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Henry Le Boeuf hall back in business after fire at Bozar

15:25 27/04/2021

Bozar’s Henry Le Boeuf hall is back open following the devastating fire that destroyed part of the roof of the Brussels arts centre early this year. The Belgian National Orchestra will be the first to take the stage, which it will do tomorrow for a rehearsal.

A fire broke out in Bozar’s roof on 18 January, damaging not just the roof of the historical building but also part of the concert hall. The second balcony in particular suffered damage as did the nearly new organ – which had to be dismantled and removed. There was also water damage from fire hoses.

Some of Bozar’s exhibition spaces opened quickly after the fire, having experienced little damage, but Victor Horta’s beautiful concert hall required extensive repairs to infrastructure as well as technical installations.

“Some of the scars of the fire are still visible, particularly in the second balcony,” said Bozar in a statement. “But the concert hall is now fully safe and completely operational.”

No public quite yet

Temporary roofing structures have been placed, and an assessment is now underway to plan the permanent repair of the roof. Works will begin sometime this year.

As for the organ, it is being dismantled with a view to a complete reconstruction. The organ was only installed in the hall in 2017 – a long-awaited replacement for the Henry Le Boeuf hall’s original organ, which was also, ironically, damaged by fire in the 1960s.

Bozar’s resident orchestra, the Belgian National Orchestra, will now be able to rehearse and perform its next concert in the hall. The programme of works by Korngold, Haydn and Kodaly, featuring Latvian violinist Baiba Skride, will be recorded in the hall and released to the public on 19 May.

The Henry Le Boeuf hall will also host the annual Queen Elisabeth Competition in May. The competition – for pianists this year – will not be open to the public, but will be livestreamed as well as broadcast live by several TV and radio stations.

Photo courtesy Bozar


Written by Lisa Bradshaw