Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra Amsterdam
Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra Amsterdam

Jan Raes

Managing Director

Born in 1959, Jan Raes studied at the State University of Ghent and the Antwerp Conservatory, where he was awarded first prize in chamber music and in music history, and earned a Soloist’s degree in flute. His musical career has included solo performances, chamber music concerts and recordings, besides performances in orchestras such as the Royal Flemish Philharmonic (now Antwerp Symphony Orchestra) and La Monnaie Symphony Orchestra. For many years he has taught at a number of music schools. From 1983 to 1986, he served as chairman of the Youth and Music Orchestra of Antwerp..

Raes assumed a teaching position at the Royal Flemish Conservatory of Antwerp in 1984, going on to hold the post of cultural coordinator and, from 1997, that of artistic director. While at the Antwerp Conservatory, he pioneered a range of projects, co-founding the Society of Friends, the Conservatory Foundation, the periodical Forum, and the Flanders Opera Studio, as well as heading the KBC Aquarius project.

Jan-Raes (© Marco Borggreve)

In 2000, he was appointed as crisis manager and later intendant of the Royal Flemish Philharmonic. Together with conductor Philippe Herreweghe, Raes played a key role in kick-starting the initiative to renovate Antwerp’s Elisabeth Hall. He chaired the jury of the KBC Muziekprijs Gouden Vleugels (KBC Golden Wings Music Prize) from 2003 to 2009.

From 2004 to 2008, Raes served as managing director of the Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra and the Gergiev Festival. During his tenure, he appointed the Canadian conductor Yannick Nézet-Séguin as its new principal conductor.

Raes has held the position of managing director of the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra in Amsterdam since December 2008. On the occasion of its 125th anniversary, on Raes’s initiative and under his leadership, the orchestra embarked in 2013 on a world tour of six continents – the first orchestra ever to do so. To celebrate poyphony and to enable the orchestra to share its knowledge and experience with younger musicians, from 2016 up to and including 2018 the orchestra will visit all 28 member states of the European Union (RCO meets Europe), performing one work Side by Side with a local youth orchestra.

At the beginning of 2010, he was named cultural manager of the year in Flemish-speaking Belgium. Together with Mariss Jansons, chief conductor of the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, Raes was awarded the IJ-Prize in November 2012.

Raes chaired the artistic advisory board of the Antwerp Conservatory until the end of 2014, and is currently a member of the Nexus Institute’s advisory board, the advisory board of the Conservatorium van Amsterdam’s supervisory board, the supervisory board of Amsterdam Marketing, and the Platform for Ambassadors in Music Education.
Raes, together with Mariss Jansons, chief conductor of the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, was awarded the IJ Prize in November 2012.

Raes chaired the artistic advisory board of the Antwerp Conservatory until the end of 2014, and is currently a member of the Nexus Institute’s advisory board, the advisory board of the Conservatorium van Amsterdam’s supervisory board, the supervisory board of Amsterdam Marketing, and the Platform for Ambassadors in Music Education.

On 15 April 2014, the hereditary title of Baron was conferred on him. On 15 november 2016 he was given the title 'Maestro Honoris Causa' 2016 by the Royal Conservatoire of Antwerp.

Publications

2000: editor and compiler of Prometheus zoekt Aquarius, reflecties over creatief muziekonderwijs (Prometheus Seeks Aquarius: Reflections on Creative Music Education), published by the music publisher Alamire, ISBN 90 6853 146 8.

2009: Forum annual lecture, Vruchtbare onzuiverheid – Interculturaliteit in de westerse muziek (Fruitful Impurity: Interculturality in Western Music), published by Forum, ISBN/EAN: 978 94 90479 03 9.

2009: contribution to De keuze van Janine Jansen, 22 prominenten over hun mooiste klassieke muziekstukken aller tijden (Janine Jansen’s Selection: Twenty-two Leading Lights on the Most Beautiful Pieces of Music of All Time), published by Nieuw Amsterdam, ISBN 978 90 468 0663 0.

2009 Forum Annual Lecture "Vruchtbare onzuiverheid - Interculturaliteit in de westerse muziek", published by Forum, ISBN/EAN: 978 94 90479 03 9.

2013: contribution to Europa 2050, visies voor een betere toekomst (Europe 2050: Visions for a Better Future), Saïd El Khadraoui, ed., published by Houtekiet, ISBN 978 9098 242 556.

2013: co-author of Toonaangevend – wat bedrijven kunnen leren van het Concertgebouworkest, een toprestaurant en een rugbyploeg (At the Forefront: What Businesses Can Learn from the Concertgebouw Orchestra, a Top Restaurant and a Rugby Team), published by Lannoo, ISBN 978 94 014 0693 2 – NUR 801.

2016: Co-author Iconic – get inspired by iconic organizations, LID Publishing, ISBN 987 1910 649763