What's on: Classic(al) rock at Festival of Flanders


While the classical and new music Festival of Flanders can be found somewhere across the region any time, this month there are a whopping three from which to choose

Festival of Flanders: The trilogy

The Festival of Flanders, a celebration of classical and new music, runs pretty much the whole year long, with cities and regions staging their own versions. This month, there are no fewer than three running at once: Ghent Festival of Flanders, Leuven’s Festival 20/21 and Musica Divina in Mechelen and the Kempen region.

They all get creative with the genre, such as the Ghent festival’s Parklife, a family-friendly musical tour through a forest, and Leuven’s Preludes for Piano, wherein pianist Abdel Rahman El Bacha – a previous winner of the Queen Elisabeth Competition – takes the audience through 24 preludes each of Bach, Chopin and Rachmaninoff, for a total of 72 pieces of music spanning 200 years. A sub-festival of 20/21 is Transit, new music premieres.

In the Kempen, you’ll find tours and readings as part of the programme, which also includes shows stoppers like Susanna (pictured above), the Norwegian vocalist who reworks rock’n’roll for classical instruments, and Poesia Divina, in which nine poets have written new psalms, which are then set to music. Ghent Festival, until 6 October, across Ghent; Festival 20/21, 24 September to 25 October, across Leuven; Musica Divina, until 6 October, across Mechelen and the Kempen region

Cindy Wright: Dead Poetry

Art is at its most exciting when you realise that what you’re seeing isn’t what you thought. So it is with Flemish artist Cindy Wright, whose paintings are so realistic they are often mistaken for photographs. Gaasbeek Castle is the perfect place for her new show (par for the course for the venue), a series of unsettling still-lifes of skulls covered in butterflies, butterflies who didn’t get off so easily and other representations of death and decay. While bringing to mind Vanitas of the 16th and 17th centuries, the work shows a more contemporary concern – as an overflowing rubbish bin reveals. Until 4 November, Gaasbeek Castle, Kasteelstraat 40, Gaasbeek (Lennik)

Beyond Klimt: New Horizons in Central Europe

Not that Bozar has anything against the brilliant symbolist painter Gustav Klimt, but Beyond Klimt: New Horizons in Central Europe, 1914-1938 looks at the dozens of art movements that sprung up in Eastern Europe between the world wars. It was a time when artists thought of their genres, rather than their nationalities, as defining who they were. Some 80 artists are included in the Brussels art centre’s flagship autumn show, including Oskar Kokoschka, Koloman Moser, Frantisek Kupka and … Gustav Klimt. Don’t miss the accompanying Klimt’s Magic Garden, a virtual reality experience that topples visitors into the artist’s world. Both are part of Bozar’s celebration of Austria as the current president of the council of the EU.   Until 20 January, Bozar, Ravensteinstraat 23, Brussels

Photos: Susanna ©Anne Valeur; Cindy Wright, “Rabbit Hole”, 2017, oil on canvas; “Dead Soldier in Barbed Wire” by Robert Angerhofer, c1920, Nordico Stadtmuseum Linz