HERMESensemble was established by Koen Kessels and is a collective of musicians, artists and academics.


Ballet Mécanique

HERMESensemble presented George Antheil’s BALLET MECANIQUE together with the Fernand Léger and Man Ray’s original film to a sold-out Bourla Theatre.

HERMESensemble was invited by Boudewijn Buckinx in his capacity as curator of the Joint Venture Festival (Festival of Flanders) to be the “ensemble in residence” and presented concerts in deSingel, MUHKA and other venues.

HERMESensemble added lustre to the opening of the Concertgebouw Brugge at the FORMAT Festival (Brugge 2002) with a sell-out presentation of BALLET MECANIQUE  which was contrasted with Edgar Varèse’s DESERTS, accompanied by a video by Bill Viola set-off with music from DJ Eavesdropper.

HERMESensemble received recognition and structural support from the Flemish Government.

Concert with the Ricercar Consort in Brussels (Théâtre Marni) for Ars Musica with UPON SILENCE by George Benjamin. Stage performances of INFINITO NERO by Salvatore Sciarrino in Het Kanaal at Wijnegem. BALLET MECANIQUE in deSingel. Concerts at the Festival of Saintes and in the Tate Modern in London.

4’33”: HOMAGE TO JOHN CAGE with Joan La Barbara, Bram Van Camp, Luc Brewaeys and Kurt Ralske in deSingel in association with Ars Musica.

Sell out performances in the Bozar and Vooruit with HERONTDEKKING VAN DE WAANZIN (Pink Floyd Project) with Gert Keunen, Kurt Ralske and Collegium Vocale Gent.

Musical theatre tour of Flanders and the Netherlands with VARIETE by Mauricio Kagel together with One-Off.

HERMESensemble performed work by and with Tristan Murail and Frédéric D’haene in deSingel for Ars Musica.

Various performances of the audio drama WORDS & MUSIC by Morton Feldman and Samuel Beckett during the Zomer van Antwerpen.

BALLET MECANIQUE at the KLARA Festival in Bozar.

5 JAAR HERMESensemble with Kaija Saariaho and the creation of FANFARE by Luc Brewaeys.

HERONTDEKKING VAN DE WAANZIN (Pink Floyd Project) in the Bijloke and the Rivierenhof Open Air Theatre (Antwerp).

HERMESensemble and Avanti! in Bozar with work by Kaija Saariaho.

LA CHUTE DE LA MAISON USHER (film by Jean Epstein, music by Ivan Fedele) in deSingel and the Philharmonie de Luxembourg.

TERZA PRATICCA by Thomas Smetryns in S.M.A.K, the Vooruit and the Vlaamse Opera.

HERMESensemble La Chute

HERMESensemble was granted structural support from the Flemish Government until 2009 and becomes the ensemble in residence of AMUZ.

THE LODGER (film by Alfred Hitchcock, music by Joby Talbot) in première in deSingel.

CD and tour of the BRISKEY BIG BAND PROJECT with Gert Keunen at among others the Warande in Turnhout, the Roma, Vooruit, and the Arts Centre in Hasselt.

Collaboration with Kaffe Matthews, Philippe Pierlot, Kurt Ralske and Thomas Smetryns as part of the music@venture Festival in Antwerp.

HERMESensemble performed work by Salvatore Sciarrino during the Venice Biennale (Palazzo Fortuny).

Performance of CONCERTO FOR VIOLIN AND ENSEMBLE by Bram van Camp in AMUZ.

First edition of the annual project THE TIMES THEY ARE A-CHANGIN’, aimed at the development of young composing talent.

Tour with ROTHKO CHAPEL by Morton Feldman, work by Peter Ablinger and a creation by Jelle Tassyns at among others the Basilica Festival of Flanders, Limburg.

Sextet HEARING FROM NOWHERE by Frédéric D’haene at the MADE Festival (Festival of Flanders Ghent).

THE LODGER in Friesland (Leeuwarden and Drachten).

Musical theatre DE ZANDMAN with music by Salvatore Sciarrino in association with In Vitro in Cologne.


Performance and tour inclusion-dance theatre KLEEFKRUID with music by Hanne Deneire.

Premiere in AMUZ and various performance of DISAPPEARING IN LIGHT by Wim Henderickx in Flanders and the Netherlands.

DVD AVANT-GARDE together with CINEMATEK and tour with live performances of Belgian surrealist films with new music by Annelies Van Parys, Joachim Brackx and Eric Sleichim and others together with Music Theatre Transparant.

THE LODGER at the Basilica Festival of Flanders Limburg.

PARIS QUI DORT (film by René Clair, music by Yan Maresz) in deSingel, Philharmonie de Luxembourg and Muziekgebouw aan ’t Ij, Amsterdam.

