Centre for music education, knowledge and culture

Thanks to its remarkable concert hall, the Royal Conservatory of Brussels has played a prominent role in the Belgian and Brussels music scene. It has also been the showcase for the activities of the two music colleges. Its rich artistic past and exceptional acoustic qualities have given it an enviable reputation among top artists.

Eugène Ysaÿe, Henrik Wieniawski, Arthur Grumiaux, Arthur De Greef, Désiré Defauw and the cream of the international music scene have made it famous abroad and given it a soul that not even the cracked stucco can impair.

The Conservatory organ is a masterpiece in itself and the only instrument in Brussels made by the famous French organ-maker Cavaillé-Coll, who also made the organ in Notre Dame in Paris. Specially designed for the concert hall, this romantic instrument, which today remains silent, is acknowledged throughout the world to be of exceptional musical and historical quality.

Since 1832, the Royal Conservatory of Brussels has also been expanding its music library. The current collection includes many rare and valuable items – including a recently discovered unknown autograph of Franz Liszt! The library too needs to be brought up to current international conservation, research and development standards.

 

Vergane glorie

Al draagt vergane glorie een zekere schoonheid in zich, het aanzicht van het Conservatoriumcomplex ondermijnt vandaag in grote mate de unieke splendeur van de omgeving, één van de mooiste historische centra en een kloppend hart in Brussel. Het gebouw toont zich als gescheurde gevels met vervuilde stenen en gebarsten ramen, de fraaie frontons en statige standbeelden werden door ieders oog verlaten. De buitenkant verraadt verval, maar reveleert nog lang niet de verre staat van verkommering die binnen heerst. Zolders werden er duiventillen, traphallen staan op instorten, muren dreigen te verrotten. Ook de schitterende concertzaal in Second-Empirestijl, die tot op heden de grootste musici ontvangt, is verworden tot een afgeleefde ruimte met weinig aantrekkelijke voorzieningen voor zowel het publiek als de artiesten.

Wie wenst echter niet het gebouw zijn oorspronkelijke glorie terug te geven en zo opnieuw bekoord te worden door de fraaie aanblik van dit sublieme monument?

 

An Architectural Masterpiece

The buildings of the Royal Conservatory of Brussels, while little known, are nevertheless of international standing, both historically and architecturally. Built in 1876, this jewel of Brussels heritage has rightfully been listed as a “historical monument”. The Conservatory is the last masterpiece of architect Jean-Pierre Cluysenaar and, along with the Saint-Hubert Galleries, one of his few remaining legacies.

Stylistically, the building is generally regarded as a testimony to the evolution of eclecticism. The Conservatory is also of urbanistic importance. Situated on the rue de la Régence, it lies midway between the Palace of Justice and the Place Royale, close to the Petit Sablon park and the Grand Sablon church. In its vicinity lie other important buildings, such as the Egmont Palace, the Great Synagogue of Brussels, the Belgian Court of Audit and the Royal Museums of Fine Arts. Residents and tourists alike are charmed and enchanted by these historical and aesthetic buildings.