Ben van Nespen

Ben Van Nespen (Antwerp, °1978) came into contact with the organ and harpsichord at a young age at the Music Academy “Jozef Pauly” in Ekeren. At the age of 15 he played his first organ recital, with the complete cycle “La Nativité du Seigneur” by Olivier Messiaen, in the St. Catherine’s Church in Hoogstraten.

At the Lemmens Institute in Leuven he obtained the master’s degree and the specialization diploma for organ with Reitze Smits and also the master’s degree for harpsichord with Kris Verhelst. In addition, he followed various courses with Jos Van Immerseel, Joris Verdin, Herman Stinders, Ludger Lohmann, Hans-Ola Ericsson, Stef Tuinstra and Menno van Delft.

He won several awards:

1st prize for harpsichord in the “National Music Competition of the Municipal Credit” (1996-97). 1st prize at the 7th Organ Competition in Leiden (1998), in the category “20th century music”. 1st prize at the “Musica Antiqua” organ competition in Bruges (2009), the first Belgian ever since the foundation of the festival and the organ competition in 1964. As a soloist on organ and harpsichord, he interprets an extensive repertoire, from the 16th to the 21st century. He created several works by Flemish composers, including Frans Geysen, Lucien Goethals, Martin Valcke and Sebastiaan Van Steenberge.

As a basso continuo player he has worked with Anima EternaB’RockConcerto d’AmsterdamCurrendeEnsemble aHildebrandt ConsortOltremontanoRed Herring and Ricercar Consort.

He is currently a member of the new baroque ensemble “Le Pavillon de Musique” (directed by Ann Cnop), which released its first cd in 2021 on the Etcetera label, featuring the recently rediscovered violin concertos by Henri-Jacques De Croes.

Outside the “early music” world, he could also be heard in productions with, among others, Emanon, the Telos Ensemble (12 saxes), Bl!ndman and various symphonic orchestras.

He has performed in Great Britain, Germany, France, Italy, the Netherlands, Austria, Poland and Sweden. He also participated in various opera productions and radio, TV and CD recordings.

As a teacher of organ, harpsichord, keyboard class and accompaniment practice, he works at the music academies of Ekeren and Wilrijk.

In 2013 he recorded his first solo CD, recorded on the historic organ of the St. Pieterskerk in Turnhout. This summer he contributed to a recording of restored Clerinx organs for the magazine Orgelkunst.