Les Muffatti & Bart Jacobs

Biography Les Muffatti & Bart Jacobs

Les Muffatti
came into being to satisfy the need felt by several young Brussels musicians — with an eye to performing Baroque orchestral repertoire — to establish a professional working environment where the basic pleasure of music-making, the refinement of skills, and the investigation of content could be equably combined. Their enthusiasm, application and idealism resonated with Baroque specialist Peter van Heyghen, who joined the ensemble as permanent coach and conductor. They presented their debut concert in Brussels in 2004, and have since performed in Belgium, The Netherlands, France, Germany, Italy and Portugal. They have appeared numerous times in the Concertgebouw in Bruges, at the Musica Sacra festival in Maastricht, and at the renowned Early Music festivals in Bruges and Utrecht. Between 2007 and 2009 they will be one of the ensembles in residence at the Augustinus Music Centre in Antwerpen.

The ensemble's name refers to the cosmopolitan composer Georg Muffat (1653-1704), a key figure in the orchestra's history, and one of the first writers to describe in detail the great stylistic differences between French and Italian Baroque music. Les Muffatti's first recording was devoted to the works of this composer.

The central element of Les Muffatti's performance practice is their permanent endeavour to perfect a musical approach grafted to the inherent theatricality so elemental to Baroque art. This goal — one reaching much further than simply the correct performance of a score — is based on the conviction that this highly affective and rhetorical form of communication is not only typical of the Baroque, but is essentially universal in character. A thorough knowledge of style, appropriate playing techniques and a carefully assembled instrumentarium allow Les Muffatti to continually entertain, move and convince modern audiences with historic repertoire.

Bart Jacobs
(1976) studied organ with Reitze Smits and harpsichord and basso continuo with Kris Verhelst at the Lemmens Institute in Louvain (Leuven), Belgium. He completed his Masters Degree for organ with summa cum laude in 2000. In 2002 he obtained his Masters Degree for harpsichord with magna cum laude and was awarded his Organ Specialization Degree with the same distinction. ​

In 2000 he was appointed organist of the Brussels cathedral choir with which he has recorded a variety of works for organ and choir, including the complete organ works of August De Boeck and Lodewijk De Vocht. ​

Between 2006 and 2010 he was awarded prizes in no less than four international organ competitions: ​

In 2006: Fourth prize and Listeners’ prize at the International Musica Antiqua Organ Competition, Bruges (Belgium).

In 2008: Finalist of the Max Reger Organ Competition, Leeuwaarden (The Netherlands).

In 2009: First prize at the Schnitger Competition, Alkmaar (The Netherlands), distinguished for his “diversity of interpretation and great musicality”. He is the first Belgian musician ever to have received this prize.

In 2010: Third prize at the International Sweelinck Competition, Amsterdam (The Netherlands).

In 2012 he was appointed titular organist at the cathedral of Saint Michael and Saint Gudula in Brussels.

Bart Jacobs is organist of the ensemble Vox Luminis and the baroque orchestra Les Muffatti. With this orchestra he regularly performs his own reconstructions of concerti for organ and strings by J. S. Bach, recorded in 2019 for the label Ramée

As organist and harpsichordist, Bart Jacobs is much in demand as continuo player. He has taken part in concerts throughout Europe and collaborated in numerous recordings with various renowned ensembles including Les Muffatti, Vox Luminis, Currende, Il Gardelino, Ricercar consort, BachPlus, Psallentes, Hathor consort, Collegium Ad Mosam, …

His impressive discography includes performances on both harpsichord and organ. His debut solo albums, featuring organ works of Bach’s best students (2013) and Early organ works and Sinfonias of J. S. Bach (2015) has been enthusiastically received at home and abroad.. The cd Ein Fest Burg ist unser Gott (2016) for the Ricercar-label with works for organ and choir with the ensemble Vox Luminis received prizes as “CHOC de Classica 2017”, “Diapson 5”, “Gramophone Editors Choice 2017”and “ffff de Télérama”. In 2018 he recorded the complete Clavier-Übung III of J. S. Bach and his own reconstructions of concerti for organ and strings by J. S. Bach for the label Ramée.

He has also cooperated on All of Bach www.allofbach.com, where he can be seen and heard interpreting Bach on the organ and harpsichord.

Bart Jacobs is co-founder of the Vlaamse Klavecimbel Vereniging (2006), (the Flemish Harpsichord Society), which aims to enlarge the public’s interest in the harpsichord by organizing annual Harpsichord Days, workshops and public master classes. As teacher of organ and harpsichord, Bart Jacobs is attached to the Academy for Music, Drama and Dance in Bornem (Antwerp).

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