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Belgian pianist Ben Roels, born in 1968, started to play the piano at the age of 8. He completed the RIKSO Music High School of Music in Antwerp and in 1989 graduated with distinction from the Royal Conservatory of Music in Antwerp where he studied with the Swiss pianist Pascal Sigrist. He also studied chamber music and 'lied accompaniment' in the class of baritone Werner Van Mechelen and pianist Jozef De Beenhouwer.

He continued his education with Leon Fleischer (Master class Germany), Eliane Rodrigues (Belgium) and Lionel Bowman (South-Africa). He obtained the "Diplðme Supérieur de piano" at the "Ecole Normale de Musique Alfred Cortot" in Paris where he studied with the French pianist and famous Liszt interpreter France Clidat. After his remarkable performance in the Salle Cortot (Paris) he became pupil of the legendary Italian pianist Aldo Ciccolini (France/Paris).

After Paris returning back to the Royal Conservatory of Music in Antwerp he obtained the Master Diploma for piano with great distinction.

He was prize winner in the "Concours International des Jeunes Solistes" in Lille, France, and won the "O. Van Puyvelde contest" in Ghent, Belgium in the same year. He made his concert debut with Rachmaninov's 2nd piano concerto and presently offers an extended concerto repertoire including Mozart, Beethoven, Liszt, Shostakovich, Gershwin and Addinsell.

Ben Roels is piano teacher at the Academy for Music, Drama and Dance of Antwerp.

In recitals he often plays works from "forgotten" composers such as Arthur De Greef (Belgian pianist/composer and pupil of Liszt). Liszt mainly influences Ben Roels' repertoire. The virtuosity, sensitivity and lyric aspect of Liszt's music fit very well with the personality of this pianist.

He has performanced on three continents. After appearances in Europe, also in Africa and USA. Ben Roels performed in Belgium (Festival of Flanders, Centre of fine Arts Brussels "Palais des Beaux Arts Henry Le Boeuf Hall, deSingel Antwerp), The Netherlands, France (Salle Cortot in Paris), Germany, Italy, the U.S.A. and concert tours in South Africa. He made guest appearances for the Belgian Classical Radio "Klara".

Ben Roels is founder of the concert series 'Classical for everybody' (Klassiek voor iedereen), a successful yearly concert in deSingel in Antwerp to promote classical music. His CD "Liszt Revisited" was recorded in Stellenbosch South Africa and released by Senzanome in Brussels in 2006.

Ben Roels is Steinway Artist.

"Roels' Liszt interpretations are extraordinary with an outstanding technique and an unheard deep expression..." (Lionel Bowman, pianist)

"Ben Roels is undoubtedly ranked among the most talented and promising Belgian pianists of his generation..." (Alain Roeland, conductor).

"Ben Roels' playing was so intense he kept the audience quiet, a real achievement during wintertime..." (D. Clotman, journalist).

"In perfect grace and transparency, never sentimental, Ben Roels gave a first-class Lisztinterpretation..." (Die Speyer Zeitung, Germany).

"An amazing sound in forte passages and controlled virtuoso playing, Ben Roels gave an interpretation with fascinating tension...a maximum musical and physical performance..." (Speyerer Tagepost).

L'édition du Festival du Cingle 2007 (France) a d'abord permis de découvrir Ben Roels, pianiste belge, dans un répertoire Liszt qui nécessite, certes, une certaine virtuosité pianistique, mais a révélé combien le jeu de ce jeune musicien, qui ne se borne pas à la technique, peut être noble et profondément inspiré...est emblématique de sa prodigieuse maîtrise du clavier... et peut largement combler un public en attente d'exception. (Caroline Feasch,journal culturel << 491 >>)

Une des grandes qualités du Festival du Cingle c'est de faire découvrir des interprètes de talent. Ben Roels : retenons ce nom, il va faire parler de lui. Une Maestria, une concentration, une sincérité digne des plus grands, dans un répertoire qui sort des sentiers battus. Bravo au Festival du Château du Cingle pour ça << découverte >>... très grand pianiste en Belgique. (P. Crapie 07/2007)


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