Enriching his performances with in-depth artistic research, Kurt Bertels (°1989) brings the Belgian repertoire for saxophone into the limelight. As a soloist and chamber music performer this classical saxophonist was already invited to play concerts in Belgium, The Netherlands, Luxembourg, France, Germany, Croatia, Slovenia, Lithuania, Italy, Portugal, Great-Britain and Norway.
He is a member of the Kugoni Trio and the Anemos Saxophone Quartet and he works with pianist Bert Koch. As an artistic researcher Kurt Bertels is is currently preparing a doctorate in arts at the Royal Conservatory of Brussels (Flemish part). His research focuses on the concept of historically informed performance practice in the field of the early saxophone. More practically, he aims to study the cultural-historical context and the historical performance practice of the Brussels saxophone class between 1867 and 1903. He has given lectures in Belgium (Free University Brussels, Université de Liège) and in Portugal (2nd European saxophone Congress (Porto), 5th International conference on musical research (Evora).
As a soloist, Kurt Bertels obtained prizes at national and international competitions such as the Dexia Classics (2007), the International World Music Concours (2008), the Princess Christina Concours (2009), Forte Limburg (2009) and New Tenuto (2012). The Anemos Saxophone Quartet won the first prize at the International Chamber Music Competition (LU) as well as at the 8th National Adolphe Sax Competition (BE). With the Kugoni Trio he became a laureate of Supernova (2013) and was the first prize winner at the Forte-competition (2015).
Kurt Bertels was awarded with the Medal of the Union of the Belgian Composers for his interpretation of the second saxophone concerto by the Belgian composer Paul Gilson. In addition, he was a guest soloist with the Royal Symphonic Band of the Belgian Guides and the Orchestra of the Low Countries. In Belgium he performed in the Centre for Fine Arts Brussels, Flagey, Amuz, Concertgebouw Brugge and Kursaal Oostende. He participated in national and international music festivals as Klarafestival (BE), Festival Musiq3 (BE), Klara in de Singel (BE), Buma Classical (NL), Wonderfeel (NL), Is Arti (LT), Muziekfestival Middelburg (NL), Saxperience (RS), Festival van Vlaanderen (BE), B-Major (BE), Festival Consonances (FR), Orlando Festival (NL) en Norwegian Academy of Music (NO) and La Festa della Musica Roma (IT).
Kurt's discography includes the CD Mockingbird (2015) with music by Wilfried Westerlinck, the CD Fingerprints#2 (2016), released in collaboration with ComAV and Radio Klara and the CD Timelapse (2016), recorded with the Kugoni Trio. With the Anemos Saxophone Quartet he released Through Time (2013) and Klapzoen (2017). He made several recordings for the Belgian radios Musiq3 and Klara and for the Dutch Radio 4 and appeared on Belgian national television Canvas and Cultuur 7.
Kurt Bertels is a fervent defender of the Belgian both historical and contemporary saxophone music. He commissioned a large number of pieces and collaborated with composers as Filip Ceunen, Jan Hendrik Van Damme, Paul Steegmans, Jeroen D'Hoe, Benjamien Lycke, Erik Desimpelaere, Wilfried Westerlinck, Jan Van Landeghem, Kris De Baerdemacker, Hanne Deneire en Annelies Van Parys.
In 2012, Kurt Bertels earned his Master’s Degree in music at the Royal Conservatory of Brussels (Flemish part) under the tutelage of saxophonist Norbert Nozy. He has followed masterclasses with Jean-Marie Londeix (FR), Lars Mlekusch (AUS), Joseph Wytko (USA), Arno Bornkamp (NL), Jan Schulte-Bunert (DE), Naomi Sullivan (GB) en Vincent David (FR).
Kurt Bertels is an endorsed artist of Légère Reeds (www.legere.com) and is a member of the Flemish