HERMESensemble awarded structural support by the Flemish Government until 2012, and continues to be the AMUZ ensemble in residence.

DISAPPEARING IN LIGHT by Wim Henderickx at the Happy New Festival, Kortrijk.

CYMATICS with Andrew Claes, Jérôme Combier and Kurt Ralske in the Kaaitheater (Ars Musica) and AMUZ.

Collaboration with Bobo Stenson and trio with work by the composer/bassist Andres Jormin in deSingel.

Sell-out performance in Konzerthaus Wien with THE LODGER.

10 JAAR HERMESensemble with LA CHUTE DE LA MAISON USHER in AMUZ. Concerts in Maastricht (Musica Sacra), Düsseldorf (Langen Foundation) and Utrecht.

HERMESensemble Cymatics

Creation of MEDEA, musical theatre by Wim Henderickx with Muziektheater Transparant and the Veenfabriek in deSingel. Tour of Flanders and the Netherlands, and a concertante performance in Teatro Piccolo Arsenale at the Venice Biennale.

HERMESensemble signed with Harmonia Mundi for a CD version of DISAPPEARING IN LIGHT by Wim Henderickx.

Creation of STANLEY a musical theatre piece with music by Hanne Deneire in association with the Kolonie MT and Peter De Graef, and a tour of Flanders and the Netherlands.

Encounter and collaboration with Vijay Iyer around MUTATIONS in deSingel.

SCHNEE by Hans Abrahamsen in AMUZ and deSingel.

LA CHUTE DE LA MAISON USHER in the Muziekgebouw aan ’t Ij in Amsterdam.

Closing concert for the  ISCM International World Music Days in deSingel with the premiere of ATLANTIC WALL by Wim Henderickx and work by Jonathan Harvey.

ATLANTIC WALL and DISAPPEARING IN LIGHT at the November Music festival in ‘s Hertogenbosch.

Collaboration with Capilla Flamenca in the production of CHIAROSCURO with music by Salvatore Sciarrino in Concertgebouw Brugge and at Osterfestival Tirol.


HERMESensemble was granted structural support by the Flemish Government until 2016. The ensemble joined NEW AUD, an international network of contemporary music ensembles.

Structural collaboration with the University of Arts, Birmingham, with concerts with creations by Flemish composers (Wim Henderickx, Hanne Deneire) and master classes.

Performed at the opening of the Novecento Festival Vlaams-Brabant in Leuven with work among others by Martin Matalon in association with the Centre Henri Pousseur conducted by Ed Spanjaard.

STRANGE NEWS by Rolf Wallin for ensemble, electronics and video in deSingel and at November Music in ’s Hertogenbosch.

Concerts in AMUZ (HOMAGE TO ARVO PART), Venice Biennale, Stadsschouwburg Utrecht, De Doelen Rotterdam.

Release of TRIPTYCH with NADA BRAHMA and ATLANTIC WALL by Wim Henderickx at the Festival of Vlaanderen Kortrijk, with a multimedia concert centred on ATLANTIC WALL and STRANGE NEWS by Rolf Wallin.

Start-up of research into the performance practice of the German avant-garde, focussing on Karlheinz Stockhausen with performances of SCHONHEIT in Berlin (Acker Stadt Palast) and Antwerpen.

Release of  “’14 – ’18” on DVD  in association with CINEMATEK with LA BELGIQUE MARTYRE (film by Charles Tutelier, music by Hanne Deneire) and film concerts in deSingel, the Flagey and at Musica Sacra Maastricht.

Ensemble “in residence” at the Inspiratum Festival Kanaal with work by among others Wim Henderickx, Hanne Deneire, Martin Matalon, Kee Yong Chong, and Toshio Hosokawa.

MUTATIONS with Vijay Iyer at Jazz Middelheim and the Bremen Musikfest. Other concerts in the Flagey, S.M.A.K., Middelburg and Leiden.

Wim Henderickx - Triptych

HERMESensemble moves to its own studio in Het Kanaal in Wijnegem.

The Karlheinz Stockhausen research takes HERMESensemble to Cologne and Berlin (Akademie der Kunste).

Collaboration with De Spiegel on experimental musical theatre for the very young in CABAN. Creation of DELEUZABELLI: DIABELLI VARIATIONS FOR THE 21st CENTURY with Paulo De Assis and the Orpheus Instituut, with creations by Bart Van Hecke, Tiziano Manca, David Gorton and Paolo Galli and performances in deSingel, Miry Zaal Ghent and the Bijloke.

Creation of the musical theatre piece HYPERION (text by Friedrich Hölderlin, music by Bruno Maderna) with Italy’s Muta Imago and in association with Muziektheater Transparant and Orpheus Instituut, with performances in Antwerp, Rimini and Rome (RomaEuropa festival). Concerts at the Venice Biennale in association with the Pomo d’Oro ensemble. OdeGand (Festival van Vlaanderen Gent), Het Kanaal (OCEAN WAVES with Kee Yong Chong and Kurt Ralske).

