United

Since the creation of our small country, this slogan dear to Belgians (“Unity is Strength”, remember!) has lost none of its relevance… citizens of Brussels, Belgians, Europeans, citizens of a globalised world, there is no shortage of challenges, nor occasions lacking to reaffirm our growing need for solidarity. In a world that is incredibly connected, which drives us to communicate constantly and massively, one question preoccupies us on this 8 September: what makes the quality of a connection, be it between people or between organisations?

You don’t need a screen to experience “United Music of Brussels”, you don’t need a password or to download an app. Visitors are invited to walk around, to look, listen… share. The event is free and open to all. But none of this would be possible if a large number of people hadn’t already joined forces to make this project happen. There are so many United Music partnerships that it’s almost impossible to list them all!

Needless to say, the three major federal music institutions, the Belgian National Orchestra, la Monnaie and BOZAR, are joining forces for the occasion. Their management, staff, artists, buildings, many resources have been mobilised to offer the public an afternoon that’ll take place well off the beaten track. But in particular, these three players have linked up with their city and the urban fabric in which they work. And while the project has been prepared in collaboration with the City of Brussels and its authorities, it is also the result of encounters with countless local initiatives. We have knocked on many doors to prepare this event!

The amazing team at the Galeries Royales Saint-Hubert immediately embraced the idea and pointed us in the direction of many exciting partners. Among them, Eric and Simon who have enthusiastically opened their doors to welcome us into the intimacy of their magnificent apartment, sandwiched between two chocolatiers. The wine tasting during the Jazz@home concert will take place in their home and is offered by the team at the Taverne du Passage, the beating heart of the galleries. Meanwhile, Valérie Kinoo showed us around her inspiring co-working space, where creative types and free-spirited entrepreneurs link up. While we were there, she introduced us to Michel Van Cauter, inventor of the “Popup Yoga Concepts” in Brussels, an idea that gets the city moving and which will get our visitors stretching on 8 September! Frédéric Cornet was also prepared to leap across boundaries by hosting a performance-concert at the Galeries cinema, as well as in the astonishing adjoining basement. Thanks to “Choux de Bruxelles” and the attentive support of Thierry Dhulsters, United Music will also welcome the public and artists in another exceptional setting, that of the recently renovated Théâtre du Vaudeville.

There was no shortage of goodwill outside the Galeries either. The bookshops in the Galerie Bortier will warmly welcome the event and our visitors. Priest Viktors Jermakovics and the community of Sainte-Marie-Madeleine have also opened their doors to this unusual event. And Carine, Julie and Benjamin from the Salle de la Madeleine have also put all their efforts into ensuring that not a note is out of place on 8 September. At Brasserie 28, Alexandre De Ridder, previously responsible for the Brussels Jazz Marathon, is certainly used to organising events but this has to be the first time musicians of the Belgian National Orchestra will be playing Richard Strauss in this special beer bar! Thanks to the warm welcome of Rik Sturtewagen, who also happens to be an experienced jazz violinist, the Muntpunt is kindly lending us its mobile library so that we can provide information to our visitors. And Music Fund, a musical education project in countries in conflict and developing countries, based in Galerie Ravenstein, is providing us with musical instruments. Grab one and be immortalised as a virtuoso for a day at our info-photo stand in front of Central Station! Many artistic partnerships have also been formed as a result of the project: the Broedbloeders production company, for example, is collaborating with the organisers on the “De Toverfluit in een (n)otendop” programme, while Met-X Moving Music, which produces exciting urban music events, represents the Mâäk & KOJO jazz collective. The Muse Gueule team has put together a made-to-measure entertainment programme: see of you can spot their performers as you make your way around!

For the third year, United Music of Brussels is benefiting from another precious collaboration – with the European Commission‘s Directorate General for Human Resources. Thanks to their team, we will have the enthusiastic help of more than fifty volunteers working within the European institutions, ready to bend over backwards this Saturday to help you make the most of your afternoon, in almost all the languages of the EU! For them, the event is an opportunity to get more involved in what’s going on in their adopted city, to discover a new side to Brussels and to meet its inhabitants.

Thousands of connections are made during the project: between artists, often from different musical traditions, between the various partners of the project, their entourage… but also, we hope, between the musicians and the public, between residents and visitors, between music lovers and inquisitive novices… #United: all united by the city and by music!