A research focus on an individual has the advantage of clarity; the work revolves around that person! Modern biographical historiography, however, has come a long way from the highly acclaimed hagiographies of half a century ago. The researcher will no longer pursue a rather static and vertically compartmentalized perspective, but, on the contrary, will show a broad and horizontal view of the individual, his environment, his time, his institutions, his networks, etc. Thus, we use the oeuvre, role and significance of the Antwerp composer Flor Alpaerts (1876-1954) as a lens to bring the musical culture and practice of Antwerp in the 1920s into focus. In his capacity as director of the conservatory, as conductor of the zoo concerts, as director of the Flemish Opera and as an internationally renowned composer and conductor, Alpaert’s career offers an ideal cross-section.
The project aims to study this artist with particular attention to artistic, social and ideological networks. In this fashion, Alpaerts traces liberal and Masonic circles as a cultural force in Antwerp from the first half of the twentieth century. The project also aims to pursue completeness regarding its total artistic production by compiling a complete catalog of Alpaert’s work. Some works will be republished and some works will be published for the first time as ready-to-play editions and the findings will be shared with the artistic and scientific field.
The finish line is set in the spring of 2024. As a final result, this project provides of a number of scores, the composer's correspondence of several hundred letters and a cultural biography for the publication, which put Alpaert's life and work in context. His music will be central to a special edition of the 'Stadsklanken' festival in collaboration with the leading cultural players in Antwerp. The insights gained will not only be shared in scientific publications and symposia, but will also be accessible to a wider audience through lectures, workshops and walks within the context of socio-cultural adult work.