SERATA FUTURISTA with the first performance of new work by Francesco Filidei, as well as music by Tiziano Manca, Salvatore Sciarrino and Giacinto Scelsi.

HERMESensemble Caban

HERMESensemble travelled to the other side of the world at the invitation of the Mona Foma festival in Tasmania (Australia) with performances of work by Wim Henderickx, Joby Talbot, Yan Maresz and others.

The ensemble were invited to Birmingham for the research and programme about Stockhausen, and in Forlí and Prato with HYPERION.

The CONCERTO FOR VIOLIN AND ENSEMBLE that Bram Van Camp and soloist Wibert Aerts composed for the ensemble in 2008 was performed in new versions.

The work LA BELGIQUE MARTYRE was distributed more widely and there were concerts with works by Luc Brewaeys, Daan Janssens and Wim Henderickx.

DO’UN, a new electro-acoustic composition by Mireille Capelle, was released on CD by AudioMER and was presented at various concerts in Venice and Antwerp.

HERMESensemble produced REVELATIONS by Wim Henderickx with Muziektheater Transparant in deSingel, Operadagen Rotterdam and November Music in ’s Hertogenbosch.

Joby Talbot’s successful production THE LODGER was given several final performances to mark its ten-year run, including a performance in the Muziekgebouw aan ’t Ij in Amsterdam.

HERMESensemble started a close collaboration with Opera-Ballet Vlaanderen with the coproduction of REQUIEM, a dance theatre piece with music by Gabriel Fauré and Wim Henderickx1 and a choreography by Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui. The dance theatre production THE HEART OF AUGUST choreographed by Edouard Lock to new music by Gavin Bryars was performed in the autumn season.

The Transit Festival in Leuven opened with work by Francesco Filidei for HERMESensemble as well as works by Luc Brewaeys, Tiziano Manca and the first performance of a new piece by Bart Vanhecke.

HET RAADSEL VAN DE SFINKS, one of the earliest spectral works by Luc Brewaeys, was produced for the Festival of Architecture in deSingel.

With respect to development, in addition to THE TIMES, an annual initiative, collaboration started with SOUNDMINE, the Musica summer course in Neerpelt.

Busiest year so far!

NOCTURAMA was produced jointly with Theater De Spiegel. This is musical theatre for young listeners with new music by Daan Janssens.

THE HEART OF AUGUST by Lock and Bryars was given a sequel in Opera-Ballet Vlaanderen. Working with the same company, HERMESensemble also realized two dance productions: IN YOUR ROOMS by Hofesch Shechter and TWELVE TON ROSE by Trisha Brown using music by Pärt, Górecki, Sharp and Webern. The latter production was premiered in Concertgebouw Brugge.

In EMRUZ the regular members of the ensemble focus on new Iranian music by among others Aftab Darvishi and Alireza Farhang in addition to new work by Jean-Luc Fafchamps, with performances in deSingel and at the Wilde Westen festival in Kortrijk. The social-artistic GO! project was performed several times in the Flagey.

MEVROUW BOB was produced together with Muziektheater De Kolonie, using creations by Mathias Coppens.

The new production HARRIET started in association with Muziektheater Transparant on an international tour of the Netherlands, Mexico, France and the UK, and a childrens’ show called the TORENS VAN BEIROET was produced for het Paleis in Antwerp.

THE TIMES celebrated its tenth edition, and presented a new programme for pre-professional composers called THE TIMES ACADEMY in association with the music conservatoires of Antwerp and Amsterdam.

HYPERION was released on vinyl with the Orpheus Instituut, the CONCERTO FOR VIOLIN AND ENSEMBLE by Bram Van Camp was released on CD on the Explicit! label  (Et’Cetera Records) in addition to CAUGHT IN TREETOPS by Charlotte Bray.

HERMESensemble had the busiest year in its history, with more than 150 concerts both at home and abroad.


HARRIET, TORENS VAN BEIROET, and MEVROUW BOB are further spread in Flanders and the Netherlands. The production for children NOCTURAMA continues its performances in the Netherlands, but also in Luxembourg, France and Norway.

IN THE PENAL COLONY by Philip Glass, based on a story by Franz Kafka and directed by Clara Pons, is produced with Opera Ballet Vlaanderen and performed in Antwerp, Ghent and Rotterdam.

With Musica, a collaboration is started for the SOUNDMINE summer workshop for composers with Wim Henderickx. From now on there is also a collaboration in THE TIMES, the forum for young composers.

Stijn Saveniers conducts AYRE by Osvaldo Golijov with soprano Britt Truyts.

