The 8th Klara Classical Music Awards were held on Wednesday the 14th of March. The ceremony honours the outstanding achievements of Belgian and international musicians in the past year.

This year, Belgian radio broadcaster Klara invited the directors of cultural institutions such as BOZAR, Klarafestival, Flagey, DeSingel and the Concertgebouw Brugge to be part of the jury panel. The winners were announced on Wednesday and feature some familar faces for BOZAR audiences.

Vox Luminis was crowned “Best Ensemble of the Year”. The Belgian ensemble, which is conducted by Lionel Meunier, has been a regular guest at BOZAR since 2013. Last September, Vox Luminis kicked off the start of its residency at BOZAR with a concert in the Henry Le Bœuf Hall, performing Bach’s Magnificat.

In October, we enjoyed the warm voice and presence of jazz vocalist Cecile McLorin Salvant. She received the prize for “Best International Jazz Album” for Dreams and Daggers.

Anouar Brahem’s Blue maqams album, which is at the crossroads of jazz and Arab music, won the award for “Best International Album”. Brahem worked on this album with three brilliant improvisers, namely Dave Holland, Jack DeJohnette and Django Bates. This fabulous quartet will perform its award-winning album at BOZAR on the 18th of April.

That same evening, Jos van Immerseel will take to the Les Brigittines stage with baritone Thomas E. Bauer. The Belgian pianist, harpsichordist and pianofortist won the prestigious “Klara Career Award” for the fifty years he has dedicated to promoting the use of historic keyboard instruments for early music performances.

Jazz pianist and composer Bram De Looze, named “Best Newcomer”, first performed at BOZAR during one of our Sunday morning concerts in 2016. In October, he joined forces with Joey Baron and Robin Verheyen as part of our tribute to Thelonious Monk.

Other winners included Stéphane Denève, the conductor of the Brussels Philharmonic, who was named “Music Personality of the Year”, René Jacobs for his recording of Mozart’s Requiem with the Freiburger Barockorchester, which won “Best Belgian Album” and the Limburg-born soprano Ilse Eerens who was named “Soloist of the Year” and whose interpretation of Dvořák’s Stabat Mater in 2015, with conductor Philippe Herreweghe, was particularly memorable.

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