Culture minister Joke Schauvliege last week issued a list of 33 nominations in 11 categories. Among them were nominees for the music prize, including Brewaeys, jazz composer and trumpeter Bert Joris and Baroque oboe player Marcel Ponseele. All three are worthy, but Brewaeys considered the line-up a comparison of apples and pears. He also criticised the existence of prizes at all: “I would argue for sustained support for composers, rather than a consolation prize,” he told a radio interviewer.
Brewaeys (pictured) is not the first to reject a nomination. In 2007, the artist Francis Alÿs, then aged 47, turned his nomination down because he felt the prize should go to a younger artist.
Brewaeys is considered one of Western Europe’s leading contemporary composers but complains that, far from receiving official support, he is heavily taxed by the Belgian authorities. In 2006 he composed the opera L’uomo dal fiore in bocca for De Munt. “From what I earned for that, 70 to 80% was taken away by the taxman,” he said.
Other nominees for a Culture Prize, each worth €12,500, are:
Visual arts: Edwin Carels; Berlinde De Bruyckere; Johan Grimonprez (see page 10)
Criticism and essays: Eric Min, biographer of Ensor; David Van Reybrouck on populism; Dirk Van Hulle, Beckett specialist.
Film: Documentary Enjoy Poverty by Renzo Martens; the new Cinematek film museum; feature (N)iemand by Patrice Toye
Stage arts: Benjamin Verdonck; new media theatre CREW; music theatre ensemble LOD
Prizes will also be awarded in architecture, heritage, youth theatre, food culture, theatrical literature and volunteer work. The results will be announced on 1 February.