Koen Kessels has been BRB’s Music Director since 2010, and has also been Music Director at The Royal Ballet since its 2015-16 season.

Koen studied at the Royal Flemish Conservatory of Music in Antwerp. He made his Royal Ballet debut in 2008 conducting The Nutcracker, and has since returned every season to conduct such repertory as Giselle, Symphony in C and world premieres including Raven Girl and Woolf Works.

Koen is a regular guest conductor at the Dutch National Ballet, the Opéra National de Paris and the Vienna State Opera, and has conducted for companies such as New York City Ballet, the Théâtre du Capitole de Toulouse, Teatro dell’ Opera di Roma, Teatro Real in Madrid and the New National Theatre in Tokyo.

His ballet repertory includes Le Parc, Coppélia, La Source, Sylvia, Proust, Cinderella, Hurlevent, Hommage à Jerôme Robbins, Giselle, Bolero, La Valse, Suite en Blanc, L’Arlésienne, The Nutcracker, Swan Lake, The Sleeping Beauty, The Firebird, Apollo, Les Noces, Prodigal Son, Jewels, Romeo and Juliet, Carmina burana and The Prince of the Pagodas. His DVD releases include Proust, Cinderella, Coppélia, Hommage à Jerôme Robbins and La Petite Danseuse with Paris Opéra Ballet, The Nutcracker with The Royal Ballet and Cinderella with Birmingham Royal Ballet.

Koen’s opera repertory includes Kaija Saariaho’s L’Amour de loin (Antwerp Opera); Toshio Hosokawa’s Hanjo and Nicholas Lens’s Shell Shock (with libretto by Nick Cave and choreography by Sidi Larki Cherkaoui; La Monnaie, Brussels); and operas by Mozart, Bizet, Verdi, Puccini, Britten and Maxwell Davies, among others.

Koen is an Honorary Professor at the University of Birmingham, Artistic Director of Inspiratum and on the artistic direction team at the Royal Conservatory of Antwerp. As Artistic Director of HERMESensemble, he has collaborated with composers such as Hans Abrahamsen, Pierre Bartholomée, George Benjamin, Luc Brewaeys, Pascal Dusapin, Luc Ferrari, Michael Zev Gordon, Wim Henderickx, Toshio Hosokawa, Luc van Hove, Klaus Huber, Yan Maresz, Tristan Murail, Younghi Pagh-Paan, Annelies van Parys, Kaija Saariaho, Joby Talbot and Gabriel Yared.