Flanders Recorder Quartet

Bart Spanhove
Paul Van Loey
Tom Beets
Joris Van Goethem
(left to right)

30 years Flanders Recorder Quartet
Anniversary & Farewell

Since its foundation in 1987, the Flanders Recorder Quartet has evolved into one of the world’s top ensembles. Their success in 1990 at the prestigious Musica Antiqua Competition in Bruges (Belgium), which is sponsored by the Flanders Festival, was the start of an extensive concert career. After more than 1800 concerts in 42 countries on five continents, including some in world-famous concert halls in Tokyo, New York and Salzburg, the ensemble has attained a prominent position in the world of Early Music. The ensemble also makes regular guest appearances at leading music festivals such as those in Helsinki, Paris, Geneva, Boston, Vancouver, Singapore, Taipei and Mexico City. Numerous prizewinning recordings have been made for record companies such as Harmonia Mundi, Archiv/Deutsche Grammophon, Ricercar, and OPUS III. In 2003 the quartet entered a long and intensive collaboration with the German label AEOLUS.

The Flanders Recorder Quartet showcases an instrument that was underestimated for two centuries. In their extraordinary collection are reproductions after illustrations by Virdung (1511), after originals from the collection of Henry VIII, a Baroque contrabass recorder some 2.3 meters in length (which was built by Friedrich von Huene, Boston), and modern recorders by Hans Coolsma, Utrecht. Their extensive collection of instruments and highly virtuosic performance of a richly varied program makes each concert an unforgettable experience and allows the recorder, one of the most important instruments of the Renaissance and Baroque periods, to shine in its former splendour.

The members of the Flanders Recorder Quartet have also built up impressive careers as teachers, and are able to convey their pedagogical ideas in an inspiring manner in their capacities as professors as well as at master classes. In doing so, they do not avoid the confrontation between contemporary and early music. A tangible result of this work is the book ‘The Finishing Touch of Ensemble Playing’ (Alamire, 2000), which has been translated into a number of languages.

The Flanders Recorder Quartet has been acclaimed for its sensitive arrangements and more than fifty compositions have been dedicated to the group. Some of these pieces have been made publicly available in the ensemble’s own series of editions, ‘The Flanders Recorder Quartet Series’, published by the German publishing house Heinrichshofen. The press, public, and international juries have praised the clarity of ensemble playing, technical perfection, homogeneous sound, and true-to-style interpretation: “The FRQ brings joy to the hearts of the overwhelmed listeners” (Japanese Journal Yomiuri Simbun)

The Flanders Recorder Quartet has decided to disband at the end of 2018.

The last notes have been played........

Facts & Figures

1987 • Foundation of the Quartet in Flanders, Belgium
1988 • First CD, Les Nations
• First international concert tour (Sweden)
1990 • First prize at the prestigious Musica Antiqua-competition in Bruges (Belgium)
1991 • Start international carrier: concerts in Austria, Switzerland, Hungary, Germany, Spain, Italy
1994 • First USA tour (from then on annually)
1995 • First Asia tour (from then on annually)
1996 • CD and concert tour with Musica Antiqua Köln (Sonata pro Tabula)
• CD and concert tour Le quattro Stagioni with Marion Verbruggen
1997 • Elected Cultural ambassador of Flanders (also in 1998 and 1999)
1998 • Artist in Residence Flanders Festival
• 3 CDs: Armonia di Flauti, Sonata pro Tabula and Mit Flöten Chor
1999 • National prize for promotion of Belgian early and contemporary heritage
• Publication of book Finishing Touch of Ensemble Playing
• Delivery of stunning baroque contrabass recorder made by Friedrich Von Huene to complete the set
2001 • 90 concerts all over the world
2002 • World tour with Renaissance programme Magic with Capilla Flamenca & friends
2003 • Start of 3-year tour with children’s programme, Malus (100+ concerts)
2004 • Publication of pedagogical book Easy Going
• Beginning of exclusivity with record label Aeolus
2005 • Extensive European tour with Collegium Vocale
2007 • CD Festa Musicale
• Tom Beets replaces Han Tol as fourth member of the group
2008 • CD The Six Wives of Henry VIII + Malus DVD
2010 • CD Nowel, Nowel with vocal ensemble and USA tour with soprano Cécile Kempenaers
2011 • Jukebox Project, European tour
2012 • CD project with Ensemble Syntagma
2012 • CD Encore to thank the fans and the Belgian composers for their support
• Silver Jubilee Programme Felicitazione; Belgian tour with orchestra
2014 • CD Concerti with orchestra to finalize the Silver Jubilee tour
2015 • New countries visited: Colombia, Czech Republic, Slovenia, Scotland
2016 • Announcement of disbanding and start elaborate of farewell tour of 100+ concerts
• Close collaboration with recorder maker Tom Prescott results in the delivery of a rare Renaissance contrabass in F, to complete the set
• performance of Sören Siegs ‘Tell me what Sadness is’ at memorial service for Friedrich Von Huene
2017 • Release of quintet CD with Saskia Coolen and CD Final Favourites with previously unreleased tracks on the Aeolus label
• Production of a consort song programme A Song for All Seasons with Cécile Kempenaers
2018 • Headline articles in magazines Tibia, American Recorder, Recorder Magazine, Blokfluitist and Early Music America
• December: The curtain fell

For organizers


5 [five]

5 [five], released June 17, 2017


Encore!, released October 12, 2012



January 01, 2019

Flanders Recorder Quartet played their last concert in December 2018. Thank you for the support throughout the years.
This website will remain online but won't be updated any more.