The Chapelle des Minimes has been performing the cantatas of J.S. Bach once a month in the Church of the Minimes, near the Sablon in Brussels, since its inauguration in October, 1981 by Swana Hardy, an English university professor. Concerts of Bach's cantatas have taken place on the last Sunday of the month without interruption for over 23 years. For 15 years the bulk of the work was done by violist Claude Van Reeth. They attract a faithful audience of about knowledgeable music-lovers. To date, over 200 cantatas have been performed, along with some of J.S. Bach's major works: the Great B Minor Mass (BWV 232), the Passion according to St John (BWV 245), the Magnificat (BWV 243), the Christmas Oratorio (BWV 248)...
Since its inception the Choir has attracted singers of many nationalities : English, German, Scandinavian, French, Belgian, Dutch, Scottish, Portuguese, Danish and Irish - all amateurs, but with solid musical and vocal experience.
In the Orchestra, the players are also excellent amateurs, some with Conservatoire diplomas and supported from the outset by professional musicians, two of whom, Julius Stenzel (cellist) and Jacques Vanherenthals (composer, double bass player, conducter and directory of the Académie de Musique de Forest) has been responsible for the artistic direction of the Chapelle since 1987, with Philippe Gérard as guest conductor. The professional musicians work with the amateurs in the spirit of an on-going workshop.
In the same perspective, the soloists are young professional singers, for whom these concerts give a platform on which to further their talents. Others have been supported the work of the group since 1981 by allowing this non-profit organisation to use their skills and voices. So, over the years the Chapelle des Minimes has proved fertile soil for the training experience of our young singers.
The Choir and Orchestra of the Chapelle des Minimes has every intention of pursuing this exceptional journey into the religious works of Bach, one of the major composers of western music and in so doing to enrich in its particular way, the musical life of Brussels.