More than ever Festival 20/21

2018: the 21st century reaches the age of majority! As the previous century recedes further into the past, the distance between the music of the 1900s (Novecento) and ‘new’ music (Transit) is becoming ever greater. Festival 20/21 cannotbe aiming to create distances, of course – on the contrary, our festival aims to bridge the gap between tomorrow, today, and yesterday; it aims to let the improbably many facets of recent musical history be heard, and to keep a finger on the pulse of what’s going on now.

Our festival’s name also makes it clear that we focus on the music of the 20th and 21st centuries, as one gigantic stream of musical innovations fanning out in all directions. No borders can stop us, and certainly not some arbitrary boundary like a particular year. So as of now, we’re dropping the name Novecento. After all, a lot of 21st-century music is keen to take its place in our collective memory as part of the rich repertoire of the 20th century. It is our task to help make that possible.

Thus, from 2018 on our name is simply Festival 20/21:

  • a festival whose every concert strives to penetrate one of the cores of recent music history like a spear.
  • A festival that cherishes the repertoire of the last 118 years, while looking fearlessly forward to what the musical future has in store at the same time.
  • Transit, the festival of new-music premieres, will continue to play its very special role, since what good is a spear without a spearhead?


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 lid van / is a member of: Festival van Vlaanderen & European Festivals Association (EFA)

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