Karin de Fleyt finalizes her research into the forgotten work of Lucien Goethals with a performance of VENSTERS.

Mireille Capelle writes and produces the soundscape BLUE VEIL and premieres it in Palazzo Fortuny in Venice. The entire ensemble performs on the closing day of the Venice Biennale for music in Teatro Goldoni, with works by Wim Henderickx and Annelies Van Parys, and a world creation by Vykantas Baltakas. The concert is later resumed at the Transit Festival in Leuven.

In November, HERMESensemble, conducted by Koen Kessels, creates new electroacoustic work by Daan Janssens and Daniela Fantechi in Concertgebouw Brugge.

At the same time Luc Brewaeys is commemorated by the performance of his series of eight WHISKY WORKS in the Elisabeth Hall and deSingel.

REVELATIONS by Wim Henderickx will be performed in a semi-concert format in Flagey and Het Kanaal, in cooperation with the Flemish Radio Choir.

NOCTURAMA, after almost 200 performances, closes with public performances at the Imaginale Festival in Stuttgart and Mannheim (DE), DEStudio in Antwerp and in Concertgebouw Brugge.

HERMESensemble produces the contemporary ‘fluxus happening’ FOR PER KIRKEBY in Het Kanaal.

After the concerts of THE TIMES and THE TIMES ACADEMY in AMUZ in March, Belgium goes into lockdown.

The ensemble’s 20th anniversary celebrations have to be postponed to better times. HERMESensemble folds back to make recordings with, among others, Jean-Luc Fafchamps and Daan Janssens. In addition a special lockdown version of Terry Riley’s IN C is produced together with Champdactionfor radio Klara. The internet poem 172,9 and TRANSCENDENZA by Mireille Capelle are created.

In December the ensemble streams live recording and work sessions of a new production CHAMBER MUSIC, on poems by James Joyce. Kaat Hellings and Ton van der Meer composed the original material, which was orchestrated for HERMESensemble by Stijn Saveniers.

The first months of 2021 are still overshadowed by corona pandemic.

HERMESensemble, meanwhile, is active on PODIUM 19, VRT’s temporary streaming channel for art and culture: they are realising well-watched performances with an overview programme of Wim Henderickx’s ensemble music and an online performance of REVELATIONS. The music of this production is also released (online and on CD) by Antarctica Records.

The annual composers’ forum THE TIMES also has an online edition.

In March, HERMESensemble and the Oddysseia Ensemble together create the podcast NOBODY IS PERFECT, a set of six short compositions by Luc Brewaeys, published by MATRIX [Centre for New Music].

In autumn – after a one-year delay – the music theatre production of BOY, by director Kyoko Scholiers, premieres with Opera Ballet Vlaanderen. The series is practically sold out.

As part of HERMESensemble’s 21st anniversary, BIOSPHERE 21 is realised at DE SINGEL in October, featuring BALLET MECHANIQUE and DESERTS: masterpieces that the ensemble introduced to the Flemish stages 20 years ago.

In November, in a musical OPEN KITCHEN, HERMESensemble offers a glimpse of the experiments and works that will be developed into full-fledged stage productions in the future.

2022 starts promisingly. THE TIMES gets a relaunch as a Bovenlokaal Cultuurproject, joining forces with Musica Impulscentrum, Centre Henri Pousseur and MATRIX [Centre for New Music] for this purpose.

Performances of BOY continue to run. The performance at Theater aan Zee in July is one of the highlights.

In May, at the invitation of DE SINGEL, HERMESensemble realises staged performances of DAS LIED VON DER ERDE with director Philippe Quesne, in Arnold Schönberg’s arrangement for ensemble.

The final performance of REVELATIONS is played at Wilde Westen (Flanders Festival Kortrijk).

In autumn, the production AURORA ELECTRONICA is performed at the Bijloke (Ghent), DE SINGEL (Antwerp) and TRANSIT Festival (Leuven), among others, with Lichtbogen by Kaija Saariaho and recent work by Daan Janssens and Serge Verstockt.

Meanwhile, the ensemble is once again able to travel. They are well received in Nice with the production CHUCHOTEMENTS BURLESQUES by Iranian composer Alireza Farhang and at the Venice Biennale with the world creation of NOTWEHR by Annelies Van Parys.

The Flemish Government once again greenlights structural subsidies for the HERMESensemble.

In November, an alliance with the young wolves of Nemø ensemble is launched with the double concert MAGNETIC HORIZON.

The year ends with the special podcast BOZE BEJAARDEN, made for Dutch radio station NPOR4.
It is a collaboration with Wunderbaum and Volksopera. The texts are by Gaea Schoeters. Annelies Van Parys signed for the music.

Courtesy La Biennale di Venezia - © Andrea Avezzù