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What’s on: 9-15 November

20:10 08/11/2018
Our top picks of cultural events and activities in and around Brussels

Though you might not be able to imagine a world without hip-hop, it wasn’t so long ago that it didn’t exist. It was developed through innovation in music, a process that has taken place since cave people hit stones with sticks. ‘Unheard’ is the theme of this year’s Ars Musica festival, which looks at the innovations in classical music that changed everything. Sometimes this was because of new technologies in instrument making, but sometimes it was because a composer, or group of composers, needed to invent a new way to express themselves. Just as they did in the Bronx. 9 November to 2 December, across Brussels and Wallonia

While Armistice Day is always poignant in Belgium – home to so much of the Western Front – this year is extra special. There are events across the country to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the end of the First World War. 9-11 November, across Belgium

Following the Paris attacks of 2015, Brussels’ Theatre National decided to produce Belgium’s first production of the ‘song play’ I Was Looking at the Ceiling and then I Saw the Sky, the musical/opera hybrid by American composer John Adams and poet June Jordan focusing on the earthquake that altered many lives in Los Angeles in 1994. It’s being performed in the original English. 9-13 November, Theatre National, Boulevard Émile Jacqmain 111

Bozar Night

One of Brussels’ most popular venues throws its most popular annual party: Bozar Night gives you seven hours of techno, house and adventurous ambient right in its exhibition halls. Visit one (or more) of five of the fine arts centre’s temporary exhibitions – choose the sublime Baroque brushstrokes of Theodoor van Loon, for instance, or the unsettling black-and-white stills from the work of French filmmaker Chris Marker – while moving to the beat(s). Following that, shake it into the wee hours with electronic music makers Daniel Avery of the UK (pictured), Jacques Greene of Canada, Charme of right here in Belgium, and several more. 10 November 20.00-3.00, Rue Ravenstein 23

Expats who speak Portuguese are in for a treat at Passa Porta when Belgian journalist Annelies Beck interviews Brazilian writer-in-residence Michel Laub about his new book O Tribunal da quinta-feira (The Thursday Court). As there isn’t yet an English translation, Laub will read from the book in his native Portuguese. The rest of the event is in English. 10 November 20.00, Rue Antoine Dansaert 46

Gypsy jazz was started by Django Reinhart, born right here in Belgium, so it’s the perfect place for Gypsy Jazz Nights. Bands from Belgium, the UK, France and Canada descend on the Mercelis Theater to play the music that put the guitar out front for the first time. 9-10 November, Rue Mercelis 13 (Ixelles)

Independent Art Fair

When New York’s Independent Art Fair launched a Brussels edition, The Wall Street Journal said that the event differed from other European art fairs because it offered “quality over quantity”. But it does more than that: It creates a whole festival out of buying and selling art, striking a perfect balance between economics and aesthetics. With theatrical performances, concerts, lively debates and installations, it’s a fun place to spend a day whether you’re in the market for original art or not. 8-11 November, Vanderborght Building,
Rue de l’Ecuyer 50

Stop by Flagey to see rising star pianist Matan Porat play a unique concert with the established stars of the Jerusalem Quartet, his fellow Israeli citizens. On the programme are works for string quartet and quintet by Haydn, Shostakovich and Schumann. 14 November 20.15, Place Sainte-Croix (Ixelles)

The second edition of the Korean-Belgian Photo Exhibition has been dubbed The City in Fragments and invites us to look at cities we thought we knew through the eyes of four photographers. The vernissage on 13 November includes an artists’ talk and a cocktail reception (reservation required). 13 November to 26 January, Korean Cultural Center, Rue de la Régence 4

Toastmasters has been teaching Brussels’ expat community how to perfect its public-speaking and communication skills for decades, and this month it’s inviting non-members to its Workplace Summit to discover how you can work with your employer to set up a club in your own company. The international organisation’s vice-president will be in attendance as part of her three-day trip to Brussels. 14 November 14.00-18.00, NH Brussels Carrefour de l’Europe, Rue aux Herbes 110

Written by Lisa Bradshaw