Toon Fret (Flautist)
Chairman of our jury, Toon Fret studied flute in Brussels, Maastricht, Paris and Basel with M. Lefèvre, I. Ribera, P.L. Graf and B. Kuijken, among others. After his studies, he became increasingly active as a soloist, both at home and abroad. Several of these concerts were broadcast live and took place in the major venues with professional orchestras. He gained fame as flutist of and driving force behind the ensemble Oxalys. He also plays in the baroque ensemble Atys and various other ensembles. As a chamber musician, he has performed all over Europe at the most important festivals and venues. With Oxalys, he toured in America, Japan and China. Toon Fret teaches chamber music at the Royal Flemish Music Conservatory in Antwerp and at the Conservatoire Royal de Musique de Liège.
Eliane Rodrigues (Piano)
Born in Rio de Janeiro, Eliane Rodrigues was quickly identified to be a musical child prodigy.
At the age of three she started composing before she could read or write. By the age of seven her compositions had resulted in two piano methods. She played her first recital at the age of five and made her first TV appearance a year later in which she played Haydn's Piano Concerto in D major with the Orquestra Sinfonica Nacional. Just a year later she played Mozart's Piano Concerto No. 23 in A major (K. 488), once again with the National Symphony Orchestra. At the age of 18 Eliane moved to Belgium. She won first place in many national competitions and reached fifth place in the Queen Elisabeth Competition in 1983. Today Elaine is a professor at the Royal Conservatoire of Antwerp. She has recorded over 25 CDs, including Sergey Prokofiev's five piano concertos and all eight Beethoven piano concertos. In recent years Elaine has released several new albums, on Naxos, iTunes, Amazon and Spotify.
FILIP NEYENS (Bassoon)
Filip Neyens was born in 1976 in Neerpelt. He became fascinated with the sound of the bassoon at an early age and began classes with Raymond Melis at the age of nine. In 1994, he became a laureate two competitions, including 'Purmerade', the international competition for young soloists in NL. He continued his musical education at the Lemmens Institute and the Conservatory of Maastricht (NL). He joined the Vlaamse Opera in 2001. In 2007, Filip switched to the National Orchestra of Belgium, where he still is today. Besides many performances with his own orchestra, Filip regularly works other (chamber) orchestras and ensembles, including the Symphony Orchestra Flanders, the Belgian Chamber Philharmonic, and Oxalys, etc. Filip is part of the ensemble Emanon, the Soffio-Quintet and the Bassoon Quartet Phenix.
Greet Van ‘t Veld (Musicologist)
Musicologist, Greet Van ‘t veld explored her passion for music first at the Antwerp Royal Conservatory, then during musicologist studies at Leuven University and at the Leuven Lemmens Institute. Her intrigue for music and word showed manifestly during her studies, and further blossomed throughout her career as a writer on classical music in many publications. Greet currently combines her two passions – language and music – programming and concept developing for national classical radio Klara. She participates in the making of cd’s, makes interviews and writes concert- and CD-reviews in Knack. Greet Van ‘t Veld was recently appointed onto the board of directors of Young Belgian Talent vzw, in the role of Artistic Director.
Harley Lovegrove (Founding Director - YBT)
Brought up in an artistic family in South East London, music became an essential part of Harley's early childhood. After leaving secondary school, he attended The Blackheath Conservatoire of Music to study classical guitar and composition. But his studies were short lived, switching to a career in the commercial world. However, music (and the technology required to enjoy it at home) remained a life-long passion.
Today, Harley focuses much of his time on YBT; coaching and supporting our young musicians; making high quality audio recordings and generally helping out where he can. His other interests include; presenting video lectures on all topics connected with music and HiFi, and going on road trips in his 1966 MG sports car. Harley's the author of four books: Making a Difference, Inspirational Leadership, Transition, and The Change Manager's Handbook.
Laurent Graulus (Radio producer – RTBF Musiq’3 )
Laurent Graulus was born amidst music, his mother being a piano teacher and his father a passionate follower of the classical repertoire. From an early age, Laurent studied trumpet and later joined IAD in Louvain-La-Neuve, where he studied sound engineering. In the late 1980s, Laurent started working at RTBF Musiq'3 as a specialist in classical music recordings. He continued his studies in jazz trumpet at the Royal Conservatory of Brussels. After 20 years in the sound engineering department of Musiq 3, Laurent switched to radio production. Today he is responsible for promoting young talent in RTBF Musiq'3 and is the producer and host of the weekly programme 'Puisque vous avez du talent', a programme entirely dedicated to young talent.
