Bolster and Antwerp Conservatoire honour Wim Henderickx
Wim Henderickx passed away completely unexpectedly in December 2022. He was one of our most important contemporary composers and a highly respected teacher at the Royal Conservatoire Antwerp. Vzw Bolster, formed from the merger of the Friends of the Conservatoire and the Conservatoire Foundation, decided to honour Wim Henderickx posthumously with the title Maestro Honoris Causa, which it awards annually to a particularly deserving artist. This will take place during a benefit performance for the benefit of the students of the Conservatoire, which this year will take place on 9 November 2023. Bea Steylaerts, Wim's wife, will then receive the title of Maestro Honoris Causa from Antwerp governor and chairman of vzw Bolster Cathy Berx. The laudatio will be given by Jan Raes, director of Opera Ballet Vlaanderen, where Wim's last opera, The Convert, premiered in May 2022.
During the benefit, students from the Music programme will perform a full evening's concert. On the agenda are compositions by students from Wim Henderickx's composition class and works by Wim himself: the Sanctus and the Agnus Dei from 'Revelations' and ...after a soft Silence, an enormous Thunder... the 'Harp Concertino'.
For Stefaan De Ruyck, head of the Royal Conservatoire, it was written in the stars that Wim would receive the title sooner or later: "It is striking that Wim is receiving this award on an evening that is all about supporting students. He was able to support, challenge and enthuse them like no other."
Bea Steylaers, Wim's wife, is pleased with the recognition: "Together with our sons, Wim's mum and brother, I am incredibly grateful and honoured that Wim can receive this Maestro Honoris Causa title posthumously. So much more I would have loved to see him running on stage happy and enthusiastic and hugging everyone passionately. His family, colleagues, musicians and a large circle of friends were very close to his heart. And he loved his students immensely, one by one. For many years, I stood beside him and noticed how, with enthusiasm, energy, positivism, generosity, talent and hard work, he was able to influence his broad community in a positive direction. He could switch particularly seamlessly from extroverted interactions with family and friends, students, colleagues, musicians and audiences to the introverted life of someone who creates and thinks, upstairs in his studio or in his beloved spot by the sea. He also so loved playing music himself, with his children, friends or on a stage. That made him soulful. As I wrote at the farewell: Wim's heart was far too big.... It could no longer carry his love for people, follow his plans, nor his gluttony to live, work and embrace. His oeuvre comprises around 200 works and so many plans and projects were still on his work table. For him, the curtain fell far too soon, but we as family and friends will try to carry on, together, and honour him, keeping alive and carrying forward his joie de vivre, his inspiring work and his connecting power."