Karel Deseure

Karel Deseure


Representation: General Management

Photo: Hans van der Woerd


Young Belgian conductor Karel Deseure is a highly gifted artist with a deeply thoughtful musical approach and a calm authority on the podium. He has conducted orchestras such as the Lucerne Symphony, Netherlands Philharmonic, Netherlands Chamber, Flanders Symphony and Antwerp Symphony, amongst others, whilst also making a name for himself in the opera world. In fact, opera has become something of a mainstay in his career, with Deseure recently winning the Schaunard Award for his work in the opera field in the Netherlands in 2018.



Full Biography

Belgian conductor Karel Deseure is an artist of natural conducting talent and authority, quickly becoming known for his thoughtful, intelligent approach and interpretative flair. Former Assistant Conductor of the Netherlands Radio Philharmonic Orchestra, Karel has conducted extensively across Belgium and the Netherlands, regularly receiving re-invitations from orchestras such as the Brussels Philharmonic, Royal Liège Philharmonic, Antwerp Symphony and Arnhem Philharmonic orchestras.

In 2018, Karel was awarded the Schaunard Award in recognition of his opera work in the Netherlands. Contributing to his success were critically acclaimed tours of Bernstein’s A Quiet Place and Verdi’s Un ballo in Maschera which he undertook that year with Opera Zuid, as well as performances of Britten’s The Rape of Lucretia in The Hague and Budapest with the Dutch National Opera Academy. Karel’s opera career began with a successful debut with Opera Zuid in 2016 with Puccini’s La Bohème.

Karel has made debuts in recent seasons with the Lucerne Symphony Orchestra, National Orchestra of Belgium and the Württemberg Chamber Orchestra in Heilbronn. In the current season, Karel conducts the New Year concerts at Orkest van het Oosten, makes his debut with the Netherlands Philharmonic Orchestra and returns to the Flanders Symphony and South Netherlands Philharmonic orchestras.

Originally a flautist, Karel earned his Master’s degree at the Royal Conservatoire of Antwerp, subsequently studying conducting at the Royal Conservatoire in The Hague. In 2012, he won 2nd prize and the public’s prize at the ‘Concours International de Direction d’Orchestre’ in Paris, and later that year he was awarded the prestigious conducting scholarship of the Anton Kersjes Foundation.

Karel is privileged to have been chosen for prestigious international masterclasses: with Bernard Haitink during the 2014 Lucerne Festival; with Peter Eötvös at the IRCAM with the Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France; and with Christopher Seaman and the Tonhalle Orchestra Zurich.

Artist Website: http://www.kareldeseure.com

Promoters please note: if you wish to include this biography in a concert programme etc, please contact Hazard Chase to ensure that you receive the most up to date version.  Email: Grace Carter



Deseure wins Schaunard Award

January 15th, 2019

Opera success for Deseure in 2018

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Return to Opera Zuid for Karel Deseure

April 4th, 2018

Young Belgian conducts Verdi’s ‘Un ballo in maschera’

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New signing: Belgian conductor Karel Deseure

July 5th, 2016

Young Belgian conductor joins the roster.

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Opera Zuid / Bernstein, “A Quiet Place”

“In the choir and orchestra, the love for Bernstein’s music blossomed. Under the steady hand of Karel Deseure, the South Netherlands Philharmonic played with great commitment. The orchestral sound had a direct character in a relaxed combination of sweetness and swing.” (Trans.)

Trouw ★★★★, November 2018


“The young Belgian conductor led the newly-formed South Netherlands Philharmonic with a lot of verve.”

Theaterkrant, November 2018


“Conductor Karel Deseure gave this musical palette plenty of color. He provided excellent leadership for the beautiful playing of Philharmonie Zuidnederland.” (Trans.)

Place de l’opera ★★★★★, November 2018


“Conductor Karel Deseure and Philharmonie Zuidnederland, on the other hand, shifted between different musical forms effortlessly. And so a chemistry emerged between the orchestra, singers and direction that revealed the inner essence of this opera: it is not about hearing but listening.” (Trans.)

NRC ★★★★, November 2018


“Bernstein’s music is accessible, but it is complex. The way in which Philharmonie Zuidnederland, Karel Deseure and the large cast gave the music shape is deserving of praise.” (Trans.)

de Volkskrant ★★★★, November 2018


“We have to revise the label ‘promising’ for conductor Karel Deseure; the man is a top conductor… Deseure conjured up with his baton sounds with the glow of Strauss, but also with the swing of Gershwin. The performance was compelling and overall a great pleasure.” (Trans.)

Opera Gazet, November 2018

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Opera Zuid / Verdi, “Un ballo in maschera”

“The main attraction is the Philharmonie Zuidnederland under the baton of young conductor Karel Deseure… Deseure leads the Philharmonie Zuidnederland in an excellent performance, allowing plenty of space and colour for Verdi’s light and dark meandering melodies.” (Trans.)
NRC, June 2018

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“…the true hero stands in the orchestra pit”
De Volkskrant, May 2016

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“It was the orchestra in the pit that commanded your attention. Led by the Belgian Karel Deseure (who made his opera conducting debut) the South Netherlands Philharmonic played with great warmth and engagement, with a sense of phrasing and musical direction, and with beautifully highlighted details
De Limburger, May 2016





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Artist Manager

Sarah Trelawny Ford (Cambridge)

Assistant Artist Manager

Grace Carter (London)
020 8588 9421