In Oelbrandt's music, you can hear the sound shadows of composers such as Arvo Pärt and Olivier Messiaen, but he walks his own spiritual path.
His first premiere was March 18, 2001 during the Ars Musica Festival in Brussels: the Wallonia Chamber Orchestra and Nicolas Deletaille played his Concerto for cello and string orchestra, commissioned by the cellist.
He received commissions for several large cantatas and oratorios, most of which had multiple performances: Spring Oratorio (Brussels, Antwerp, Liège), Ignatius Cantata (Ghent, Amsterdam), Peace Cantata (Tilburg), Reconciliation Magnificat (November Music 's Hertogenbosch, Utrecht, Haarlem, The Hague), The Leading Lamb (Ghent).
Numerous musicians and ensembles commissioned or performed his chamber music, covering many solo pieces for various instruments, piano trios, string quartets as well as mixed ensembles. The Orgelpark Amsterdam dedicated a composer's portrait to him, in which Ralph van Raat played his piano cycle Catharsis and Jan Hage performed his 12 Interludes.
In 2000, he won the “Jan Decadt” prize with the piano trio Resonances, which is the first prize of the “Muizelhuis Concerts” Composition Contest. He also won the second prize of the “Weimarer Frühjahrstage für Zeitgenössische Musik” in 2010 with the Concert Rhapsody, interpreted by Egidius Streiff (violin) and the Lohorchester Sondershausen, and conducted by Markus Frank.
On May 15, 2002, Oelbrandt became a trappist monk, 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. Since then, he is played more and more on national and international stages (New York, Berlin, Tokyo) by excellent musicians such as Quirine Viersen, Katrien Baerts, Jenny Spanoghe, Els Mondelaers, Nicolas de Troyer, Elsbeth Gerritsen or Ernestine Stoop; ensembles like Dudok Quartet, I Solisti del Vento or Oneiros ensemble and choirs such as Ad Parnassum or Capella Brabant.
Oelbrandt also earned a 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)possibility of unambiguous translation of theological concepts into abstract music, notably in the scores of Olivier Messiaen.
Kris Oelbrandt was born in Sint-Gillis-Waas, Belgium, on November 13, 1972. Oelbrandt studied violin, viola, and piano before focusing on music theory with professors Willem Kersters and Wim Henderickx at the Royal Conservatory of Antwerp from 1991-1993. He received with great distinction the Master's Degree in music theory by Rafaël d’Haene at the Royal Conservatory of Brussels, where he studied from 1993 to 1996.
Afterwards he graduated at the Queen Elisabeth Music Chapel in 2001: an internationally renowned prestigious institute for graduate master’s students who want to perfect their skills.