As a pioneer in the early music revival, Belgium has restored this often-forgetten repertoire to its rightful place. Its exceptional geographical location at the heart of Europe, along with its prestigious history stretching back almost two centuries, thus made the Conservatoire royal de Bruxelles the natural home for the establishment, at the start of the century, of a department dedicated to this major field of music.
The department has since become a beacon amongst European music schools, thanks to its teaching team which consists of artists from a range of countries, who are high-level musicians all currently active as soloists and members of the great ensembles. The department offers training on historical instruments, taking on repertoire from the sixteenth to nineteenth centuries, while giving its students the chance to discover the demands of "historically informed" performance practice. The work of the department seeks to break down barriers, and make use of the different qualities and specific interests of each teacher to best serve the students: theory classes are always closed related to instrumental practice, for example through the annual colloquium, or during study trips. The teaching team is also consistently seeking ways in which to introduce research into their teaching practice: at the end of the course, students have to publish a critical edition of a previously unpublished work of their choice. They are very much encouraged to have an open and curious mindset, and this is regularly put into practice through collaboration on original projects with students and teachers from other disciplines and other departements : singing, organ, theatre, jazz...
Students from all over the world come to study in the department, and this allows on-going exchanges within a wide range of chamber music ensembles as well as the chance to meet other musicians thanks to participating in the orchestra of the early music department.
"Playing in a baroque orchestra to understand baroque music"
The training in chamber music consists of regular practice alongside public performances within the Conservatoire and also in its cultural organisation partners. The instruments and concert venues are chosen to help students deepen their understanding of a particular theme, composer, period or esthetic. To this end, for a number of years the Conservatoire royal de Bruxelles has worked in close collaboration étroite with first-rate festivals (Automne Musical de Spa, Mubafa, Embaroquement immédiat...), in order to give students the chance to come face to face with the professional world.
The instrument store and the library of the Conservatoire royal de Bruxelles, to which students have access, are invaluable tools for the research activities of the department, in particular for the annual research colloquium. Every year, a musical instrument fair is organised, allowing students to meet the makers of historical musical instrument who come from all over Europe.