Lieven Bertels new director for Sydney Festival

Lieven Bertels, currently artistic director for Holland Festival, will soon be off to Sydney to lead one of the biggest festivals in the world. From 2013 on he will be directing three editions of the Sydney Festival.

Born in Belgium, Lieven Bertels studied Musicology in Belgium and Composition in the United Kingdom. Prior to Holland Festival, Bertels was Artistic Director of Concertgebouw Brugge, an arts centre presenting a broad range of art forms, including, during Bertels’ tenure, resident artists The Philharmonia London, violinist Viktoria Mullova, London Sinfonietta, Vladimir Ashkenazy, the DJ Eavesdropper and VJ Collective Visual Kitchen, alongside a selection of contemporary music, dance and theatre such as Bobby McFerrin, Sasha Waltz, Herbie Hancock and Tim Etchells.  
Bertels’ earlier career includes work as a producer at Belgian National Cultural Radio Klara (focusing on jazz and youth audiences); Head of the Audio Department at the Brussels Film, Radio and TV School; and producing for record and radio companies including Decca, BMG Classics, Megadisc and BBC Scotland.  

Support for Bertels comes from peers and artists alike.  Renowned festival and former Sydney Festival Director Brett Sheehy said, “Lieven is a terrific choice for Sydney Festival.  I have long-admired his work at Holland Festival and this is a very exciting appointment for Sydney.”

Mike Patton, frontman of the band Faith No More said, “My experiences have been nothing short of an amusement park!  Thrilling, exciting, creative, surprising, and always a pleasure... you leave the ride with a shameless smile on your face!  Lieven is fearless in his programming and presentations, with a fresh and musical energy and understanding that is rare among people in his position.  His thirst and ultimate drive to make abstract ideas real is an inspiration.”

Musician and performance artist Laurie Anderson added: “The combination of the Sydney Festival and Lieven Bertels is electric, fantastic.  He's a brilliant thinker and working with him in Bruges and Amsterdam was a great experience.  Artists love working with Lieven.  He has a unique ability to find the right audiences.”

“I’ve always been attracted to the unique mix of arts and entertainment that Sydney Festival offers.  My mission is to bring the best and the boldest projects to Sydney’s streets and stages and I’m grateful for this wonderful opportunity to add exciting new pages to the Festival’s rich history,” said Bertels.  My family and I are thrilled to be moving to Sydney and I’m very much looking forward to working with the Festival team.”