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Our history

The Brussels Bachkoor (Brussels Bach Choir) was founded in 2006 at the former KUB in Koekelberg. Under the direction of Michaël Scheck, a 30-strong group of Bach lovers grew into a fully-fledged mixed choir. 

In 2007 and 2008, the BBK performed Bach's Christmas Oratorio; in 2008 to a sold-out Kaaitheater. For both editions, the BBK collaborated with the Ghent choir Dulcisona, finalist of the 2008 Choir of the Year. During the 2009 provincial choir festival, the BBK maintained its position in the upper first division. 

In June 2009, Michaël Scheck passed the baton to Vincent Lesage. 

From now on, rehearsals would take place in community centre De Markten. The choice of repertoire was deepened and expanded, allowing the BBK to perform a Christmas concert with works by Bach and contemporaries at the Finisterrae Church in December 2009. 

On 2 May 2010, the BBK graced the celebration of mass in Koekelberg's basilica with Hassler's Missa Super Dixit Maria, and on 28 May of that year, the choir officially bid farewell to the auditorium in Koekelberg with an instrumental and vocal journey through the time of Hans Leo Hassler (1564-1612). The link with Koekelberg was preserved. In GC De Platoo, the BBK found a good partner for cooperation and the municipality was sympathetic to the BBK. Thus, the BBK already performed twice during the Valentine's Day happening in Koekelberg. 

A first highlight of the BBK with Vincent Lesage was the concert on 11 September 2011 in the Great Hall of the Royal Conservatory of Music. With four young Belgian soloists and the Brussels Fringe Orchestra, the BBK then performed Mozart's Requiem. Vincent Lesage received high praise for his artistic direction. 

On 16 March 2013, a dream came true for the Brussels Bach Choir and its conductor. In Studio 4 of Flagey, the choir was able to perform J.S. Bach's St John Passion. Again with a fine cast of soloists and with the Brussels Fringe Orchestra on period instruments. The whole thing was under the direction of Vincent Lesage. It was an intense moment for choir and conductor. 

Besides performing its own productions, the Brussels Bach Choir also enjoys providing concerts on request. In May 2013, it gave two concerts in collaboration with the non-profit organisation Rainbow House and with GC Heembeek-Mutsaard.  

This was followed in 2014 by a concert around the figure of Joseph Haydn, with solos and orchestra. In autumn, in collaboration with Clockwork Music, several concerts were given including Vocal Meditation... a cappella music for the Advent season (2014); Et omnia vanitas: Advent concert in the Finisterrae church (2014); Sei Lob und Preis... the splendour of J.S. Bach (2015). 

In 2015, we also collaborated with Brussels Sinfonietta (conducted by Luc Bartholomeus) and chamber choir Carmina from Meise. On the programme was Psalm 42 by Mendelssohn. It was performed as a benefit concert in Vilvoorde's Onze-Lieve-Vrouwekerk and then at the Royal Conservatory of Music in Brussels. On 21 March, the male choir was accompanied by the Mengal horn quartet. On 16 May, the ecumenical celebration Belgian Pride (benefit) was graced. 

In June 2015, Pieter de Moor assumed the leadership of the Brussels Bach Choir until July 2016. 

In June 2016, we collaborated with the Sangghesellen from Halle for a “Double Bach” concert. 

In September 2016, for the first time in its existence, the choir came under the direction of a woman, Elise Smout. Barely a few months later, she immediately set the tone with a first concert, “Van Z tot A”. With this, the Brussels Bach Choir no longer limited itself to the Baroque period but also opened up to other musical styles. The BBK thus introduced its audience to composers such as Arvo Pärt and Pablo Casals, as well as Vivaldi and Pachelbel. 

In May 2017, the choir gave its second concert under the direction of its new choirmaster: “Baroque Spring Jitters”, a programme composed of short, light pieces from the Baroque period. The concert was performed in an intimate setting in the Spiegelzaal, the choir's regular rehearsal room at community centre De Markten. 

Barely a few months later, on the 500th anniversary of the Reformation, there followed the narrative concert “Martin Luther, the Nightingale of Wittenberg”, a production in collaboration with Jean-Claude Thienpont. That fine programme was performed twice, in Brussels and Vilvoorde. 

In October 2018, Elise Smout took the choir members on an opera adventure, with H. Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas on the programme. With that, the choir brought a real spectacle to Zinnema in Anderlecht that year, an operatic total production with projected images, costumes and small orchestra. It was a hit with a particularly spirited audience. It was a real tour de force but glorious success for the choir members. 

A year later, in November 2019, the Brussels Bach Choir delved into the world of mottets, mainly around the music of the Bach family. Nevertheless, the choir continued to explore other musical eras, from classicism through romanticism to the 20th century. 

In 2020 and 2021, the choir faced the corona crisis and met sparsely whenever possible. 

In November 2022, the BBK could finally take to the stage again for the celebration of its 15th anniversary, with music by Bach, of course. The beautiful and imposing church of Sint-Jacob-op-de-Koudenberg became the setting for that jubilee concert, accompanied by a small instrumental ensemble, in front of a well-attended and enthusiastic audience.  

In November 2023, the Brussels Bach Choir performed Vivaldi's Dixit Dominus in collaboration with the French-speaking choir “La Clé des Chants”, also conducted by Elise Smout. It was a colourful project accompanied by an extensive orchestra and renowned soloists, bringing together musicians from both language communities in the universal language of music.