Annelien Van Wauwe


"Her playing has abundant warmth and lyricism, allied to a sinuous vocal quality."

Classical Source

"Annelien van Wauwe gives an atmospheric performance [of Debussy’s Première Rhapsodie]"

Gramophone Magazine

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Belgian clarinettist Annelien Van Wauwe is forging a reputation as one of the most exciting and original clarinettists of her generation, captivating audiences with her expressive, intense, and lyrical performances.

A former BBC Radio 3 New Generation Artist, Annelien has won numerous international competitions. Her joint Second Prize award at the ARD International Music Competition in Munich in 2012 was a decisive step towards international recognition. In 2018, she won a Borletti-Buitoni Trust Award. Annelien Van Wauwe was awarded an Opus Klassik as Best Young Artist 2020 for her Pentatone album ‘Belle Epoque’.

She has performed with orchestras including the Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin, Konzerthausorchester Berlin, Bavarian Radio Symphony, SWR Symphony Orchestra Stuttgart, the Munich Chamber Orchestra, Vienna Chamber Orchestra, Mozarteum Orchester Salzburg, Brussels Philharmonic, Antwerp Symphony, Swedish Chamber Orchestra, Royal Liverpool Philharmonic, and many of the BBC Symphonic and Philharmonic Orchestras; with conductors including Andrew Manze, Joshua Weilerstein, James MacMillan, Rafael Payare, Clemens Schuldt, Markus Stenz, Hartmut Haenchen, Otto Tausk, Marta Gardolińska, Kristiina Poska, Karina Canellakis, Edo de Waart and Dirk Brossé.

Annelien has appeared at prestigious venues including the Tonhalle Zürich, Berliner Philharmonie and Konzerthaus Berlin, Konzerthaus Vienna, Wigmore Hall, BOZAR in Brussels,Philharmonie Luxembourg, Amsterdam Concertgebouw, De Doelen Rotterdam, Muziekgebouw Eindhoven, Rudolfinum Concert Hall in Prague, and Palace of Arts in Budapest. She is a regular guest at international festivals such as the Lucerne Festival, Festspiele Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, Schleswig-Holstein Musik Festival, Kissinger Sommer, Cheltenham Festival, West Cork Chamber Music Festival, and the Festival de Radio France in Montpellier.

In 2017, Annelien made her BBC Proms debut at Cadogan Hall and in 2018, she performed Mozart Clarinet Concerto with the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra and Thomas Dausgaard in a televised Prom from the Royal Albert Hall.

She records exclusively for Pentatone; her debut album Belle époque with the Orchestre National de Lille conducted by Alexandre Bloch was released in 2019. Previous recordings include a CD of Weinberg and Prokofiev with pianist Lucas Blondeel, released on Genuin Classics in 2015; the album received rave reviews and won Annelien a Klara Award for Young Talent of the Year from the Flemish Radio.

An inspired chamber musician, Annelien is the founder of Brussels-based CAROUSEL Chamber Music Ensemble. Formed in 2018, the group brings together eleven international exceptional musicians with the aim of performing existing and new chamber music at the highest level. In 2021 she founded the woodwind quintet BREEZE. Further chamber music partners include Pavel Kolesnikov, Cédric Tiberghien, Severin von Eckardstein, Victor Julien-Laferrière, Amihai Grosz, Tabea Zimmermann, Quatuor Danel, Schumann Quartet, Aris Quartet and Amatis Trio.

Annelien’s infectious passion and interest in new music have inspired composers to write for her – in 2017, Manfred Trojahn dedicated his Sonata V to Annelien. Her intensive practice of yoga, with its positive influence on her clarinet playing, led her to become a certified yoga teacher and to commission SUTRA, a concerto for clarinet, orchestra and electronics from Wim Henderickx. The new work will be based on breath and meditation, and it is co-commissioned by BBC Radio 3 and the Borletti-Buitoni Trust. The concerto will be premiered with the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra under Martyn Brabbins and will be recorded for Pentatone during the 2021-22 season with the NDR Radiophilharmonie Hannover under Andrew Manze.

She originally studied with Sabine Meyer in Lübeck, Pascal Moragues in Paris, Alessandro Carbonare in Rome and Wenzel Fuchs and Ralf Forster in Berlin. She has also participated in masterclasses with Yehuda Gilad. Annelien has a strong affinity for early music and studied historical clarinet with Eric Hoeprich and Ernst Schlader.

She regularly gives masterclasses and teaches at the Royal Conservatoire The Hague.

This biography is for information only and should not be reproduced.

CD Belle époque: works by Debussy, Manfred Trojahn, Pierné, Brahms and Widor with the Orchestre National de Lille and conductor Alexandre Bloch

Pentatone, August 2019

Debussy’s Première Rhapsodie emerges gradually from the mists, immediately establishing the Belgian clarinettist’s warm, elegant tone and easy legato. Trills are evenly placed and the high notes are floated without becoming pinched… The most interesting item on the disc is undoubtedly the Trojahn Rhapsodie…The Reverie opens in suitably dreamy mode but soon turns nightmarish, with huge plunges from stratospheric top notes to the bottom…while the Caprice is a helter-skelter high-wire act for the soloist which Van Wauwe navigates with aplomb.

Mark Pullinger, Gramophone, November 2019

Annelien Van Wauwe is already a consummate artist and this well-planned disc gives us an excellent view of her technical skill, her musicianship and her lovely tone, even in the altissimo register.

Roger Nichols, BBC Music Magazine, November 2019

The muted opening of the Debussy Première Rhapsodie is beautifully played here… It is a piece that requires great skill and control in both the soloist and orchestra, something that is clear in this superb performance, which has quickly replaced my other accounts as favourite… The playing throughout is very good, with Annelien Van Wauwe proving herself a formidable clarinettist, especially in the Manfred Trojahn work, although it is in the French pieces that she really shines. The Orchestre National de Lille and Alexandre Bloch are in perfect partnership with the soloist, making this a most interesting and enjoyable disc. The recorded sound is clear and bright and the booklet notes give a good introduction to each of the composers and their music. A very welcome disc of music for clarinet and orchestra.

Stuart Sillitoe, Music Web International, August 2019

Annelien van Wauwe gives an atmospheric performance

James Jolly, Gramophone, August 2019

Seductive sounds of a golden era … A CD that is full of charm.

Ivan Hewett, Daily Telegraph, August 2019

Gorgeous clarinet sound; rich orchestral playing … a fine recording as well.

Andrew McGregor, BBC Radio 3 Record Review, August 2019

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