Bart Van Reyn


Going to the source of the symphony, with Anima Eterna.

‘Thanks to the collaboration with Anima Eterna, a world has opened up for me. This gives me the opportunity to explore music history step by step from the historical instruments to ultimately arrive at the twentieth century. In every work I conduct, I want to be able to feel what came before.’

Love for historical instruments and admiration for the great examples from the movement of historical performance practice run like a common thread through Bart Van Reyn’s rich career path. The Flemish conductor attended numerous rehearsals of, among others, John Eliot Gardiner, Philippe Herreweghe and of course Jos van Immerseel. With his own ensembles, Octopus and Le Concert d’Anvers, he has been experimenting with historical sounds since 2005. As head of the Danish Radio Choir and as music director of the Flemish Radio Choir, he has continued to deepen his vocal language in recent years. With Anima Eterna he now has a full-fledged, historically informed symphony orchestra in his hands for the first time: an important new step for Van Reyn.

‘I have been a fan of Anima Eterna for more than twenty years. I have all the Anima CDs, I have attended so many rehearsals as a novice conductor. Yes, that first time will be very special.’

With Anima Eterna, Van Reyn follows a path that he has been dreaming of for some time: following the symphony from its first tentative steps in the eighteenth century to its full-fledged, romantic manifestation in the nineteenth century, with work by Johann Christian Bach, among others. Mozart and Brahms. Bart Van Reyn sees this as a quiet process. He wants to create time and space to really feel the evolution of the symphony in his fingers, always starting from the sounds that preceded it – just as the well-known predecessors in historical performance practice did in their time.

‘It is a huge gift to be able to stand on the shoulders of the previous generation. Through them we not only inherit an enormous amount of knowledge about historical performance practice, but also a lot of musicians who know very well what they are doing. It is our job to continue the quest of that previous generation.’

Time and space: they are code words for Van Reyn. To reflect and investigate. To grow and wonder. The members of the orchestra explore the latest insights into performance practice. Van Reyn, in turn, surprises them with the fresh ‘fire of the moment’ that is so characteristic of him. A new artistic alliance is in the making.

The birth of the symphony

Together with Anima Eterna, Bart Van Reyn will follow the first steps of the symphony in April 2024. Click here for concert dates and exclusive content.