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Festival 20·21

12 Sep > 26 Oct 2024
open mind, open ears
18 > 20 Oct 2024

Festival 20·21 is Leuven’s yearly hotspot for classical music of the 20th and 21st centuries. Here, open ears may enjoy repertoire to be (re)discovered and musical insider tips, or, during the three days of Transit, may embrace the many surprises of exhilarating contemporary premieres.

New edition 2024

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From 12 September to 26 October, Festival 20-21 organises around 30 concerts and activities at various locations in Leuven. The music of the 20th century will once again excite, confuse and amaze. Transit is looking ahead to all the exciting things happening in new music.

Festival kicks off with Spectra & Thomas Blondelle and Eine schöne Müllerin

Daan Janssens was inspired by Schubert's magisterial song cycle Die schöne Müllerin.

Leaving Schubert's incorrigible melodies intact, Janssens built a stunningly rich and intriguing sound world around them, with surprising interludes on texts by Portuguese poet Pessoa.

Lise Bruyneel designed a video especially for this occasion in which music, image and poetry perfectly meld with each other. 

SPECTRA who created Eine schöne Müllerin in 2018 is on the festival stage with top Belgian tenor Thomas Blondelle.

Three great Czech composer portraits at the Theme Day!

Leoš Janáček, Boduslav Martinů and - lesser known, but absolutely brilliant - Erwin Schulhoff, rule the Theme Day Czech that! on Sunday 13 October.

First up are the strings in three - passionate/melodic/modern - sextets and a quartet. Then the wind instruments take over and the atmosphere turns completely: humour, mockery and cheerful melancholy tumble over each other.

The unequalled Pavel Haas Quartet can share all this Czech passion like no other. I SOLISITI ( + percussion + strings) even briefly disappears into the Leuven orchestra pit! So you can completely surrender to Gerda Dendooven's moving drawings, live at work!


Artistieke drijfveren

Beyond the Imperative of Pleasure

More and more in the last few years, classical music has been increasingly promoted something purely to enjoy. Of course, there’s nothing wrong with enjoying something in and of itself, but perhaps we might be just a tiny bit more ambitious. After all, music has more to offer, and people do too. Festival 20·21’s aim is to encourage that tiny bit of ambition – of course, keeping open ears and an open mind.

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Artistieke drijfveren

Partytime (as usual)

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1874 was a vintage year for Western music. Vienna saw the birth of Arnold Schoenberg – on 13 September, exactly 150 years ago – whose leap into atonality permanently shifted the boundaries of our musical consciousness.

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