The board of ESTA Belgium-Flanders had its headquarters in the beautiful medieval town of Bruges (UNESCO World Heritage Site) and chose this wonderful place for the 38th ESTA Conference. The main venue was the Conservatory. Some concerts took place in the Opera House, the Ryelandt Hall, the Biekorf and the modern Concertgebouw (2002, Bruges Cultural Capital of Europe). Although the organisers received only logistical support from the city and some sponsorship, they managed to present a rich and well-balanced programme. The programme booklet had a beautiful layout and was written in 4 languages for the convenience of participants. The theme ‘Cultural Polyphony’ referred to the many cultures in Flanders, co-existing since the Middle Ages. It also referred to the Flemish polyphonists of the 15th and 16th centuries who were world famous at the time and who worked at opulent and prestigious courts all over Europe.
The Spiegel String Quartet (B) played the opening concert in the beautiful Gothic Hall with music from Bruges composers. The Suzuki Youth Orchestra ‘Kortjakje’ showed their high quality playing in the Biekorf. The viola-cello duo Nys-Ermert played a lunchtime concert with its own typical repertoire. One of the highlights was the Talich String Quartet (CZ) playing in the Opera House. Among others were: Belgian young talent playing Accolay and Servais; The Chiarina Piano Trio; Irish Youth Quartet (YES); Flemish amateur orchestras; La Petite Bande (S. Kuijken); Violin Kids (A. Koivukoski); Duo violin-organ Jenny Spanoghe (B) and Jan Van Landeghem (B); Michael Kugel (Ru) and students; Flemish music for double bass; Trio Arthur Grumiaux.
Koen Rens (B): Suzuki education in Flanders. Thomas Riebl (A): relaxation and control on stage. M. E. Van Neste (B): the Queen Elisabeth Competition. Peter and Matthew Rolland. Sarah Drury (UK): electric violins. Satu Jalas (I): Arthur Grumiaux. Thomas Zwieg (DK): fractional strings. Jan Strick: Flemish violin making. Benjamin Ramirez (D): stage behaviour and presentation. Peter François (B): A. F. Servais. Cristina Bellu (F): cello methods for starters. Peter Dejans (B): Orpheus Instituut Gent.
Wouter Vossen (NL): violin; Sigiswald Kuijken (B): baroque violin; Roel Dieltiens (B): (baroque) cello; Edith Peinemann (D, President of ESTA International): violin.
Tim Kliphuis (NL): jazz improvisation; Maria Kelemen (H) and Ronald Masin (NL): Irish youth quartet; Cristina Bellu (F): cello ensemble and theatre.
Excursion: Musical Instruments Museum, Brussels / Tivoli Band
Farewell Dinner in Bruges: Peter Esswood (UK) represented the Central Board and thanked the organising team of ESTA Belgium-Flanders (Mark Lambrecht, Jacques Piert, Stefaan Craeynest and the board) for this successful and diverse conference.