Orchestre Philharmonique Royal de Liège

© William Beaucardet


Founded in 1960, the Liège Royal Philharmonic (OPRL) is French-speaking Belgium’s only professional symphony orchestra.

Supported by the Fédération Wallonie-Bruxelles (Belgium’s French-speaking Community), the City of Liège, and the Province of Liège, the OPRL performs in Liège – in the prestigious setting of the Salle Philharmonique (inaugurated in 1887) – and throughout Belgium (in Brussels, Mons, Namur, Ostend, Sankt Vith, Turnhout, Virton, and other locations), as well as in great concert halls and at major festivals around Europe (in Amsterdam, Paris, and Vienna, for example, as well as in Spain, Switzerland, and elsewhere) and in Japan and the United States, and tours South America in 2022.

Moulded by its founder, Fernand Quinet, and by its Music Directors (Manuel Rosenthal, Paul Strauss, Pierre Bartholomée, Louis Langrée, Pascal Rophé, François-Xavier Roth, and Christian Arming), the OPRL has developed a sound identity at the crossroads of the Germanic and French traditions. This course has continued under Gergely Madaras since September 2019. The OPRL combines a determination to support new work and to promote the Franco-Belgian heritage, while also exploring new repertoire, with a recording policy that has resulted in more than 100 recordings.

Recent additions to its discography include recordings of Respighi’s complete symphonic works (BIS) and albums of works by Franck (Fuga Libera, Bru Zane, and Musique en Wallonie) and Gabriel Dupont (Fuga Libera), as well as Contemporary Clarinet Concertos with Jean-Luc Votano (Fuga Libera), works by Dvořák and Martinů (Alpha Classics), and the symphonies of Saint-Saëns (BIS).

For twenty years now, the OPRL has taken up the challenge of presenting the greatest music to the widest possible audience through original projects such as the “Music Factory”, “Les samedis en famille”, “Happy Hour!”, and “OPRL+” and specific series such as “Musiques anciennes” (early music), “Musiques du monde” (world music), “Piano 5 étoiles”, and “Orgue” (organ). It has benefited from partnerships with the Mezzo Live HD television channel (in Europe, Asia, and Canada, since 2016) and with Medici.tv (since 2021). In 2022, it celebrated the centenary of César Franck (who was born in Liège) with a series of concerts and the release of a number of box sets, as well as with new publications and digital projects.

The OPRL is also very much committed to the social role it plays throughout the year, taking music to audiences with little or no experience of classical culture. It makes a particular effort to reach young people, via activities in schools, thematic concerts (including “L’Orchestre à la portée des enfants”), and especially, since 2015, through the establishment of neighbourhood orchestras with the ReMuA association (El Sistema Liège).