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  • Minimes Festival

    Minimes Festival
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    Festival des Minimes 2019

    Pre-announcement of major changes at the Festival des Minimes Museum



    Ladies and Gentlemen, 


    2019 will be a year full of change and creation.


    1 - Change to the artistic direction of the Festival.

    Last November, we announced the departure of Mr. Jacques Vanherenthals and his wife Anne-Catherine Labrique from the Festival des Minimes Museum (see below).

    Faced with this situation, the Centre d’Oeuvres de Merode had to provide for their replacement. We thank the many candidates who have generously offered their skills. We could not accommodate everyone, so we only remembered those we already knew well. It is an artistic committee composed by 4 high-level musicians who will take charge of the programming of future festivals. In a few days we will officially announce their names and their brilliant careers.


    2 – Name change of the Festival des Minimes Muséum

    To prevent our many audiences and musicians who gratify their talents from confusing the Festival des Minimes Museum with another festival, the Centre d’Oeuvres de Merode has decided to change the name of this summer festival. We are currently doing all the administrative and legal steps to register it in good compliance and will provide you with all the details in a few days. This festival will obviously continue in the Philippe Roberts Jones room (490 auditorium) of the Royal Museums of Fine Arts of Belgium.


    3 - Slight modification of the schedules of the summer concerts - 12.15 to 13.00.

    We had many remarks about our schedule which was judged unsuitable for those working the day in Brussels. In order to facilitate their access to the concerts, we modified it slightly: instead of 12:00 to 12:45, the concerts will happen from 12:15 to 13:00.


    4 - A second festival in the Minimes church

    The name Festival des Minimes will not disappear but will be given to another new festival focused on the organ in the magnificent church of the Minimes. With the agreement of the Fabrique d’église, this festival will run from January to December except for July and August. It is always the Centre d’Oeuvres de Merode that will take care of it with another art direction and all the details will be given to you in a few weeks.

    We believe that these necessary changes will further enhance the quality we offer.

    We thank you for your support and we will be back in the next few days.


    Amaury de Merode

    CEO of the Centre d’Oeuvres de Merode


    Jacques Vanherenthals leaves the artistic direction of the Festival des Minimes Museum


    Ladies and Gentlemen,


    After three years of volunteering at the Festival des Minimes, Mr. Jacques Vanherenthals and his wife Mrs. Anne-Catherine Labrique made the decision not to continue their collaboration with us.

    Indeed, they prefer to devote their time to face new challenges.

    We are sorry because they did a brilliant job at the artistic direction of the festival.

    The Centre d'Oeuvres de Merode takes this opportunity to thank them very much for helping to raise the Festival to its current level. We wish them great success in what they will do in the future.

    The Festival des Minimes will obviously continue in 2019 at the Royal Museums of Fine Arts of Belgium.

    The 2019 Festival will begin on July 1, 2019 and end on August 30, 2019.

    We thank you for your support and will keep you informed about the new artistic direction.


    Amaury de Merode

    CEO of the Festival des Minimes

    Festival website : http://www.festivaldesminimes.be

    The Festival des Minimes becomes modern : 

    festival on FACEBOOK : centre d'Oeuvre de Merode

    festival on FACEBOOK : miniemen festival des minimes museum

    festival on INSTAGRAM : festivaldesminimes

    Program of the summer 2018 click here


    At the Royal Museums of Fine Arts of Belgium

    Rue de la Régence 3, 1000 Brussels

    Access through the main entrance of the museum or directly through the Museum Square


    From July 1st to August 30st,

    Working days from 12:15  to 13:00 


    Free entry

    The Minimes Festival moves to the Royal Museums of Fine Arts of Belgium

    Since 2012, the Minimes Festival has succeeded to the Midis-Minimes in the church of the Minimes, the latter having gone to the Royal Conservatory of Brussels.

    After the death of Father Jacques Van der Biest, the church came under the responsibility of priest Bernard Lenge Mulumbi and vicar Hervé Hygonnet.

    The festival’s regulars quickly perceived the hostility of the two priests to cultural activities. In 2017, the lack of respect for both the organisers and the public as well as the systematic sabotage of the concerts made the situation intolerable.

    Having taken no account of the contracts made between the church council and the Centre d’oeuvre de Merode (organiser of the Minimes Festival), the priests came with demands that are inacceptable. Such demands are tantamount to putting the Minimes Festival at the door of church of the Minimes (see the minutes below).

    None of our protest letters, even the registered ones, have received any kind of reply and no help was given by the hierarchy of the church of Brussels. Only the leaders of the church council have tried to appease this sad situation.

    In one year, the church of the Minimes have lost the concerts organised by BOZAR, the Minimes Cantatas and the Minimes Festival. The Minimes church is now deprived of any kind of serious musical program which is a shame since it had the chance to benefit from the skills of a man as incredible as Jacques Vanherenthals.

    More than forty years of hard work has been destroyed by the lack of reaction of the hierarchy to the two priests’ actions.

    These actions result in the suppression of any kind of cultural activities, the ejection of people in a state of precariousness and the loss of the faithful.

    What now?

    The Festival has found refuge in the brand new and magnificent auditorium of the Royal Museums of Fine Arts of Belgium. We are welcomed with open arms and can benefit from all the media and logistical support of this prestigious museum.

    This room is perfectly adapted to concerts and benefits from the most modern techniques and comfort. The infrastructure can also accommodate people with reduced mobility.

