B U I L D I N G  B R I D G E S

                                          Building Bridges, founded by Korneel Le Compte and Haruko Tanabe, is an organization that endeavours to bring classical and other styles of music nearer to audiences of all kinds. 

Contrary to most classical concerts where there is little or no communication between players and listeners, we try to bring music, performer and listener closer together thereby creating a deeper communication and a more elevating experience for everybody involved. 

From concerts in "appropriate" settings to street performances or playing for the disabled, we always strive towards artistic excellence in everything we do, but we are only satisfied when we succeed in sending the audience home with the feeling they have experienced something warm and beautiful.

Building Bridges は、クラシック音楽を含めた色々なジャンルの音楽を、幅広い層のお客様にお届けする為にコルネル ルコント と田辺晴子によって創立された非営利団体です。

Building Bridges, een vzw opgericht door Korneel Le Compte en Haruko Tanabe, is een organisatie die de betrachting heeft om klassieke en andere muziek dichter bij allerhande publieksgroepen te brengen. 

In tegenstelling tot de meeste klassieke concerten, waar er weinig of geen communicatie is tussen musici en toehoorder, trachten wij muziek, musicus en luisteraar dichter bijeen te krijgen zodat er een diepere communicatie en een meer verheffende ervaring ontstaat voor alle betrokkenen. 

Van concerten op “conventionele” concertlocaties tot straatoptredens of concerten voor anders-validen, telkens weer streven we niet alleen naar artistieke uitmuntendheid in alles wat we doen, maar we zijn pas echt tevreden als we erin slagen de luisteraars naar huis te sturen met het gevoel dat ze iets warms en iets moois hebben meegemaakt.

Building Bridges, une asbl fondée par Korneel Le Compte et Haruko Tanabe, est une organization qui a pour but d’emmener la musique classique (et autre) plus près de toutes sortes de public.

Contrairement à la plupart des concerts classiques où il n’y a pas ou très peu de communication entre artiste et auditeur, nous essayons de rapprocher musique, musiciens et auditeur et de créer ainsi une communication plus profonde et une expérience plus transcendente pour tous. 

Du concert dans un endroit “approprié” aux spectacles de rue, en passant par les concerts pour les malades et les prisoniers, non seulement nous visons toujours la plus haute qualité artistique mais nous ne sommes satisfaits que quand nous pouvons quitter un public qui a vécu quelque chose de beau et de chaleureux.
vzw Building Bridges asbl


An interview with Korneel Le Compte of asbl/vzw Building Bridges.

Q : Mr. Le Compte, you are known as a musician, notably as solo bass player in opera (La Monnaie) and in ancient music. What is "Building Bridges" and how did it start?

LC : Well, there were two or three starting points. First of all, in spite of a long career in music, i have never stopped studying and trying to improve. In the last few decades i have regularly returned to formal music studies for several reasons. One reason is personal growth, trying to serve music better, trying to learn more. Another reason is: continually comparing myself to the artistic level of today and staying in contact with what is happening. It's important always to be aware of the evolutions in your chosen field of activity and to try and keep up with what is new or better than before.

My last diploma was in Historical Double Bass and Violone, in 2005, and i must say that those recent years of study have been a real eye-opener for me. It has also brought me the conviction that "modern" classical musicians are missing out on an enormous part of the musical experience, and i have tried to find why this is the case and what can be done to build a bridge between, for instance, musicologial research and the day-to-day reality of the working musician. That was one starting point.

Q : But there were other points as well?

LC : Yes. Being part of a big orchestra is a fantastic experience, but after a few concerts with period ensembles such as Il Gardellino or Les Musiciens du Louvre, i realised that there are many different ways to make music. Of course i had played plenty of chamber music and solo recitals before, but this was a totally different look at music, it was a completely different way of playing, of understanding music, and also of communicating with an audience.

In order to be able to enjoy this newfound musical richness, my partner Haruko Tanabe (who is not only an accomplished violinist but also a specialist of the Viola d'Amore) and i began a Duo, called Sweet 17.

