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Flash Forward

Ghent’s Festival of Flanders celebrates its 60th anniversary this year. It is a time for looking back with gratitude—a time to reflect on a tremendous list bulging with illustrious names and little gems, an impressive catalogue of composers and their works, with an audience that we have seen grow and diversify over the years.

But just as important as our past, this anniversary is an opportunity to look towards the future. When it comes to the Ghent Festival, the future is not by any means something we just sit around and wait for! It is in our DNA to relish challenges and embrace the future with open, almost voracious, eyes. Let’s take a Flash Forward!

For this reason we are giving a prominent place to young talent: the youth is our future. It is our mission, our ambition, indeed our duty, to support young musicians, to let them grow and launch from the stage. The Luciano Pavarottis, Herbert von Karajans and Ann-Sophie Mutters of tomorrow are right here in Ghent!

We also go beyond the usual places in search of that talent. The question of how to reflect the richness of our increasingly colourful demography presents another challenge for us. Diversity and sustainability: valuable words that we translate without inhibition onto the stage.

Our view of the future extends further than our artistic outlook. Technology and science also play a pioneering role in social change.How will technology, science and music influence each other? Will they develop side-by-side for the most part, facilitating one another, or will one advance more quickly than the other? will they challenge each other or slow each other down? We want to research and analyse, experiment and stimulate.

So you see, the Ghent Festival embraces the future full of confidence and curiosity. Even more reason to celebrate in style.
With a party on stage, in the presence of the world’s top musicians;
with a party behind the scenes, for our network of young and dedicated people who are pushing back the boundaries; and a party in front of the stage, with you, our audience, you who come back year after year to celebrate with us.

Flash Forward to an incredible musical future!

Veerle Simoens,
Artistic director
Ghent Festival of Flanders