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Korneel Bernolet

Korneel Bernolet

A conductor and harpsichordist, Korneel Bernolet (°1989) is one of the most versatile talents on the international music scenes today, known and respected for his fresh, no-nonsense and immediate view and vision on music performance and style.

As a conductor, debuting at age 13 leading his own compositions, he works in a repertoire span from Monteverdi till Gershwin, with a preference for opera and oratorio. Having grown up in a choral environment, he conducted the major works including the Requiems by Mozart, Fauré, Brahms, Duruflé and Verdi, Orff's Carmina Burana and Haydn's Schöpfung and Jahreszeiten. Between 2015 and 2018 he acted as assistant-conductor for Jos van Immerseel at Anima Eterna Brugge in symphonical repertoire by Beethoven, Schubert, Mendelssohn, Dvorak, Martinu, Enescu and Gershwin, ending with a highly praised livestreamed guest-conductorship in Beethoven's 9th Symphony and Choir Fantasy in Bruges and Frankfurt in collaboration with Collegium Vocale Ghent. Since 2014 he works closely together with Christophe Rousset as an assistant-conductor and harpsichordist in his orchestra Les Talens Lyriques. With this orchestra, he made his much applauded debut in 2022 as a guest conductor in Pergolesi's opera La conversione e morte di San Guglielmo at the famous summer Festival d'Aix-en-Provence. He also collaborates with Collegium Vocale Ghent and the Flemish Radio Choir as a regular chorus master and conductor, and with Philippe Herreweghe as pianoforte-continuo and assistant-conductor with either the Orchestre des Champs-Elysées, Antwerp Symphony Orchestra (where he also was assistant to Christophe Prégardien), Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra Amsterdam and Collegium Vocale Ghent. Earlier in his career he assisted at B'Rock, cantoLX and Vokalconsort Berlin. As a guest conductor he made his first appearances with Il Gardellino (Marcel Ponseele & Jan Dewinne) at the Tage Alter Musik in Herne in 2021 in an all-French programme with soprano Deborah Cachet. Earlier, he conducted the Bach Akademie Australia (as festival star of the 2019 Bach edition of the Canberra International Music Festival, conducting seven concerts in one festival, amongst which the first ever period-instrument Johannes-Passion by Bach in Australia's capital), Flanders Symphony Orchestra (in Rossini and Mozart opera scenes), Transparant Music Theater (Rameau's Les indes galantes), International Opera Academy Gent (Telemann Orpheus in 2017, Mozart's La finta giardiniera in 2019), Symphony Orchestra of the Royal Conservatoire Antwerp (yearly productions)... For these and other projects he was invited at Teatro alla Scala Milano, Vienna State Oper, Theater an der Wien, La Monnaie Brussels, Opéra National du Rhin Nancy, Rudolphinum Prague, Flemish Opera, Valenciana Temple Guanajuato Mexico, the Philharmonies of Paris, Cologne, Essen, the Alte Oper Frankfurt, all large concert halls in Belgium and will soon make his debut as assistant-conductor of Opera Lafayette (Washington DC and New York) and at the Théâtre du Châtelet (Paris) and as guest conductor at Brussels Philharmonic (Mozart and Haydn) and the Dutch baroque orchestra Consort of Voices (Handel).

With his own project, the Apotheosis Orchestra on period instruments, he plays and conducts music from Baroque till the high Romantic era, including Purcell, Bach, Handel, Bernier, Rameau, Telemann, Mozart, Benda, Haydn, Mendelssohn, Brahms, Vaughan-Williams... The group produced several award-winning chamber music CDs since 2011 on the label Et'cetera, and in 2019 their orchestral opera début-CD (Pygmalion by Rameau and Benda for the label Ramée/Outhere) was internationally praised as a new reference: "Korneel Bernolet is our new Rameau champion" (Classique News). This project was continued in an exciting production at MAfestival Bruges 2019, staged by Femke Gyselinck. Other partners-in-crime for opera, ballet and music theatre include Guy Joosten (a touring production of Telemann Orpheus), Sigrid T'Hooft (Bernier Trois visages d'Hécate), Luigi de Angelis (Rameau Les indes galantes), Gemma Beltran (Mozart La finta giardiniera), Nathalie Van Parys (Rameau Les indes galantes)... 2024 will, amongst others, bring the CD recording and release of 20th-century repertoire for saxophone and orchestra, a world premiere on period instruments using historical performance practice techniques.

Korneel Bernolet is active world-wide as a recital soloist (throughout Europe, the United Kingdom, South-Korea and Australia, with solo appearances at a.o. Bach Academy Bruges, BOZAR Brussels, Musikfestspiele Potsdam Sanssouci, Wunderkammer Trieste, Cambridge University, Sydney University, Incheon National University, the Canberra International Music Festival...) and in livestream recitals on the internet and on international broadcast; and as an ensemble player: besides the above mentioned also as principal continuo player of Il Gardellino (Marcel Ponseele), Brussels Philharmonic/Flemish Radio Choir (Bart Van Reyn) and Transports Publics (Thomas Baeté). He made his international début at the age of 19 as a continuo player with Sigiswald Kuijken's La Petite Bande where he stayed on for four years, and served many projects in the past with BachPlus (Bart Naessens), B'Rock (Frank Agsteribbe), Mannheimer Hofkapelle, Antwerp Symphony Orchestra, Scherzi Musicali (Nicolas Achten), Utopia, several smaller ensembles and as a harpsichord duo partner of Christophe Rousset and Ewald Demeyere.

He studied historical keyboards with Paul Clement, Ewald Demeyere, Piet Kuijken, Gustav Leonhardt and Christophe Rousset; conducting through studies with Geert Hendrix and Luc Anthonis and masterclasses with Georg Grün, Daan Admiraal and through many assistantships. He obtained with stellar marks the Master degrees in both harpsichord and conducting at the Royal Conservatoire of Antwerp, where he started teaching already during his final study year. Korneel was named 'Young Musician of the Year' in 2014 by the Belgian Music Press Association, and two years later was appointed the new Professor of Harpsichord at the Royal Conservatoire of Antwerp, where he prestigiously teaches on the famous Dulcken 1747 harpsichord at Museum Vleeshuis as 'harpsichordist in residence'. At this conservatoire he is chairing the Historically Informed Performance Practice programme and conducts projects with the many formations, in which he also teaches the conducting students. For many years he taught and conducted at the International Opera Academy Ghent, while also doing PhD research at Antwerp University. He has taught masterclasses and lectures at festivals, conservatories and universities of Manchester, Vilnius, Cambridge, Antwerp, Sydney and Aix-en-Provence. Yearly he gives a summer masterclass at Museum Vleeshuis in Antwerp, where he co-curates the Antwerp City of Harpsichords concert series. His discography, including solo works by Balbastre (for Aliud Records as laureate of SWUK Vlaanderen, where he also was artist in residence for one season), Rameau and Weckbacher (both on Et'cetera Records) and an internationally praised 'Grand Tour' disc on the Dulcken 1747 for Ramée/Outhere, now counts some forty recordings. Several solo recordings were added to the prestigeous online 'All of Bach' series by The Netherlands Bach Society. In 2024 a new solo recording on the Dulcken 1747 will be released. Starting in 2023, he is the new jury president for the world-famous International Harpsichord Competition of MAfestival Bruges.

Besides his concert career, he is a passionate and highly in-demand recording engineer and producer.


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