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As it so happens, Monsieur Croche is Claude Debussy! Or at least Debussy’s nom de plume for when he wrote music critiques. We want to celebrate his life, his music and French music from his time. Our first edition took place in 2018 to mark the 100th anniversary of his passing. We will continue doing him homage in our own way by organizing a multi-event project that will bear his name, Monsieur Croche.

Monsieur Croche’s Series of Concert & Masterclasses has an easy concept: we organise concerts, each focusing on one influential French composer from the 19th and 20th centuries, each taking place in a unique location in Antwerp. And on top of that there are also masterclasses.

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Monsieur Croche aims to bring French classical music to a broad public in an approachable, engaging, and unique way. Each concert is a one-of-a-kind, as it tells the story of one specific composer. Monsieur Croche produces interdisciplinary performances of music together with visual art, literature, dance, and fashion. We include musicians from diverse ages, genders, and cultures – inviting celebrated performers to perform on the same stage with emerging artists. We believe in true connection with our audience through meaningful musical experiences. Social impact is important for us as we engage young talents through free masterclasses and children through narrated concerts. We also offered digital concert to retirement homes during the COVID-19 lockdowns.

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During our masterclasses, young pianists are able to play in front of audience, providing them with an experience of live performance. Afterwards the artist/professor gives them a lesson in public and work with them on the performance of the piece. The main goal of the lesson is to communicate with the students on interpretative ideas, improve their playing technique and inspire them. During the masterclasses, the audience is in fact attending a lesson as “passive participants”.

How are these masterclasses different?

The students don’t pay! Monsieur Croche believes that young musicians should be given an opportunity to develop their talent based on their motivation, ambition and hard work and not based on their financial abilities. We are doing our utmost best to fund our project through different channels such as ticket sales, fundraising events etc.

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Tal Walker is a concert pianist from Israel who performs internationally. He graduated with a master from the Royal Conservatoire of Antwerp with high distinction and studied at the Ecole Normale de Musique de Paris – Alfred Cortot. He won the 3rd prize winner at the Osaka international music competition (Japan), and has been selected as artist in residency at the Banff Centre (Canada) and Villa Lena (Italy). Tal is currently perusing his doctorate studies at the Royal College of Music in London, where he was awarded RCM’s bursary. Tal is Monsieur Croche’s artistic director and, lucky for us, he will perform in all of the concerts.

Gabriel Nahoum is a performing arts aficionado who works in technical production in the theatrical venue Les Halles de Schaerbeek (Brussels) and collaborates regularly with the performing arts company Loop-s (Belgium). He holds masters in Arts & Heritage (Maastricht University, Netherlands) and in Management (Edhec Business School, France). He has worked for various organisations such as Lille’s European Film Festival (France) and the Fashionclash Festival (Netherlands). Gabriel is Monsieur Croche’s producer and, as such, crunched all the numbers!

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