The orchestra

The Antwerp Symphony Orchestra (“The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra of Flanders”) is the symphony orchestra of Flanders and Belgium, having the world-renowned Queen Elisabeth Hall as its home base.

The orchestra is led by chief conductor Elim Chan, honorary conductor Philippe Herreweghe, and emeritus conductor Jaap van Zweden. It performs several concerts each year in prestigious Belgian and international concert venues.

Conductors and musicians

Since its inception in 1955, the orchestra has become synonymous with the sound of Antwerp, a city of diamonds and fashion, and its world-class port. The orchestra, which has cooperated with Philippe Herreweghe for many years, combines a historically informed performance practice with a solid orchestral sound, that was further developed under the supervision of chief conductors such as Jaap van Zweden, Edo De Waart, and Elim Chan.

The exceptional acoustic surroundings of the Queen Elisabeth Hall provide the Antwerp Symphony the setting it needs to continue to develop and refine its distinctive warm sound. The varied programme includes Baroque music and romanticism, as well as more contemporary works, paying special attention to Flemish musical heritage and the symphonic repertoire of the 19th and 20th centuries. The orchestra works with world-renowned soloists and conductors to achieve this mission.

Thanks to its own concert series at the Concertgebouw (Bruges), Muziekcentrum De Bijloke (Ghent), BOZAR (Brussels) and CC HA (Hasselt), the orchestra occupies a unique position in Flanders. The Antwerp Symphony Orchestra is also proud of its structural international ties, performing concerts in multiple venues in neighbouring countries each season. In addition to this, the orchestra also organises an international tour each year (Spain in 2023 and the Baltics in 2020).

With its home base in the Queen Elisabeth Hall, the orchestra consolidates Antwerp’s international reputation as a concert city and a city of culture. Since 2017, the orchestra has welcomed several leading international orchestras in its Antwerp residence, such as the London Symphony Orchestra, the New York Philharmonic, and the Sydney Symphony Orchestra, among others.

The Antwerp Symphony Orchestra regularly records music for renowned classical labels, such as Phi, Alpha, Pentatone, and BIS Records, focussing primarily on grand symphonic classics, Belgian music, and contemporary classical music.

Besides its regular concerts, the Antwerp Symphony Orchestra continues to develop its extensive range of educational and social projects, with which the orchestra takes children, young adults, and people from diverse backgrounds, on a journey through the world of symphonic sound. These projects contribute to the orchestra’s unique position on the Belgian cultural landscape, as the first orchestra to tailor its activities to focus on the broad impact of classical music. The orchestra also nurtures young talent, giving (very) young musicians the opportunity to evolve within a youth orchestra or the orchestra academy. The orchestra supplements these educational activities with a unique outreach ambition, actively eliminating any obstacles to concert visits, for Antwerp children in vulnerable positions, for example.

Mission and vision

The Antwerp Symphony Orchestra is a professional art institution, which strives to move and inspire the broadest possible audience with concert experiences of the highest quality. The orchestra is the leading symphony orchestra of Flanders and Belgium, performing concerts in the Queen Elisabeth Hall in Antwerp – its home base – as well as in prestigious Belgian and international concert venues. The Antwerp Symphony is also responsible for the programming of all classical concerts in the Queen Elisabeth Hall.

More about our mission and vision

About us