The Belgian Brass ensemble arose from the Belgian Brass soloist’s quintet. Artistic
leader Manu Mellaerts launched the idea to unify a larger polyvalent group, to
broaden the artistic horizon, to gain in dynamics and by doing so have a larger artistic
harmony at their disposal. Due to this ‘new concept’ a more dynamic range and
bigger artistic pallet of colours was created. Because of the extra dynamic and artistic
enlargement Belgian Brass became an ensemble with a top level with flexibility and
virtuosity as important assets. The addition of two percussion players at the classical
ensemble gives Belgian Brass the possibility to handle the most diverse compositions.
The arrangements of the pieces of different styles of music are mostly done by
musicians of Belgian Brass. They always show respect to the original part and give
big importance to the symphonic sound.
Every program of Belgian Brass offers a subtle and balanced mix of the most diverse
genres of music, that the eminent musicians, because of their long experience, master
without a problem: from baroque to Renaissance, to contemporary and even Big band.
Belgian Brass can charm every public. In its brief existence Belgian Brass played
concerts in Belgium, Luxembourg, France and Italy and showed itself by bringing out
two brilliant CD’s.
The first CD “Pushing the limits” is a much discussed subject. The program that
covers 4 centuries of musical history and crosses Europe from east to west, offers to
everybody something. And –a title says it all- pushes the virtuosity of the musicians to
the limit. On “Russian Heritage”, the second CD, Belgian Brass takes a walk with his
listeners through the Russian musical landscape. Some of the most beautiful pieces of
well known and less known Russian composers will move you.
But Belgian Brass also carries the more actual art in their heart. In September 2007
Manu and his musicians planned a recording in cooperation with Klara of new
compositions, that were written for the ensemble by 4 eminent Flemish composers:
Jan Van Landeghem, Jan Van der Roost, Dirk Brossé and Wim Henderickx.
In a nutshell, Belgian Brass is a dynamic ensemble with diversity and virtuosity as
biggest asset. The combination of eminent musicians and a clear artistic profile makes
of Belgian Brass an impressive and unique Belgian representative for the inland and
foreign concert halls.
ARTISTIC DIRECTOR MANU MELLAERTS
Manu Mellaerts started his musical studies at the academy
of Tienen. He continued at the Lemmensinstituut in
Leuven and afterwards at the Brussels Royal
Conservatory where he earned Higher Degrees in trumpet
and chamber music and a pedagogical diploma as well. He
completed his training with Pierre Thibaud in Paris, Roger
Delmotte in Versailles and Edward Tarr in Basel. He
obtained his first experience in the orchestra in the
Flemish Radio Orchestra. Since 1986 he has been solo
trumpet with the orchestra of the Royal Theatre “La
Monnaie”. In 1994 he followed into the footsteps of his
former teacher Jerome Brouwers and teaches trumpet at
the Brussels Royal Conservatory.
Simon Van Hoecke
Frankie De Kuyffer
Geert De Vos
Gaetan La Mela
1. 'Pushing The Limits', edited by Beriato Music
2. 'Russian Heritage', edited by Beriato Music
3.’From IO to Dandi’, edited by Beriato Music
Here you’ll find a program example.
Program 'Pushing the Limits'
1. La Mourisque Susato T./Mellaerts M.
2. Ouverture Bach J.S./Verhaert S.
3. La Delaïssado Canteloube J./Verhaert S.
4. Polovtian Dances Borodin A./Moreau G.
5. Beim Schlafengehen Strauss R./De Vos G.
aus 'Die 4 Letzte Lieder'
6. Roumanian Folkdances Bartok B./Mellaerts M.
7. Hurry up! Plog A.
8. The Sound of Miller Miller G./Van Haegenbergh D.
9. Dear Frog Trad./Moreau G.
10. Recuerdos de la Alhambra Tarrega F./De Vos G.
11. Piazzo Latina Piazzolla A./ Van Haegenbergh D.
12. Granada Lana A./ Van Haegenbergh D.
It’ s clear that a dynamic ensemble like Belgian Brass is always looking for interested
partners to cooperate in a structural or thematical way. There are a lot of options for
your company to enjoy the national and international growth of Belgian Brass.
Belgian Brass can be musically present at your academic meeting or one of your
festivities. But also other forms of publicity or merchandising can be possible,
wearing your Company name at our concerts or on tour, or linking your name to our
ensemble. If you have other ideas don’t hesitate to contact us, we love to make time
for a conversation.
