Koen Kessels, born in Oostende, Belgium, studied at the Antwerp Royal Flemish Conservatory of Music.
He was appointed Music Director of Birmingham Royal Ballet in 2010 and of The Royal Ballet from the start of the 2015/16 Season.
He is a regular guest conductor for Dutch National Ballet, Vienna State Opera Ballet, Ballet Opéra National de Paris, and Théâtre du Capitole and has conducted for such companies as New York City Ballet, Teatro dell’ Opera di Roma, Teatro Real Madrid, the New National Theatre Tokyo, the Brussels La Monnaie/deMunt, Bayerisches staatsballet Munich, la Scala Milan, Kunliga Operan Stockholm.
His ballet repertory includes Coppélia, La Source, Sylvia, Giselle, Don Quichote, Cinderella, Romeo and Juliet, Nutcracker, Swan Lake, The Sleeping Beauty, The Firebird, Petrushka, Apollo, Les Noces, Prodigal Son, Jewels, The Prince of the Pagodas, Hurlevent, Carmina Burana, Proust ou l’Intermittence du Coeur, Hommage à Jerôme Robbins, Two Pigeons, Le Parc, Symphony in C, M Julie, Bolero, La Valse, Suite en Blanc, L’Arlésienne, Fall River Legend, Alice’s adventures in Wonderland, After the Rain, Within the Golden Hour, Judas Tree, and World Premieres of Psyche, Untouchable, Flight Patterns, Frankenstein, Symphonic Dances, Strapless, Corybantic Dances, Raven Girl, Woolf Works, Yugen, Sunyata, Processen
DVD releases include Proust, Cinderella, Coppélia, Hommage à Jerôme Robbins and La Petite Danseuse with Paris Opera Ballet, The Nutcracker, The Sleeping Beauty, Swan Lake, Frankenstein, Woolf Works, Bernstein Tribute with The Royal Ballet and Cinderella with BRB.
Opera repertory includes Saariaho’s L’Amour de loin (Antwerp Opera), Hosokawa’s Hanjo (De Keersmaeker), Lens/Cave/Cherkaoui Shell Shock (La Monnaie, Brussels) and operas by Mozart, Bizet, Verdi, Puccini, Britten and Maxwell Davies, among others.
Kessels is an honorary professor of Birmingham University, Artistic Director of Inspiratum and president of the artistic direction team at the Royal Conservatory of Antwerp. As Artistic Director of HERMESensemble he has collaborated with such composers as Abrahamsen, Bartholomée, Benjamin, Brewaeys, Ferrari, Henderickx, Hosokawa, Van Hove, Zev Gordon, Dusapin, Huber, Maresz, Murail, Pagh-Paan, Van Parys, Saariaho, Talbot and Yared.
Photo © N. Timonera