Brussels Philharmonic | Voice of Illumination

Voice of Illumination


The Third Symphony of Gustav Mahler (1860-1911) has been described with many superlatives: it is his longest, most diverse, most humanistic and optimistic symphony. And with its enormous orchestration – the work requires an exceptionally large orchestra, alto solo and a women’s and children’s choir – it is also one of the largest. But even more importantly, this composition is the one that best reflects Mahler’s vision of this musical genre and of the world.

"Imagine a work of such magnitude that it actually mirrors the whole world. My Third Symphony will be something the like of which the world has never yet heard. In it, the whole of nature finds a voice."
- Gustav Mahler

For Mahler, the figure of Pan represented the entire universe, from the earthly to the hereafter. That idea runs through the symphony as a golden thread and is linked to other allusions to literature, including The Joyous Science (1882) and Thus Spoke Zarathustra (1892) by the German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche. Mahler took the text ‘O man, take heed!’ from Zarathustra’s Midnight Song from the latter work as the basis for the fourth movement of the symphony.

In the captivating fourth movement, humanity speaks in its quest for for illumination for his earthly cares. Michèle Losier performs the alto solo in this part.

"Mahler has been dear to me since my early studies in singing. I felt compelled not to study or sing his music after listening to the Rückert-Lieder until I could completely understand the genius of that composer. It was as if Mahler was a sacred composer to whom I owed my full comprehension of his inner inspirations. Therefore, it was only later in my career that I approached his symphonies and his lieder repertoire.
Today, in my mid-forties, not only from my musical experience but also with my personal life experience, I finally feel I can render his music in a noble and truthful way as he intended. It is always an honour for me to sit in the middle of the orchestra, in those majestic symphonies, experiencing the overwhelming emotions, and to finally feel worthy of singing his compositions."
- Michèle Losier

live in concert

experience Michèle Losier live in concert with the Brussels Philharmonic during the concert Mahler 3

[info & tickets]
[read also: programme notes]
[discover also: Close Encounters]

MAHLER 3 Liesbet Peremans IMG 6269

Mahler 3 · 28.09.2024 · Flagey

Kazushi Ono takes the next step – a giant step in fact – in his journey with Mahler. With the Brussels Philharmonic, the Vlaams Radiokoor, Octopus Kamerkoor and the children’s choir of Opera Ballet Flanders all together on stage, it will certainly be a crowd. But our musical director expertly guides everyone through a symphony that fascinates him beyond measure.

2023 Brussels Philharmonic Rachmaninov Festival c Wouter Van Vaerenbergh 252

Mahler Deconstructed · Florestan Bataillie · 28.09.2024

Join pianist Florestan Bataillie in this musical lecture as he guides you through the intricate layers of Mahler’s masterpiece: the Third Symphony. Explore its symbolic meanings, innovative orchestration, and the vivid imagery of the natural world that Mahler so brilliantly brings to life. Whether you’re already an aficionado or simply curious, everyone is welcome, and no prior knowledge is required!

2024 Brussels Philharmonic Kazushi Ono Ligeti Bartok 1 U Canon300 GR 4

Close Encounters: Mahler 3 · 26.09.2024 · Flagey

Open rehearsals: experience the orchestra up close and feel the power of our collective.Watch the rehearsal from a unique spot: the stalls on our Studio 4 stage. Afterwards, chat with someone from on or behind the stage—be it the conductor, soloist, musician, or a production team member.