service broadcasting. More than ever, in these difficult and lonely times, public service broadcasting is an essential social link, a valued source of food, a reliable and verified source of information.
    Today we need stronger links between the world of culture and the world of media.
    Print and broadcast journalists do a lot of work in often uncomfortable conditions. Thanks to them!

  • Madeleine Richardson says:

    I know Bozar well. La Monnaie usually uses it for its concert programme instead of the opera house. I have heard some of the world’s finest opera singers perform there, the last being René Fleming.
    I expect they might use the Cirque Royal as a replacement venue as they did when La Monnaie was being refurbished.

  • Edgar Self says:

    What is the speculation as to the cause? Fires of this sort often occur during repairs or roof work. Director Dujardin mentioned rains last night that could have helped extinguish the fire.

  • Sue Sonata Form says:


  • JussiB says:

    My house is being renovated should I be worried??

  • Madeleine Richardson says:

    Maybe the Brussels crowd could come to Antwerp in the meantime. The renovated Elisabethzaal has excellent acoustics and presumably once the lockdown is lifted, will restart its series of classical concerts.
    I’m living in hopes that the de Falla/Ravel concert will go ahead and have added the Richard Strauss/Gershwin concert for the end of March.
    Meanwhile deSingel arts centre is still going ahead with the Prokofiev happening. Each year it highlights a composer for a day-long showcase of his works. DeSingel also has an excellent restaurant.