Happy birthday to you, happy birthday to you, happy birthday dear Flagey, happy birthday to you! (I hope you sang along just now :)) The former radio broadcasting building turned cultural center, Flagey, is marking its 75th anniversary this year, and to celebrate is having a party this week.
Built in 1938 by Belgian architect Joseph Diongre, Flagey was originally the home of the National Institute for Radio Broadcasting and one of the first broadcasting buildings in Europe. It’s an impressive landmark nestled between Place Flagey and the Ixelles Ponds, and if you use your imagination, looks a little bit like a steamboat. The studios, especially Studio 4, have amazing acoustics and have hosted numerous concerts and recordings over the decades. Renovated in 2002, this art deco building now serves as a venue for all types of musical performances, film showings and other cultural events. I’ve been to a few classical and jazz concerts at Flagey over the years and always enjoyed the intimate setting of the studios.
Over the next four days, a special “Flagey 75” program will feature classical, jazz and big band music to celebrate this golden anniversary. Things kick off tonight with pianist Till Fellner exploring the 19th century with Robert Schumann and continue tomorrow with a performance by Musiques Nouvelles. On Friday, the Brussels Philharmonic will go back to Gatsby’s roaring twenties with ragtime and jazz from Shostakovich, Gershwin & Stravinksy. Then on Saturday evening the Matthew Herbert Big Band will get things swinging around 8pm, followed by an after party hosted by Radio Modern.
The anniversary year at Flagey continues with the Musiq3 Festival during the last weekend of June, the KlaraFestival in September and finally in December, a series of concerts around the “Voice”. The venue will also host some unique film screenings throughout the coming months, including an original documentary Phantom of Flagey featuring archival audio-visual material on 15 March.
Tickets for the concerts this week range between €20 and €35 (discounts for students) and can be bought online or at the door. If you happen to have a BNP Paribas Fortis card, you get a discount of 30% off all music productions at Flagey (except some of the festivals).
So here’s to you Flagey – happy birthday and many more!
Images via Flagey and Agenda Magazine.