Festival Edition 2022
INTERWOVEN WITH THE PAST
Many of the concerts in this year’s festival were inspired by the way the past and present intertwine. Sometimes it’s just a matter of how new music emerges from its immediate surroundings.
In Impressions, for example, you’ll experience the gradual germination of impressionism, starting in the late romantic. Connecting new music with a distant past enhances our experience of it. You’ll hear echoes of the Middle Ages and Flemish Renaissance polyphony in Arvo Pärt’s Stabat Mater (At the foot of the cross), Byzantine hymns binding the elements of a nocturnal walk through the 20th century (Hymns of the Night) and the contrapuntal traces of Johann Sebastian Bach in the ingenious programme by Zefiro Torna that opens this edition (BACHC®AB). One very special encounter will be between Joseph Haydn’s and Sofia Gubaidulina’s interpretation of Jesus’s ‘Seven Last Words’: the same event depicted from two totally different musical perspectives (Crucifixion).
In between all these interwoven pasts, we’re making room for a week full of Hungarian chamber music on 3, 6 and 9 October. György Ligeti will be our guide through a second evening programme (Like the night, György Kurtág will take us along a haunting route that passes some abandoned fragments of Kafka (Lost words) and as icing on the cake, we’ll devote an entire day to Béla Bartók, unravelling his life through his six string quartets.
In Belgium and beyond, more than 70 musicians are getting ready to give their best during our upcoming festival: dusting off and reinterpreting old repertoire, trying out new pieces and programme orders, refining concepts, editing the ‘VSF’s (Very Short Films), etc. It all serves the same goal: sharing the great music of the 20th and 21st centuries with an audience that is growing both in numbers and enthusiasm.
A (nomadic) edition 'in transit'
For the first time in many years, the Transit concerts will not be in the STUK halls, as the unavoidable consequence of the renovation work that will eventually deliver us a new and improved update of the familiar site on Naamsestraat. For that reason, this year’s Transit becomes a somewhat nomadic edition, stopping at various spots in Leuven: on a hill above the city in LUCA Campus Lemmens, in the industrial canal quarter in the film studios of ‘de Manhattan’, where STUK is also finding temporary shelter this autumn , and in the BAC ART LAB KU Leuven, where the installation by Claudia Molitor will be housed. The subject of this installation, Listen to my world, is listening to personal testimonies of people who are looking at their own cities from a particular ‘outsider’ position. And what better experience is there to make us more aware of this than heading into town as a festival audience, and experiencing it from different perspectives and different locations.
Still, there’s room for the old familiar ingredients: cutting-edge concerts, premieres, extraordinary concert experiences and the excitement that simply is a part of new music. As always, the music on the programme features a mix of leading (Marco Stroppa, Michel Gordon) and as-yet-undiscovered names.
New this year is the mini-focus on one composer: Daan Janssens. Three of his works are on the programme, including the world premiere of his second string quartet, commissioned by Transit for the up-and-coming talent of Quartetto Maurice. There’s also new music for harpsichord, perspectives on the colonial history of Rwanda, and a contemporary ‘glitchy’ answer by Serge Verstockt to a signature work by Kaija Saariaho. And so, along with Verstockt, we are looking back at what over 30 years ago turned out to be so inspiring to new music in Flanders that such a lively music scene has emerged out of it – of which Transit is still an enthusiastic and energetic exponent.
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