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Frank Agsteribbe

Frank Agsteribbe

Frank Agsteribbe  is a Belgian conductor, keyboard player, and composer, always searching for direct expression and colourful music making. His repertoire reaches from the 16th century till the music of our time, including opera, vocal and instrumental baroque music, and various contemporary art forms. Always aiming for informed performance practise, he nevertheless uses the information to achieve a living, contemporary artistic experience. With many years of experience in different aspects of musical life, he constructs bridges between history and present, between knowledge and expression, between composing and performing.

“The question whether music is old or new, is not as relevant as we sometimes pretend. The only important question is whether the music is of current interest, whether it can move us, tell us something, make us think, …”

Having studied the harpsichord and organ with distinguished teachers as Jos Van Immerseel, Gustav Leonhardt, Davitt Moroney and Luigi Ferdinando Tagliavini, Frank Agsteribbe was invited to join famous baroque ensembles like La Petite Bande, Collegium Vocale, Huelgas Ensemble, Anima Eterna, and Concerto Köln, with whom he performed worldwide.

In 2005, Frank Agsteribbe, together with bass player Tom Devaere, founded the new, young and dynamic Flemish B’Rock baroque orchestra. B’Rock is now well established in Europe and Frank has conducted them during the Opera Festival in Rotterdam, the Festivals of Potsdam Sanssouci, the Klara Festival van Vlaanderen Brussels, the Gergiev Festival in Rotterdam and the MA Festival Brugge, where he also directed a special event of John Cage’s HPSCHD. He has lead them in a production of Cage's Alas Ecliptcalis for deSingel, Antwerp and conducted a production of Purcell’s Indian Queen for the Brussels Kunstenfestivaldesarts.

In 2010, Frank was the featured young artist at the 2010 Klara Festival van Vlaanderen in Brussels. He conducted the opening concert of the festival held at BOZAR, in a special Mozart programme with Concerto Köln, soprano Simone Kermes and pianist Alexei Lubimov. He also directed a theatre production of Bach Danced with the dancer Claire Croize and the music of J S Bach.

Frank Agsteribbe has made many recordings. With B’Rock he has cds of Handel and Telemann and a cd of the 18th Dutch composer David Petersen – all on the etcetera label. He has recently been in the studio, again with B’Rock for etcetera, to record Vivaldi 4 Seasons and John Cage’s Quartet in 4 Parts in a special arrangement by Frank for baroque strings. His most recent solo CD is devoted to keyboard music by the young Haydn, recorded on the Richard Dott organ in Illzach, Alsace, France.

As an opera conductor, his repertoire starts with the earliest baroque operas as La Dafne by Marco da Gagliano (1608), over L’Orontea by Marc’Antonio Cesti, Dido and Aeneas by Purcell, includes Mozart’s Zauberflöte, Bertoni’s Orfeo (1776) and Rossini’s Italiana in Algeri, romantic opera as Puccini’s La Bohème, and goes well into the 20th century with The Rake’s Progress by Stravinsky, Jenufa by Janacek, Le Vin Herbé by Frank Martin, and Giorgio Battistelli’s Prova d’Orchestra. He has worked at the Vlaamse Opera (Antwerp-Gent), the Ruhrtriennale (Germany), Castleward Opera in Belfast, Teatro Sao Carlos Lisbon, and Le Grand Théâtre Luxembourg. In spring and summer 2012, he was engaged by La Monnaie in Brussels as an assistant of René Jacobs (Handel, Orlando), and in the Aix-en-Provence Festival in La Finta Giardiniera (Mozart).

An experience orchestral conductor, Frank’s symphonic orchestral repertoire ranges from Beethoven to Mahler and Brahms to Schoenberg and Britten. Choral repertoire also features well in his repertoire and he conducted the English première of Robert Levin’s new edition of the Mozart c-minor Mass K 427, during the Dartington International Summer School.

Frank Agsteribbe is founder and principal conductor of the new Luxemburg based vocal ensemble cantoLX. Since its inaugural concerts in 2010, cantoLX is now firmly established in the music scene around Luxembourg, and in 2011 made its debut appearances at the MA Festival Brugge, the Utrecht Early Music Festival and at the Philharmonie Luxembourg. cantoLX turns toward various repertoires, with a special liking for early music, and currently features composers such as Buxtehude, Couperin, Faure, Frescobaldi, Scarlatti, Schütz, Tuma, Victoria and Zelenka and it is already planning its first recording.

Frank Agsteribbe has written more than 80 compositions, most of them commissioned by e.g. the Flemish classical radio, the Deutsche Oper Berlin, music theatre company Transparant, November Music. More than 40 compositions have been recorded by the radio or are available on CD. His composition Et nova sunt semper, written for the European Radio Union, has been broadcasted throughout Europe, Canada and the United States. Recently for De Bijloke in Ghent, Frank Agsteribbe wrote a new composition for 6-octave fortepiano, to be premiered by Ronald Brautigam. Frank also wrote the obligatory work for the MA Festival Brugge International Harpsichord Competition 2010.

Franks is also a busy chamber musician and performs often with violin partner Guido de Neve. They perform the 6 Sonatas for violin and harpsichord by J.S. Bach, Flemish 18th century music, and contemporary works.

Frank Agsteribbe is based in Ghent and is professor at the Antwerp Royal Conservatory.



Discography (selection)

Flanders Arts Institute

Expertise centre for performing arts, music and visual arts.