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Press about 'City of a Thousand Trades'

The Independent: ‘…the liveliness of Coppens’ score, which flits cheerfully from strings to electric guitar, in a nod to Birmingham’s heavy metal heritage.’ 

Broadway World UK: 'Mathias Coppens’ original score clashes and clangs…'

British Theatre GuideDrums from all over the world provide the beat; there’s electronica and a live orchestra, the Royal Ballet Sinfonia conducted by KoenKessels. Two towers behind the dancers hold two phenomenal drummers (Kevin Earley and Grahame King) under Michael Lee-Woolley’s ‘dark Satanic Mills’ lighting. 

The American: Mathias Coppens' score makes heavy use of percussion and electric guitars to echo the metal trades, and drums to signify the diversity of the place, but gladly doesn’t blow your ear drums like Hofesh Shechter. It manages to be unexpectedly lyrical despite the brief and the piece really comes alive in the pas de deux where the dancers are allowed to take flight.

Sunday Times: The score by Mathias Coppens is industrious too, its percussion including anvils, scaffolding and the drum from a washing machine. Everything clangs and chimes. When a squall of electric guitar—attribute to the local heroes Black Sabbat kicks in, the dancers hit a hefty groove: even letting off steam looks like hard work.

Bach Track: Coppens’ score is a fascinating hybrid of ideas, formed around a pulsing, rhythmic base of strong percussion (drummers were situated on an upstage platform), augmented by strings and electric guitars (inspired by the Birmingham rock legends of Black Sabbath) and punctuated by the arresting pace of Bailey’s inspirational poetry. The integration of the whole was never less than absorbing and it is to Altunaga’s credit that his choreography was not swallowed up by the visual and aural spectacle but retained its own indelible presence.

Seeing Dance: Alongside the small orchestra and its soulful strings, there’s an electric guitar, and best all of all, lots of percussion, played by Kevin Earley and Grahame King sat on scaffolding at the back of the stage above the action. Metal instruments and the sound of hammer on anvil represent the trades, while multiple drums represent the city’s different ethnic groups. There’s even a brake drum from a van (motor industry), a washing machine drum (electricalengineering), and bottles. It sounds odd but it works a treat and is a million miles from the difficult listen of so much contemporary dance music

Cutting Edge: Coppens' caldeidoscopic score for 'City of a Thousand Trades' shows that he is not afraid of eclecticism, but finds in it the possibility to generate a radically contemporary sound.

Press about 'We Denken de Wereld'

Cutting Edge: Unlike the three characters, whose individuality causes mutual friction from which the performance takes shape, the fourth character is: the music. Mathias Coppens' score is very close to the text: mysterious when the characters treat it differently, a release of energy when dormant discussions flare up, witty once the atmosphere becomes informal again.

Not only does Coppens feel and nourish the emotional charge of the words, from the outset his score is an allegory for the solution that the trio is working towards on stage. The composer integrates Eastern and African influences not to add an oriental effect or an exotic colour, but from a focused pursuit of a new language in which different ethnic elements merge into a unique whole that answers the question of the cultural origin of its building blocks.

Concert News: A lot also has to do with the somewhat skittish, at times hectic score by Mathias Coppens performed by I SOLISTI with Kasper Baele (oboe), Francis Pollet (bassoon) and Mathijs Everts (percussion), so that it all remains light and there is sufficient variety to be heard. Nowhere is the score heavy on the stomach.

Press about 'Flourishing Flowerfligh Fantasy'

Cutting Edge: Like a lavish rollercoaster, the score whirls past and through the various sections, always cheerful and witty, yet imbued with a hint of sadness. However, humor and orchestral sophistication predominate, in a headstrong yet accessible idiom that makes maximum use of the qualities of both the orchestra and the height of soprano Jolien De Ghendt. It is a feast for the ear and for the mind, and therefore a perfect ode to John Williams - king of the virtuoso and magnificent soundtracks.

Press about 'Tragedie'

Cutting Edge: Coppens modeled a series of clearly arranged arias from the almost one and a half century old relic, and he dragged Bizet into the 21st century.

How? With the synthesizer, as a symbol of a digital revolution that – it is hard to deny – has completely shaken up the soundscape of the past fifty years. Coppens, however, understands the art of dosing: he allows the synths to blend organically into the chamber music palette of deCompagnie, an ensemble that he helped to build up and which today can be counted among the top of the Belgian music scene. Sporadically, the composer-arranger opens up all the stops with penetrating, lingering tones, with an effect that is as refreshing as it is disruptive for the listener. Moreover, whenever Coppens sees the opportunity, he posits interludes that completely elude the discourse of Bizet's score. Not to showcase itself, but from the philosophy that tradition can only live on if it resonates with what lives in the here and now among the audience present.

Press about 'Music for Orchestra'

Bachtrack: Coppens combines the swinging and driving register of colorful percussion and fierce woodwinds with a hint of tragedy, then he achieves a fundamentally human balance between exuberance and melancholy.


