Brussels Philharmonic | Otto in the rainforest

Otto in the rainforest

A success story in Chile together with Otto Derolez, concertmaster of Brussels Philharmonic.

In 2017, Otto Derolez created an international music festival deep in the Chilean rainforest. Recently, Brussels Philharmonic added an extra dimension to this successful project with a competition. The prize was a season's contract with the orchestra.

In 2012, as a Faculty Professor at Orchestra of the Americas, our concertmaster Otto Derolez discovered the beauty and musical richness of South America, particularly Chile. Since then, it has been his deepest wish to work with local young musicians, who often live in remote areas and have little or no access to a good music education due to economical or geopolitical obstacles. Together with a Chilean musician and friend, Raul Vergara, Otto launched their first initiative in 2017: the Huilo Huilo International Music Festival.

Meanwhile, this wonderful project has grown into a successful music festival that takes annually place in the breathtaking reserve called Huilo Huilo in the Los Ríos region in Patagonia. A beautiful region full of lakes, volcanoes and gigantic waterfalls. With the direct support of the Reserva Biologica Huilo Huilo, the festival benefits of a splendid infrastructure with excellent rehearsal spaces and its own concert hall, built with materials from the region without harming the natural heritage and beautiful ecosystem of the reserve.

Huilo Huilo International Music Festival has been able to position itself more and more over the years. Thanks to important partnerships, such as with Brussels Philharmonic, the Belgian Embassy in Chile and the logistics partner Casona Cultural de Panguipulli, this outstanding project has become one of the most remarkable string festivals in South America. Today, more than 20 young, promising string players from all over South America are intensively accompanied by 4 coaches, who are string section leaders of Brussels Philharmonic. Together, they play numerous concerts in the region.

At the most recent festival, which took place in December 2021, a unique dimension was added thanks to the generous support of Brussels Philharmonic: a competition for the most talented participants competing for a season's contract with the Brussels Philharmonic!

This award is something spectacular for me, the opportunity to play in an orchestra of such a high level alongside great maestros will give me the chance to improve my level beyond what I could have dreamed of.
Winner 2021 - Francisco Dourthé

Starting in September 2022, the public shall meet the winner: 25-year-old Chilean violinist Francisco Dourthé. He will join the ranks of the Brussels Philharmonic with pride and commitment. Follow his adventures on Instagram.