     In addition, we are staying in the same neighbourhood and therefore can always enjoy the many delicious restaurants of the Sablon. Public transportation is available right in front.


    The 2018 festival will start in a few months. Every concerts will happen in the magnifient auditorium of the Royal Museums of Fine Arts of Belgium. 
    Our artistical manager Jacques Vanherenthals has spoiled you this year. As you will see, the program is varied and we think everyone will find what he likes.
    You will hear classical music of all periods, world music, singing, jazz and organ.
    All musicians of the festival live in Belgium. They all come out of conservatories with very good grades. For the coach, we welcome the great musical personalities who also play at the festival. It is highly stimulating for these young peoples.
    The Minimes Festival, begin to be welknown abroad too.

    The Minimes Festival will take place

    from the monday 1 of July to friday 30th of August 2019


    The price?
    These concerts are free and those who wish to support the musicians and our activities will have the opportunity to make a small donation to the Centre d'Oeuvre de Merode.
    Where and when?
    Throughout July and August, these concerts will take place at the Royal Museums of Fine Arts of Belgium, Rue de la Régence 3, 1000 Brussels - Access through the main entrance of the museum or directly through the Museum Square (Not the week-ends) at 12:00 to 12:45
    Duration of the concerts :  30 - 45minutes


    What is the

    of the Minimes Festival? 

    1 - History and goals of the festival

    In the summer of 1982, Father Jacques Van der Biest travelled to Stockholm by night train for a purely touristic trip. All travelers and tourists were greeted by students from the local Conservatory. They played during the tiresome days relaxing music in the cathedral for free.

    The ideas were simple: a short concert by young talents who would play for free, making the entry fee for the concert free as well. A vast range of music from all times could be heard throughout these concerts. 

    The abbot being a great fan of music thought the idea was great and decided to create a similar festival in Brussels in his church of the Minims. But putting the idea into practice was not simple. A serious organization is needed in order to take care of all the tasks. Therefore, in 1986 the Abbot, assisted by his staff, launched this concept in Belgium. The idea is still working after nearly 28 years.

     The idea is to have free, short (35 minutes long) concerts played by talented musicians who would start at 12:15 every day during the months of July and August.

    In May 2012, the “Centre d'Oeuvre de Merode”, in which the priest is a very important member, took over the organisation of the festival. They entrusted the artistic management to Jacques Vanherenthals.

    In 2018, the festival moves to the the Royal Museums of Fine Arts of Belgium

    What are the goals of the festival?

    Young musicians-virtuoso, from around the world, can hold concerts in a magnificent building. This is an opportunity for them. They can improve their talents and make themselves known throughout the festival.

    Spectators can admire them and support them with their work.They can listen to high quality music with various genres in the Minimes. This beautiful 18th century church possesses a certain charm, poetry and serenity that no other concert hall can offer. The acoustics is also remarkable and very unique.

    Entrante free of charges


    Artistic manager Professor Jacques Vanherenthals 


    Jacques Vanherenthals began his career as a musician at the Antwerp Opera (now the Flanders Opera) in 1969 as a double bass player. In 1973 he was taken on by the RTBF Symphony Orchestra in Brussels, where he worked for fifteen years.

    His teaching activities also included the post of assistant lecturer for chamber music at the Brussels Royal Conservatoire, a position he held from 1984 to 2006.

    From 1987 to 2005 he was artistic director and permanent conductor of the "Choir and Orchestra of the Chapel
    of the Minims" ensemble, with which he conducted more than 160 cantatas and all the great choral works by Johann Sebastian Bach, in performances given in Brussels.

    In 1988 he took up the post of director of the Academy of Nivelles and in 1989 he took over the running of the Academy of Music, Dance and Spoken Arts in Forest (Brussels), whose team of teaching staff he managed

    until 2010.

    Parallel to his activities as a virtuoso, he composed many works for the double bass and in 1982 created the Brussels Double Bass Quartet,with which he gave numerous concerts in Belgiumand abroad over a period of ten years.

    The concerts in Belgium included 300 for the Jeunesses musicales (an organisation promoting musical activities for young people), whilst on the international scene
    the quartet played in Louisiana, Quebec, Ontario,

    France and Italy.

    His training as a conductor led him to create the Brussels Orchestral Ensemble (Ensemble Orchestral de Bruxelles

    – EOB) in 1994, with the cooperation of double bass player Eric Demesmaeker and musicologist Richard Dehon. Currently he is the ensemble's permanent conductor
    and is responsible for the artistic direction.

    With his ensemble, Jacques Vanherenthals collaborates with great soloists such as José Van Dam, François René Duchable, Aga Winska, Julia Migenes and Alain Carré, as well as the prestigious school of the Cadre Noir of Saumur, international festivals and a great many young artists who have been able to embark on their career thanks to these performances.

    Several CDs to his name bear witness to the quality of his work, both as a conductor and a composer.

    2 - The Festival des Minimes Brussels 2019

    Management of the Festival International de l'église des Minimes
    Founder and director :
    Jacques Van der Biest + may 2016
    President : 
    Amaury de Merode
    Artistic manager  : 
    Jacques Vanherenthals
    Administration : 
    Marjana Mandi
    Aurèle de Merode
    Walter Van Damme
    Organization of the material of the church : 
    The Centre d'Oeuvres de Merode and the Minimes
    Those who helps us