A riot of colours

2021 will be a year of celebration for Festival 20·21.

With a name derived from our very own Festival, what else could it be? Even more abundantly than in previous years, we will be bringing the sounds of the 20th and 21st centuries to Leuven’s concert spaces. Diverse and daring, full of conviction that our ears can handle more than the usual musical diet. 

The performers we work with are often from very close by. That’s not surprising, since Belgium is an incredibly fertile breeding ground for young musicians, who are enthusiastic about new music and are bubbling over with talent and vision.
This year’s concerts go in all directions, like fireworks: from New York to Paris and Vienna to Moscow. We’ll stay in Russia a bit longer. On the all-day mini-festival we’ll dive deep into the work of Dmitri Shostakovich, especially his later works: from the sometimes stark and terribly haunting songs and chamber music to his moving Symphony no. 14. He’ll have a presence in other concerts too. His  autobiographical Quartet no. 8 appears in a programme whose central composer is another Russian, Alfred Schnittke. And the performance of Honegger’s Symphonie Liturgique is only possible thanks to the wonderful transcription for two pianos that Shostakovich made of it . He’ll make a brief appearance in the ‘bells’ recital that Anthony Romaniuk put together for Festival 20·21. Quite a lot of Shostakovich then, not the all-determining theme, but rather an ever-present ‘red (!) thread’ connecting the jumble of other colours.
We look forward to welcoming you to Festival 20·21, and to celebrating the old classics and putting some new ones on the map together. The future of music is something we’ll have to do together, and with all our hearts!

Pieter Bergé


The Flanders Festival in Flemish Brabant is a subsidiary of vzw Samenwerkende vereniging Festival van Vlaanderen. It was founded in 1995 under the leadership of the new province of Flemish Brabant, the city of Leuven, the KU Leuven and several corporations.

Profile 1995 - 2005

In the first few years in Leuven, the programme consisted of polyphony, 20th-century and classical/romantic music. This choice was motivated by the intention to give superb music ‘on the margins’ a more prominent place. In 2000 a festival for contemporary music called TRANSIT was started. In Flemish Brabant the classical concerts had a mixed programme inspired by the Leuven programmes.

Profile change 2006

In 2006 some drastic artistic choices were made. The concerts in Leuven would focus on music of the 20th (NOVECENTO) and 21st century (TRANSIT).

New name 2015

In 2015, the Flanders Festival in Flemish Brabant took on a new name: ‘Festival 20·21’. The focus will remain on the inexhaustible wealth of music of the 20th (Novecento) and 21st centuries (Transit).

More than ever Festival 20·21

From 2018, the festival’s name is simply Festival 20·21 – a festival that puts the repertoire of the not-so-distant past at centre stage, while looking forward fearlessly to what the musical future has in store. Transit will continue to play its very special role as a premiere festival for new music.

Festival 20·21 is a member of: 

  • Festival van Vlaanderen festival.be
  • European Festivals Association (EFA) efa-aef.eu
  • Sounds Now. A network of 9 European music festivals and cultural/music centers that promote contemporary music, experimental music and sound art  sounds-now.eu

Festival 20·21  with the support of: 

  • The Creative Europe programme of the European Union ec.europa.eu

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