Benjamin Haemhouts is one of the most passionate Belgian musicians of the day. After a career as a solo trombonist in the German Bamberg Symphony Orchestra, he focused on conducting and studied orchestral conducting with the Russian conductor Alexander Polyanichko, for whom he also worked as an assistant. His collaborations with conductors such as Sir Simon Rattle, Valery Gergiev, Bernard Haitink, Herbert Blomstedt, Gustavo Dudamel, Giuseppe Sinopoli, Jonathan Nott and Esa-Pekka Salonen made lasting impressions upon him.
Since he became principal conductor of the Chamber Orchestra of Belgium in 2008, his ground-breaking programmes have been attracting attention, programmes in which he likes to combine contemporary work with compositions from the Baroque and Classical period. His interpretation is characterised by conspicuous dynamic contrasts, accurate articulation, a dazzling palette of nuances and a lively and infectious manner of making music. After one of his first concerts as principal conductor of the Chamber Orchestra of Belgium, a concert during which he combined, without interruption, Pergolesi’s “Salve Regina” with a universal creation from the award-winning composer Stefan Prins, the Belgian weekly KNACK headlined with: “Energy from Belgium!”.
This slogan is a perfect reference to his trademark in which perfection, ambition and drive take centre stage. Benjamin Haemhouts is an innovator who approaches classical repertoires from a contemporary perspective and who is always on the look-out for young new composers and young leading soloists in particular.
This new standard of concerts filled with meaning and emotion has not gone unnoticed abroad. In 2012, he and his Chamber Orchestra of Belgium were promptly invited to the Concertgebouw Amsterdam, and on the basis of this experience they were invited back for the 2013/2014 season. Projects that focus on social commitment and music for children are an outstanding development at the Chamber Orchestra of Belgium. Benjamin Haemhouts’s approach, that all levels of the population must have access to music and that an orchestra must participate in society, has gained a huge level of traction in Belgium.
Benjamin Haemhouts has conducted numerous youth orchestras as guest conductor, including the Junge Deutsche Philharmonie, the Antwerp Conservatory’s Symphony Orchestra, and the Orchestre Jeunesses Musicales. He conducted André Laporte’s universal creation, “La Création”, with the HERMESensemble and he has been a guest in various ensembles for contemporary music in Belgium, the Netherlands and Germany. He also conducted the Chernivtsi Philharmonic Symphonic Orchestra, worked together with the Brussels Philharmonic and the National Orchestra of Belgium. Recently, he made his first appearance at the Bamberg Symphony Orchestra.