Manu Mellaerts started his musical training at the academy of Tienen. Then he
studied at the Lemmensinstituut in Leuven and afterwards at the Brussels Royal
Conservatory where he earned Higher Degrees in trumpet and chamber music and a
pedagogical diploma as well. He completed his training under Pierre Thibaud in Paris,
Roger Delmotte in Versailles and Edward Tarr in Basel.
He was a laureate of the VRT Tenuto competition in 1985 and of the International
Trumpet Competition in Toulon in 1987.
As a trumpet he was a member of the Flemmish Radio Orchestra from 1984 to 1986
while he taught at the Lemmensinstituut in Leuven until 1987.
Since 1986 he has been solo trumpet with the orchestra of the Théâtre Royale de la
Monnaie and teacher at the Brussels Royal Conservatory.
As a soloist Manu Mellaerts performed for instance with the orchestra of the Théâtre
Royale de la Monnaie, the Flemmish Radio Orchestra, the Beethoven Academy, I
Fiamminghi, the Collegium Instrumentale Brugense and l’Orchestre de Wallonie.
He is founding father and artistic leader of the brass ensemble Belgian Brass.
As a guest lecturer he is much sought-after for several training and summer courses.
Manu Mellaerts collaborated on several CD recordings, among other things a special
recording of different baroque and classical concertos with the Collegium
At the age of six Simon Van Hoecke receives his first lessons cornet and it becomes
quickly clear that he s musically gifted. Different Master class with international
trumpet soloists resulted in prizes: Axion Classics, Jong Tenuto, Competition of the
Flemish Brassbandfederation and the “Trompetconcours Lions International”.
After his Maths-science Studies Simon Van Hoecke obtains his master degree of
trumpet, chamber music and conducting at he Royal Conservatory of Antwerp. At the
same time he follows the theoretical courses analyse and contra punt, he also has his
His control of the trumpet as well as the cornet, flugel, pirccolotrumpet marks his
musical flexibility. His creativity and passion for brass playing express himself in
different arrangements and compositions for brass ensemble, two musicals and a
children play for Brass ensemble and narrator.
At the time he's specialising himself with Prof. Klaus Schuhwerk at the Hochschule
für Musik und Darstellende Kunst in Frankfurt am Main and he's invited as a guest
soloist at the World Chamber Orchestra, the Museumorchester of the Frankfurtse
Opera, Gielen Stadttheaterorchester and the Weilburger Schlosskonzerten.
Steven Devolder started his musical studies at the age of eight at the conservatory of
Harelbeke. He continued his studies at the comprehensive school of arts in Ghent
where he already obtained his first prize of solfège and his qualification in percussion.
Then he went to the conservatories of Lille, Ghent and Maastricht where he earned his
master degree magna cum laude in trumpet in the class of Benny Wiame. In
Maastricht he also obtained the specialisation diploma.He took several additional
courses, with Pierre Thibaud, Donald Green (Los Angeles Philharmonic) and Urban
Agnas (Stockholm Chamber Brass).
His multiplicity is his biggest asset, he controls the trumpet, piccolo trumpet, Flugel,
cornet and soprano cornet. He won the first prize at the Slaskim Konkursie (Poland)
and also became first laureate at the Jean Darlier trumpet competition.
From 1998 till 2005 he was solo trumpet at the Beethoven Academie.
Since 2005 Steven is member of the royal orchestra of la Monnaie and since 2003 he
s teacher at the conservatory in Ghent. He also spends a lot of time in the
Conservatory of Esch-sur Alzette giving master classes. In 2006 he recorded a Solo
CD with Brassband Metropole on Soprano Cornet.
Steven is often asked as a soloist in the world of the Ha Fa Bra.
In his own time he's busy with his Latin Bigband Mucho Gusto.jhkjkhjkhkhjk
Frankie de Kuyffer was born in 1971. He started his first lessons at the age of 4. He
followed lessons in the local musicacademy by Florent Van Den Hauwe, one of the
leading trumpetplayers in Belgium at that time.
When he became 18 he went to the conservatory. First to the “Lemmensinstitute” in
Leuven where he got his master degree and after that he followed lessons at the royal
conservatories of Brussels and Ghent by Benny Wiame.
For 10 years, Frankie was first trumpet player in the chamberorchestra
At this moment he is fulltime teacher in trumpet and chambermusic in several
academies such as the Conservatory of Leuven.
Rik Vercruysse studied in the class of André Van Driessche at the Brussels Royal
Conservatory where he earned a First Prize and a Higher Degree magna cum laude in
horn. He also earned a First Prize and Higher Degree in chamber music under Mr.
Arie Van Lisebeth at that same conservatory.
