- Daily & Weekly newsletters
- Buy & download The Bulletin
- Comment on our articles
Klarafestival Box: the smallest concert hall in the world welcomes visitors at Flagey
Brussels is offering people in the city a unique and free experience this month, a short up-close-and-personal live classical music performance in a transparent box just big enough to fit a grand piano and three people.
Barely 15m² and constructed entirely out of glass, the smallest concert hall in the world is the brainchild of the annual classical music Klarafestival, taking place in Brussels and Flanders until 30 March. It will sit in a popular hot spot, out amidst the buzzing cafe society in front of the Art Deco Flagey building. This is an area which attracts a diverse social and ethnic mix of locals and international residents, visitors, workers and students from the nearby schools of architecture and film.
Sophie Detremmerie, managing director at Klarafestival, hopes the look and the location of the glass house will inspire interest. “We want to get classical music out of the temples of culture and closer to new audiences of people who are not familiar with it. We really liked the idea that you could have a short and intimate full blown classical experience for free, and have some personal access to the performer. But we’ve never put a musician into a small container before,” she says with a nervous laugh.
Over a hundred performances are scheduled over the course of six separate days. The line-up includes internationally renowned stars and up and coming Belgian musicians. But who you get tickling the ivories of the grand piano, and whether there will be an accompaniment, will remain a last minute surprise.
Each performance will last ten minutes, with time at the end to speak to the musicians. “Classical music is too often seen as being aloof so I think having that chat at the end and personal connection with the performers is very important, to know that they are not far away and untouchable. And the musicians themselves are really enthusiastic about it,” says Detremmerie.
Seats need to be reserved online in advance as each concert will only take place for a maximum of three people. However, to keep the experience intimate, people won’t be expected to squash up with strangers - you can book a concert entirely for yourself. “We toyed with the idea of bringing it to a slightly wider audience by placing speakers outside the container,” says Detremmerie, “But in the end we felt this would distract from keeping it a really intimate experience. If you are sitting inside and there are speakers outside, it becomes more like a zoo,” she adds.
Detremmerie is slightly apprehensive about how it will all actually sound. “There’s a lot of glass all around, so there will be a wooden floor and carpets to help the acoustics, but I have no idea how it will turn out,” she says. If successful, the plan is to relocate the box to squares in other parts of the city.
- When: 15 minute intervals from 17.00 to 22.45 on March 10, 12, 14, 20, 21 & 22
- Where: Place Sainte-Croix, 1050 Brussels
- How: Reserve online here
- What else: Free, and wheelchair friendly