Marjan Helraeth (Impresario )
For as long as she can remember, music has always played an important role in Marjan Hellraeth's life. As a young mother with five children, Marjan had the idea of organising house concerts. From her original idea in 2003, 'MUSICA ET POETICA' has grown into one of the most important outlets for young classical musicians in Flanders. With nine venues and a full programme each year, hundreds of people can enjoy an eclectic mix of extraordinary talent (including the winners of 'YBT') performing everything from Baroque to 21st century realism, in the heart of their living rooms. Today, Marjan runs 'AULOS' her arts management company, connecting artists with an impressive national and international network and providing them with the management support they need to bring their creative ideas to life
Rik Gesquiere (Trumpet and Conductor)
Rik began his training in 1980 at the Lemmens Institute in Leuven (Belgium) and graduated as a trumpet and chamber music laureate in 1985 with the highest distinction. In 1987, he obtained the Higher Diploma for trumpet at the Conservatory of Ghent. From 1997, Rik studied at the Brussels Conservatoire where he obtained his diploma in HaFaBra conducting in 1999. He deepened his training by following orchestral conducting classes with Lucas Vis and Frank Shipway. Rik Ghesquière has been a member of the the Brussels Philharmonic since 1985. Since 1997 he has been orienting himself mainly towards conducting. He studied orchestral conducting with Norbert Nozy, Lucas Vis and Frank Shipway. In 2000, his studies culminated in the much-coveted diploma in orchestral conducting that had not been awarded by the Brussels Conservatoire since 1988. Rik is regularly in demand as a guest conductor with various orchestras. Within the framework of Europalia Japan 1988, he was appointed by "Jeugd en Muziek" as coach for the brass players, and conducted them in the Tokyo Embassy. His qualities as an inspiring conductor are regularly noticed at various major festivals.
Sarah Bayens (Violinist)
Sarah Bayens, 21, (Winner YBT, 2018) started playing the violin when she was 5 years old, studying with Koen Rens in Turnhout until she entered the ‘Conservatoire Royal de Bruxelles’, under Shirly Laub, in 2017. She has played in many chamber music ensembles, including the Aleydis Quartet, with which she had masterclasses from great musicians such as Guy Danel, the Prazak Quartet and Jeremy Menuhin, to name but three. Sarah also plays concerts with the Belgium-based Alfama Quartet and other groups such as Trio Fénix. Sarah Bayens was also concertmaster for a period of 2 years with the Youth Orchestra Flanders and has played with the Brussels Philharmonic, recently winning a place in the Orchestra Academy of the ‘Orchestre de la Monnaie’ and the Belgian National Orchestra.
Sophie Hallynck (Harp)
Sophie has been playing the harp and other instruments since the age of 6. She later went on to study with Francette Bartholomée, professor at the Conservatoire de musique de Bruxelles, where she obtained the highest distinction in harp and chamber music. Later she studied at the Conservatoire National Supérieur de Musique de Paris. Laureate of the Belgian Vocation Foundation, her interest in contemporary music and creation is expressed in a permanent cooperation with specialised ensembles such as United instruments of Lucilin, Musique nouvelle and Ictus. She was rewarded with the Pelemans Prize in 1996. Today, Sophie is a professor at the Royal Flemish Conservatory in Antwerp and opens a harp class at the IMEP (Institut Supérieur de musique et de pédagogie) in Namur. Frequently in demand, Sophie performs as a soloist with numerous orchestras: Collegium Brugense, Prima la Musica, Orchestre de Chambre de Wallonie, Chamber Orchestra of St. Petersburg, the Flemish Symphony Orchestra, Young Philharmonic, Opéra Royal de Wallonie, I Fiamminghi, De Filharmonie...
Kurt Bertels (Saxophonist & Doctor of Arts)
Dr. Kurt Bertels is a classical saxophonist and doctor of arts who performs both in Belgium and abroad as soloist an as a member of the Kugoni Trio, Anemos Saxophone Quartet and Duo Eolienne. Bertels has participated in national and international CD, radio, and television recordings. As a researcher at KU Leuven's LUCA School of Arts his particular field of research is 19th-century saxophone performance practice. He released various CDs with 19th-century Belgian saxophone music including The Saxophone in 19th-Century Brussels and Works for Saxophone and orchestra by Paul Gilson. His 'Een ongehoord geluid', a monograph on the saxophone in 19th-century Brussels, was published in 2020. In 2022, he became member of the editorial board of the scientific saxophone journal The Saxophone Symposium (US). Kurt Bertels is an elected member (2021-2026) of the Young Academy of Belgium (Flanders).