Obituary: Belgian Composer Philippe Boesmans Dies, Aged 85

By Logan Martell

On April 10, 2022, Belgian composer Philippe Boesmans passed away at the age of 85.

Born in Tongeren, Boesmans studied piano at the conservatory in Liege, and was introduced to composition by Pierre Froidebise. He played with the Ensemble Musique Nouvelle, and in 1962, became a producer at the Radio Television Belge de la Communaute Francaise.

He was a longtime collaborator with La Monnaie, where he was an artist-in-residence under general directors Gerard Mortier, Bernard Foccroulle, and Peter de Caluwe. His first opera, “La Passion de Gilles,” was commissioned by La Monnaie and premiered in 1983, marking the beginning of their partnership. Subsequent works include “Reigen,” “Wintermarchen,” and “Julie.”

His most recent work, “On purge bebe,” based on Feydeau’s farce of the same name, will be finished and presented in December of this year under director and librettist Richard Brunel.

“We want to remember Philippe for his humanism, his humour and his generosity,” Caluwe said in an official statement. “He was always a welcome guest at our Theatre and an essential support for our house. His artistic contribution to La Monnaie and to contemporary opera is invaluable. He was a trusted voice for three successive directors of La Monnaie and was always ready to give constructive comments on our programming, for which he repeatedly made original suggestions. His opinion mattered, as a friend and as a professional, and will be greatly missed.”