The sound of Music for Orchestra is most extraordinary: the layered writing is undeniably modern, but the structural and harmonic flow is utterly accessible. In the language of Coppens, where the great feeling modeled on the canon merges with the sensuality of light music, it is as if the eras overlapped. The language of tradition abounds in jazz accents to gradually form an original unity.


Coppens' writing draws the maximum from the soul of each of the instruments. The use of the saxophone and the piano, for example, has nothing to do with a composer's "trick", but on the contrary adds nuances that raise this symphonic choreography to a higher level. The motifs that remain suspended also form an interesting fact for musicians who all benefit from a tailor-made identity. In this respect, the work does full honor to its title: Coppens treats the orchestra in the manner of a democratic principle, with a rich coloring as its repercussion.


Adrien Perruchon conducted the Symfonieorkest Vlaanderen well, which was obviously having fun. However, not all parts were perfectly mastered. Obviously, it is a question of repeating the work a few more times to make its swinging character more natural. Since Coppens regards Music for Orchestra as the first movement of a large-scale symphony, one can only hope that the composer gets the chance to create the other movements.


A revelation such as Music for Orchestra is enough to ensure the success of the evening

Press about Essence by Kugoni Trio

Cultuurpakt: Mathias Coppens wrote the Trio opus 20 in 2018 as an identity card for the three musicians together. He considered their personalities, their instruments and three pillars that are indispensable to him: conviction, freedom and transcendence. In addition to the deeper layering, the composition is also full of fresh accents to well-known composers and compositions from the past. After all, there is no better invitation to deepen than identification.


Essence is a thought-provoking album, which draws up the balance between tranquility and dynamics in order to ultimately come to rest and repentance. Essence, balance, ying and yang.

Press about Three Songs and Violin Sonata

Klassiek Centraal: That concert with those songs and also a composition for piano and violin as a gift for the first child of the artist couple Jolente De Maeyer and Nikolaas Kende who also performed the work – what an almost frightening thing that reflects the first impressions of what a baby' endured at birth – was of an absolute top level.

I write world class very deliberately. Coppens writes with a strong emotion, which he sets in all forms and tonally quite comprehensible and comprehensible. That is an example of how contemporary art can and may be. In fact, Coppens may well be doing what Mozart did: giving musical expression to all the emotions, feelings, influences and whatever else a person is continuously subjected to. Few are given to do it this way and those who can have something of genius and if so, then Matthias Coppens and Mozart find each other again. And just like Mozart, Coppens managed to attract the ideal singer to give his work, in this case that wonderful song cycle, its world premiere.

Press about TetraGonist

Sächische Zeitung (concert and recording Messiaen ‘Quatuor pour la fin du temps’): The piece, played by the musicians as tenderly and movingly as the composer would have liked, disappears as soon as it has faded away.

Opus Klassiek: Messiaen's 'Quatuor pour la fin du temps' quartet has a unique line-up and was in fact the starting point for the TetraGonist quartet (Tetra stands for four parts, in this case the size of the ensemble). on 15 January last the Tetragonist played the quartet of Messiaen on the site of the former camp Stalag VIIIa (not Stelag, as is printed in the CD booklet). It was a very impressive experience, both for the four musicians and for the audience.


It has already become clear from the foregoing: Messiaen's quartet is not war music, although it was written during the war and, moreover, in a camp under appalling conditions. Because of its religious character it rose above the camp reality. The other seven pieces by just as many composers on this CD are not so much a counterweight, but seem more intended as a response to Messiaen's usually contemplative quartet: "On the one hand, we wanted them to be a symbol of the different nationalities that made up the conflict at the time and who were therefore present in the camp, on the other hand we wanted to link that to the main styles that shaped the musical landscape in Europe at the beginning of the twentieth century and which inevitably influenced Messiaen in finding his musical vocabulary.' The concluding, rather clumsily formulated sentence (I also found that elsewhere) makes the further intention of the foursome nevertheless clear: 'At last we were looking for works that would use the full range of possibilities of the instrumentation and the combinations that Messiaen had not used. would supplement in order to arrive at a unity here too.' By the way, if you think you recognize the slow middle movement of Ravel's Piano Concerto in G in Montfort's 'Éclat de nacre', you hit the nail on the head.

All in all, it has become an extremely successful production that stands out for its high level of performance and interpretation, as well as for the exquisite dialogues between symbiosis and contrast that make these performances a compelling event. Jos Boerland has captured it all eminently.

Press about deCompagnie

Cutting Edge: Deeply melancholic and at the same time joyful and with humor


The sky is dark, rain. In this little church along the river Leie, not in some metropole begins the future of music. The young pianist and composer Mathias Coppens recorded his own music and was artist in residence with his ensemble deCompagnie. In the spirit of André Demedts, who gave his name to the concert hall, the landscape inspires young artists.


Coppens is only 25 but his name is already well known in the classical music world. His festival Infinizio in Amuz got a lot of attention. The programming was conceptual and eloquent. Famous musicians like Wim Henderickx, Levente Kende, Jan Vermeulen and Jozef De Beenhouwer all believe in his musical future. This was also the place where deCompagnie present themselves to the world. This group of seven musicians plays music in it’s first program with completely unknown repertoire.

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