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Orchestre Philharmonique Royal de Liège

The preeminent orchestra of the French-speaking regions of Belgium, the Orchestre Philharmonique Royal de Liège, also known as the Orchestre Philharmonique de Liège, the OPRL, or the Liège Philharmonic Orchestra, has performed throughout Belgium, the Benelux countries, and France. The orchestra has championed music by Belgian composers in addition to a diet of French, German, and contemporary music in its frequent concerts at the Salle Philharmonique de Liège. The orchestra was founded in 1960 by conductor Fernand Quinet, who served as music director until 1964. Pierre Bartholomée served as music director for 22 years, from 1977 to 1999. The orchestra's eight conductors have included several who have gone on to international careers, among them future Cincinnati Symphony conductor Louis Langrée (2001-2006). Since 2011 the orchestra's music director has been the Austrian-born Christian Arming. Jean-Jacques Kantorow, who has also experienced success in the U.S., has served as guest conductor and led the orchestra on recordings. Programming has included the works of such contemporary composers as Philippe Boesmans, Henri Dutilleux, and Magnus Lindberg. The OPRL's commitment to Belgian music is especially apparent in the recording studio. The group has been especially active on recordings in the 2010s. After backing French violinist Laurent Korcia on a 2011 recording of concertos by Tchaikovsky and Korngold, the group has issued recordings by Eugène Ysaÿe and Joseph Jongen for the label Musique en Wallonie. In 2014, the orchestra began a cycle of Ottorino Respighi's lesser-known orchestral works with Impressioni brasilianne and La Boutique fantasque; in 2018, BIS issued its versions of the very rarely heard Respighi works Vetrate di Chiesa, Il Tramonto, and Trittico Botticelliano. The OPRL has also recorded for the Naïve and Cyprès labels. In February of 2018, the orchestra mounted a "Festival l'enfant prodigue," examining the music of Mozart in a context of that by other compositional prodigies.
© James Manheim /TiVo


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