Albert Wastiaux, General Manager
Born in the Netherlands in 1956, Albert Wastiaux arrived in Belgium at the age of four. A jazz enthusiast, he started to play the guitar as a teenager and followed courses under Marcel Bossu and Paolo Radoni. After graduating from the European School in Ukkel/Uccle, he studied musicology at the ULB, before going on to obtain an educational qualification in 1983.
His working career began in 1984 as Administrative Secretary of the Conseil de la Musique of Belgium's French-speaking Community. At the same time he continued to perform at festivals and concerts with his band. In the late 1980s he gradually reduced his musical activity in order to concentrate more on his professional life. A turning point came in 1988 when he joined Belgium's French-language public broadcasting service, the RTBF, and became administrator of its Symphony Orchestra and later assistant manager of its radio service. His proven skills as a manager and organiser in the cultural sphere led to his appointment in 1992 as Departmental Head at the service's music channel, Musiq3, where his responsibilities included organising the programme schedule and developing contacts with the different players of Belgian and European musical life. "At each stage he won over – and sometimes disconcerted – those he dealt with by his capacity for work, his independence, and his quirky sense of humour..." (La Libre Belgique, 2003)
In May 1998 he was appointed Intendant (General Manager) of the National Orchestra of Belgium. "When Albert Wastiaux arrived, he threw everything into turning things around. His enthusiasm was extraordinary. To begin with, he tackled the restructuring of the Orchestra with a view to breathing new life into it and shattering its old-fashioned image." (Trends Tendances, 2011). Under his influence, the orchestra's repertoire was expanded and diversified. He gave its musicians the opportunity to work with first-class Music Directors, who brought to their tasks dynamism and a spirit of renewal, on the one hand (Mikko Franck, 2002–2007), and wisdom and experience, on the other (Walter Weller, 2007–2012). With the arrival of Andrey Boreyko (2012–2017) as Music Director, a new, more contemporary and creative, chapter was opened. The orchestra's visibility has been extended beyond the country's borders too. Germany, Switzerland, Italy, Croatia, Central Europe, Asia: one tour has followed another and the NOB brand now enjoys international recognition. NOB recordings on the Fuga Libera label, which have won a number of awards, have helped to spread its fame. To mark the NOB's 75th anniversary, for the first time in its history, Albert Wastiaux launched a bilingual publicity campaign aimed at the general public, whose public faces were none other than Kim Gevaert, Ozark Henry, and the pianist Hélène Grimaud. Wastiaux has also made a considerable contribution to the consolidation and enhancement of educational projects that aim to introduce young people to classical music at a very early age. "This is also one of our priorities, as it strengthens our credibility. Today's NOB is a modern cultural enterprise." (Le Soir, 2011)
Albert Wastiaux serves on the boards of a number of institutions and associations, including those of the Ars Musica Festival and the Orchestre Royal de Chambre de Wallonie. He is also Vice-president of the Conseil de la Musique of the Fédération Wallonie-Bruxelles.
In November 2011 the federal government awarded him the medal of an Officer in the Order of Leopold.