Obituary: Belgian composer Philippe Boesmans has died aged 85

On April 10, 2022, Belgian composer Philippe Boesmans died at the age of 85.

Born in Tongres, Boesmans studied piano at the conservatory of Liège and was introduced to composition by Pierre Froidebise. He played with the Ensemble Musique Nouvelle, and in 1962, became a producer at the Belgian Radio Television of the French Community.

He was a long-time contributor to La Monnaie, where he served as artist-in-residence under managing directors Gerard Mortier, Bernard Foccroulle and Peter de Caluwe. His first opera, “La Passion de Gilles”, commissioned by La Monnaie and premiered in 1983, marked the beginning of their partnership. Subsequent works include “Reigen”, “Wintermarchen”, and “Julie”.

His most recent work, “On purge bebe”, based on the farce of the same name by Feydeau, will be completed and presented in December this year under the direction and librettist Richard Brunel.

“We want to remember Philippe for his humanism, humor and generosity,” Caluwe said in an official statement. “He has always been a welcome guest in our theater and an essential support for our house. His artistic contribution to La Monnaie and contemporary opera is invaluable. He was a trusted voice for three successive directors of La Monnaie and was always ready to give constructive feedback on our programming, for which he repeatedly made original suggestions. His opinion mattered, as a friend and as a professional, and will be greatly missed.

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