Kris Oelbrandt

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Kris Oelbrandt was born in Sint-Gillis-Waas (Belgium) on November 13, 1972.
Kris studied violin, viola and piano at the Academy of Music, Drama and Dance in Sint-Niklaas. From 1991 to 1993, he studied music theory with professors Willem Kersters and Wim Henderickx at the Royal Conservatoire of Antwerp, where he received major awards for several composition courses, such as the first prize for ‘Music Theory and Harmony’ by Jan-Pieter Biesemans.

In addition, he also received the great distinction ‘Meestergraad Muziekschriftuur’ by Rafaël d’Haene at the Royal Conservatory of Brussels, where he studied from 1993 to 1996.

General
Kris Oelbrandt was born in Sint-Gillis-Waas, Belgium, on November 13, 1972.

Education
Oelbrandt studied violin, viola, and piano at the Academy of Music, Drama, and Dance in Sint-Niklaas. From 1991 to 1993, he studied music theory with professors Willem Kersters and Wim Henderickx at the Royal Conservatoire of Antwerp.

In addition, he also received the great distinction “Meestergraad Muziekschriftuur” by Rafaël d’Haene at the Royal Conservatory of Brussels, where he studied from 1993 to 1996.

He became a graduate student at the Queen Elisabeth Music Chapel in 2001: an internationally renowned prestigious institute for graduate master’s students who want to perfect their skills.

Career
On May 15, 2002, Oelbrandt became a monk in the Trappist Abbey Mary Refuge (Abdij Maria Toevlucht) in Zundert, because he wanted to actively seek a deeper, more spiritual foundation of his life and work, despite a growing number of commissioned works and performances.

After five years of compositional silence, Kris decided to take up the pen again. His first compositions from this “second period” are short organ interludes, which were played by his monk brothers or himself during Sunday High Mass.

On November 22, 2008, Kris made his Solemn Profession, by which he connected himself permanently to the Abbey Mary Refuge. For this reason, his community gave him a very original gift: the premiere of his newly composed Second String Quartet, ‘Bits and Pieces‘, in the abbey church by the Landini quartet of Jenny Spanoghe.

In 2009, Oelbrandt earned his Bachelor’s Degree in Theology and religious studies at the Catholic University (KU) Leuven, with a great distinction. He wrote his dissertation on the (im)possibilitiy of unambiguous translation of theological concepts into abstract music, notably in the scores of Olivier Messiaen.

Compositions
His ‘Concerto‘ for cello and string orchestra was premiered March 18, 2001 in the Botanique in Brussels. In addition to this, various compositions for piano and chamber music were performed in that period.

In 2009, he composed ‘Concert Mass‘ for mixed choir and organ, commissioned by the Laurentius Parish Antwerp.

From 2010 tot 2012, Kris worked on an oratorio for soprano, baritone and chamber ensemble, from a commission by Arts & Soul, the cultural organization of the Dominican Community Brussels. Six cantatas meditate on the themes of Lent, based on biblical and non-biblical texts of the past and present. The ‘Spring Oratorio‘, as it is called, was premiered in two parts.

Encouraged by his brothers, Kris composed a piano cycle in 2013, based on a core text from the Benedictine monastic tradition: the ‘Twaalf trappen van nederigheid’ (Twelve Steps of Humility) of Saint Benedict. In 2014, his work ‘Ignatius Cantate‘ for baritone, choir, and mixed ensemble, commissioned by the Jesuit Community of the Old Abbey of Drongen, was premiered.

Awards
In 2000, Oelbrandt won the “Jan Decadt” prize with the piano trio ‘Resonances‘, which is the first prize of the “Muizelhuis Concerts” Composition Contest. In 2010, he became laureate of the “Weimarer Frühjahrstage für zeitgenössische Musik” with his ‘Concert Rhapsody‘ for violin and orchestra; it was premiered on that occasion.

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