In 1987 he became a laureate of the Tenuto competition and since 1983 he has been
respectively a solo hornist with the following orchestras: the Muziekkapel van de
Gidsen, the Royal Flemmish Philharmonic, the BRTN Filharmonisch Orkest, the New
Belgian Chamber Orchestra, I Fiamminghi and finally the Beethoven Academy.
Additionally he is a member of the Quintessens woodwinds quintet and the I Solisti
del Vento wind ensemble.
He taught chamber music at the Conservatory of Ghent from 1987 to 1996 and since
1997 he has been a teacher in horn at the Conservatory of Antwerp.
At the age of 9 Marc Peremans began his musical studies at the Beringen Music
Academy with Alex Van Aeken as his teacher.
In 1984 he started his musical studies at the Brussels Conservatory of Music.
In 1986 Marc joined the Royal Band of the Belgian Guides where he was appointed
He graduates with the Higher Diploma in 1989 from The Brussels Conservatory of
Music under Professor André Van Driessche.
As of 1990 he starts his studies `Performing Musician` in the Netherlands at the
Maastricht Rijkshogeschool under Eric Penzel, professor at the Musikhochschule in
Furthermore he performs as a freelance musician in many Belgian orchestras, more
specifically the Brussels Royal Munt Opera House, the Antwerp/Ghent Flemish
Opera House, the Brussels Philharmonic, the Antwerp Philharmonic Orchestra, the
National Orchestra of Belgium and in reputable chamber orchestras such as I Solisti
del Vento, Prima la Musica, Collegium Instrumentale and l'orchestre du Chambre de
Since 2010 he is also performing together with Belgian Brass.
He was part of many CD recordings in Belgium and abroad.
Jan Smets started his musical studies on Euphonium with Argo Penné at the
academy of Tongeren., where he at young age already earned prizes at different
competitions. In 1990 he was nominated ‘brass player of the year’. Afterwards he
earned the Master’s degree in Music under Michel Tilkin at the Lemmensinstituut
with high distinction.
After a short period as solo trombone at the Flemish Radio Orchestra he became solo
trombone at the orchestra of the Théâtre Royale de la Monnaie .
As a chamber musician he’s connected to the brass quintet of la Monnaie, the
Prometheus Ensemble, I solisti del vento, the Ottone quintet and Belgian Brass. Since
2001 he teaches at the Conservatory of Antwerp.
Jan also worked as a Freelancer at the Collegium Instrumentale di Brugense, The
Beethoven Academy, I fiamminghi and the Rotterdam’s philharmonic under the
direction of Bernard Haitink en Valiery Gergiev.
Tom Verschoore began with music at the age of 9 at the Academy of Music of
Koekelare, where he studied solfege, AMV and instrument (piano, trumpet,
flugelhorn, percussion and saxophone) and chambermusic.
Between 1992 and 1996 Tom went to the Kunsthumaniora of the Lemmensinstituut,
Leuven and the Kunsthumaniora, Gent, where he switched from trumpet to
Euphonium. In 1996 Tom began his studies bass tuba at the Antwerp Conservatory
where he switched over to the trombone early 1997 with Ben Haemhouts (principal
trombonist Bamberger Symfoniker). In 1999 Tom went to study the trombone at the
Amsterdam Conservatory with Ivan Meylemans. He graduated succesfully in 2001.
Tom followed Masterclasses with Joe Burnam (Italy), Joseph Alessi (USA), Jörgen
van Rijen (Nederland), Alain Trudel (Canada), Ian Bousfield (Engeland),…
As a freelancer Tom works with different kinds of orchestra's: Vlaams Radio Orkest,
Nationaal Orkest van België, Koninklijk Concertgebouworkest Amsterdam,
Rotterdam Philharmonisch Orkest, Il Novecento, Vlopera, Koninklijke Filharmonie
van Vlaanderen, l’Orchestre Philharmonique de Liège, Radio Philharmonisch
Orkest Champ d’ action, Hermesensemble, El tattoo del tigre, Gabriel Rios,
Spearhead, Michael Franti and multiple bigbands.
Tom was appointed trombonist at the Opéra Royal de Wallonie between 2004 and
Since 2006 he is principal trombonist with the Royal Band of the Belgian Guides,
wher he performs frequently as a soloist.
Since 2005 Tom is teacher low brass at the Academy of Meise.
Geert De Vos took his first musical lessons at the conservatory of Aartselaar at the
age of eight. Two years later he started studying trombone under Mark Joris. After
four years Geert switched to bass trombone. He decided to study under Michel Tilkin
at the comprehensive school of Arts of the Lemmensinstituut in Leuven in 1993.
