Bernard Foccroulle was born in Liège (Belgium) in 1953. He began his international career as an organist in the mid-s70s, playing a wide range of repertoire from Renaissance to Contemporary Music. He has performed many world premieres of composers such as Philippe Boesmans, Brian Ferneyhough, Betsy Jolas, Xavier Darasse, Jonathan Harvey, Pascal Dusapin; at the same time, he recorded masterworks of the organ repertoire, from Francisco Correa de Arauxo to Charles Tournemire, from Heinrich Scheidemann to Dietrich Buxtehude.
His discography as soloist includes more than fifty CDs. Between 1982 and 1997, he recorded the complete organ works by Johann Sebastian Bach for the Ricercar label. For these recordings, he carefully chose the most beautifully preserved historic instruments. In 2007, his recording of the Dietrich Buxtehude’s complete organ works won the Diapason d’Or and the Grand Prix de l’Académie Charles Cros among other prizes.
In addition to solo organ recitals all over the world, he regularly plays with singers, with cornetto players such as Jean Tubéry and Lambert Colson, as well as with Palestinian singer and ‘Ud player Moneim Adwan. Another important aspect of Bernard Foccroulle’s work is the combination of organ music with other art forms, for example his collaboration with choreographers Jan Fabre (Preparatio mortis) and Salva Sanchis or video artist Lynette Wallworth (Darkness and Light).
While continuing his career as organist, he became director of the Brussels opera-house La Monnaie in 1992, holding this position until 2007. He has been director of the Festival d’Aix-en-Provence from 2007 until 2018. In 2017, he got the Leadership Award at the International Opera Awards in London.
As composer, Bernard Foccroulle has written many works for voices, including Am Rande der Nacht after Rilke for soprano and orchestra, E vidi quattro stelle after Dante’s Purgatorio for two singers, five musicians and organ, Zauberland, a cycle of melodies for soprano and piano on poems by Martin Crimp.
He has also composed a cycle of pieces for historic organs (CD AEON, Diapason d’Or 2016) and “Elegy for Trisha” for cello and organ.
In 2023, his opera “Cassandra” will be premiered at the Monnaie in September, and a chamber work about “Le Journal d’Hélène Berr” will be premiered in Cherbourg ant then tour in France and abroad.
He is Doctor Honoris Causa of the Montréal University and Aix-Marseille Université.