Q : Sweet 17? That doesn't sound very classical, does it? Where did that name come from?

LC : It can be hard to find a name, sometimes. We definitely didn't want a name that is an Italian musical term, you know, something like "Duo Allegro" or "ensemble Con Eleganza" or something like that.

Also, we wanted a name that people could remember, if they heard it just once. And then, out of desperation, we just counted the number of strings we had on our instruments: seventeen. And we remembered that Leopold Mozart had written "of all the string instruments, the viola d'amore is the sweetest" or words to that effect. Et voilà, Sweet 17 was born.

Q : Then what happened?

Well, instead of waiting till the concerts came to us, we went the other way round, and we started to play for free. In the street, in bars, in art galleries, even in a boutique or at a hairdresser's, or for the underprivileged.

It struck me that this too was a kind of bridge: a totally different way of communicating with an audience, reaching people who didn't usually listen to classical music. You know, when you're in the opera pit, there is zero communication with the public. When i'm on stage in Bozar, there are a hundred people in the orchestra and two thousand in the hall, but there is no contact except through the music. When we play in a small gallery, the people are so close that they can actually touch the instruments. In such an atmosphere you play very very differently.

So this was a second bridge.

Then, you may remember, last year in March there was this enormous disaster in Japan. Now, as so many people in the world, i just wished i could do something. Through Haruko, who is from Japan, i heard about people and organizations such as Act for Japan, and we decided to try and do something in our own limited way. We had been busy as a duo for a short while, and we decided to play any charity concert we could. And so this was yet another bridge.

Q : And then you went to conservatory again, if i understand?

LC : That's right. One day in June i was at the conservatory, accompanying some exams for the students of the Ancient Music Department. They often need a bass or violone player, and there are not enough baroque bass students so i like to help them out if i can. As i was practicing in the hallway, the director passed by and asked me if i would be interested in doing a doctorate at the conservatory. Since at that time we were quite busy doing charity and street concerts, i jokingly answered, sure, if i can make a doctorate about playing in the street. And he actually took me up on it.

Q : So, that is going to be your doctorate? Street Music?

LC : Well, it was one of those moments when things suddenly fall into place. All these bridges had been there, in my mind, but i had never really connected the dots. And all of a sudden i started to see connections and possibilities. There are so many bridges to be found. The ones i mentioned, but also for instance between violin maker and player. Between composer and player. Between teacher and student. I mean, there's a lot of things that can be researched and improved in the field of music.

Q: Can you give some examples?

LC : Right now i'm working with luthiers on hybrid instruments that can be used with 4,5 or 6 strings and that have detachable or changeable parts, i'm also working with a bow maker on bass bows that will allow different bow holds, with Haruko we're preparing new, practical editions of some old music with respect for the original text, we have also formed a new chamber music group: "Per Questa Bella Mano"...

And in order to give a structure to all that we have formed an asbl/vzw, called Building Bridges, that will allow us to bring classical music to an audience in a different way.

Q : What different way?

LC : There are many ways to bring music. I think the traditional classical concert, as a kind of ritual or institution, with a hundred people in funny, uncomfortable, distance-creating clothes sitting on a stage, and a few thousand people far away in a dark hall, who are supposed to be full of admiration for what is happening, i think this kind of setting has had its time. Sure enough it will continue for another few decades, but there are other ways to reach an audience and there are ways to reach another kind of audience. The world is big enough for a little variety in the musical diet. We are not the only musicians who are trying to do it differently. We didn't invent anything. But we think that in this day and age there is a need for a better way of bringing music closer to the public.

Building Bridges は、観客の立場になってクラシック音楽のコンサートを作り上げる目的でできた、npo です。

その名前の如く、観客、演奏家、楽器制作者、音楽学、クラシック音楽, 古楽等の間にをかけ、それぞれの立場から納得のいく、新しい形の音楽の形を心がけています。詳しくは、コルネルのインタビューを お読みください。 

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