There he also continued his higher studies and graduated in 2001 as a Master in Music
with First Prizes in bass trombone, solfège and chamber music. Afterwards he
specialised for another year and earned the Higher Degree summa cum laude in bass
Geert was a member of the famous Gustav Mahler Jugend Orchester and since 1997
he has been a bass trombonist with the Orchestra of the Théâtre Royale de la
He also plays with the Wim Mertens Ensemble and frequently collaborates with
several orchestras such as the Prometheus Ensemble, I Solisti del Vento, …
Stephan Vanaenrode studied with Jozef Matthesen at the Lemmensinstituut in
Leuven. He earned first prizes euphonium, bass tuba and chamber music as well as a
higher degree for bass tuba.
He played tuba with the koninklijke muziekkapel der gidsen from 1987 till 2000.
Since 2000 he’s the solo bass tuba with the royal orchestra of la monnaie.
In February 2007 he was the”alter ego” of “l’Uomo dal fiore in bocca” (the man with
the flower in his mouth), an opera of Luc Brewaeys. This Luc Brewaeys dedicated
this piece “brasstuba” based on pieces of the opera and soon to be heard on the new
cd of Belgian brass, especially to him.
Also in 2007 he will be on tour with Johan Verminnen, armed with euphonium, bass
tuba and cimbasso, in the production “ Van Brussel naar de Wereld”.
Since 2007 Stephan is tuba teacher at the conservatory of Gent.
Gaetan La Mela started his musical career at the Conservatory in Genk. Afterwards
he continued his studies at the Lemmensinstituut in Leuven where he earned the
Master’s degree in Music under Mr. Ouderits. He also earned a pedagogical diploma
and a specialisation in chamber music at the same institute. He took master classes
under Rainer Seegers and Franz Schindlebeck (Berliner Philharmoniker).
Gaetan La Mela was a laureate at different percussion competitions, for instance the
Link-Stichting (Tilburg) and the first international competition for wind-percussion-
brass-band soloists in Amsterdam. He also received the Alcatel Encouragement
Gaetan La Mela is one of the permanent musicians of the Hermes Ensemble and as a
freelance percussionist he plays with different orchestras such as the Flanders Opera
He is also frequently invited as a member of the jury for several competitions.
As soloist Gaetan performs often in Belgium and foreign countries.
In 2005 he realised a recording (CD, DVD) of “concertino for xylophone and
orchestra” from the Japanese composer Toshiro Mayuzymi with Brassband Buizingen
and this at he world championship in Kerkrade. In 2006 he performed as a soloist
with the symphonic orchestra of the Flemish opera, under the direction of Luca Pfaff,
for the Belgian creation “Anarca”, a composition of the Italian composer Georgio
Battistelli for percussion, flute and symphonic orchestra. For the Hermes Ensemble he
performed as a soloist with music of Kaija Saariaho and Salvatore Sciarrino.
Luk Artois was born the 6th of may 1970 in Louvain. During his secondary studies
Latin at the Sint-Jozefscollege in Sint-Pieters-Woluwe, he took his first lessons in
percussion with Mr. Roger Roskams and Mr. Alois Verbeeck at the Municipal
Conservatory in where he earned the government medal in 1990. Afterwards he
continued his musical studies at the higher departments of the Lemmensinstituut in
Louvain. There he earned a Master’s degree in Music option percussion (class of Mr.
Alois Verbeeck) and chamber music (class of Leo Ouderits) besides a First Prize in
solfège and percussion.
In 1997 he completed his specialisation percussion in the class of Mr. Leo Ouderits.
After his training he took various master classes such as the Stockhausen Kurse in
1998, 1999 and 2000 (Prof. Andreas Boettger) and timpani master classes with Prof.
David Punto (Universität der Kunste Berlin), Mr. Marinus Komst (Royal
Concertgebouw Orchestra) and Mr. Norbert Schmitt (SWR-Sinfonieorchester). He
took private timpani lessons with Prof. Rainer Seegers (Berliner Philharmonisches
In 1994 he became a finalist of Tenuto.
Until he became solo timpanist with the Beethoven Academy in 2000, he worked as a
freelance percussionist in most of the Belgian orchestras.
He became solo timpanist at the Royal Theatre La Monnaie in Brussels in 2003.
Besides he also plays in ensembles for contemporary and ancient music, the Hermes
Ensemble, Il Fondamento, Ensemble Currende and Anima Eterna.
He also teaches percussion at the municipal music school of Zaventem.
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