An orchestra at the source
An orchestra flows.
Like a river, always running the same course,
from its source to its mouth,
yet with new water flowing through its bed at every moment.
In the same way, Anima Eterna Brugge flows.
Driven by innovation, adventure and experiment.
On the way to the unknown.
Starting from the source.
Six times a year, an international team of orchestral musicians gathers, united around a shared passion: getting in touch with the historical source of music. What did the musicians of that time hear? What instruments did they play? What scores did they play from? In short, how did they do it? And perhaps more importantly, what did the composers and musicians in the past think about it? What were their expectations of the notes on the page? For Anima Eterna, asking – and continuing to ask – these questions is what it’s all about.
Anima Eterna brings music written between 1750 and 1945 into the present day, with its historical source as the point of departure – and has done so for over thirty years now. The results are often surprising, sometimes astonishing. Always new. Moreover, since water never stops flowing, a ‘definitive version’ of the past cannot exist. Founder Jos van Immerseel has expanded our musical imaginations many times over his long career. Radical and ground-breaking, full of verve and often with a dash of humour. Like the expressive colours of the pianoforte in Mozart’s piano concerti. The crystal-clear winds in Schubert’s symphonies. The bone-dry tympani in the second movement of Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony. The ophicleide cutting through the texture in Berlioz’ Symphonie Fantastique. Or the taut, restrained tempo in Ravel’s Boléro.
Since 2021, the musicians of Anima Eterna have continued their artistic quest, now directed by four different artistic voices. Giovanni Antonini, Pablo Heras-Casado, Bart Van Reyn and Midori Seiler are each setting their own course in dialogue with the orchestra, from bel canto to Bruckner, from Mozart to Clara Schumann, from Wagner to Saint-Saëns. As different as these strong musical personalities are, they all share and respect one common goal: to enrich our collective memory more and more, together with the musicians of Anima Eterna. With new sounds, new stories, new discoveries.
With these new voices, Anima Eterna’s inspiring and ardent founder Jos van Immerseel aims to ensure an enduring future for his brainchild: so that even without him, the soul of the orchestra can continue to flow on. In the meantime, Van Immerseel is working to pass on his artistic legacy by giving courses with the musicians and by opening up the Anima archives. And – happily for us – he returns to conduct his favourite orchestra, once every season.