Raf De Keninck (1973) was born in Duffel, Belgium. He studied at the Royal Music Conservatory of Antwerp in the class of the famous clarinettist Walter Boeykens. Important inspirers at that time were Ivo Lybeert, Raymond Dils, Jan Guns, Theo Mertens, and Leo Verheyen.
In 1998, he obtained the Academic Master Degree (with highest distinction) in clarinet, bass clarinet, and chamber music (certificate specialization finality). In the same year, he also obtained his final master diploma in Symphonic Wind Band conducting with great distinction in the class of Dirk De Caluwé.
For his contributions in the field of contemporary chamber music, he was awarded several prizes such as the BAP-Sabam Prize (1997), Willem Pelemans Prize (1997), and Dexia Classics (1992). He became a laureate of various national and international competitions such as Pro Civitatea (1992), laureate of the biennial international competition 'Orpheus-Prize' section Soloist (1997), laureate of the chamber music competition José-Vigneront (1998), laureate of the Nationale Chamber music competition in Almere (2005), and he achieved the 5th place at the international conductor competition in Kerkrade (2005). In 2006, he also became a semi-finalist of the international chamber music competition 'Gaetano Zinetti' in Verona, Italy.
In 2014, the Belgian Union of Composers honored him with a “Fuga Trophy” for his years of commitment to and promotion of Flemish music.
As a clarinettist, he collaborated with numerous orchestras and conductors both in Flanders and on the international music scene. He provided productions with the Beethoven Academy, Orchestre Philharmonique de Liège, Orchester symphonique de la Monnaie, Champ d'Action, and various occasional ensembles. He was a soloist with the 'Walter Boeykens clarinet choir,' and in 2004, he also created the clarinet concerto "IK" at the Festival of Flanders. This clarinet concerto was written by the Greek composer D. Andrikopoulos. In 2019, he played the clarinet solo part in the world premiere of the piece "Tanstaafel" (Festival voor Vlaanderen Gent) written by Frank Nuyts together with the CASCO PHIL Orchestra. As a clarinettist and on bass clarinet, he created dozens of works that can be heard on radio recordings and CD productions. He provided numerous chamber music concerts that were broadcast live by the Belgian radio channel KLARA and the Dutch concert channel Radio 4. He could be heard in 2006 in a solo program during 'KLARA in the city of Geel,' and in 2005, there was a broadcast by the Dutch Radio 4 from the Royal Concertgebouw in Amsterdam, where he performed with the Trio Energico.
Raf De Keninck contributed to concerts and performances heard in countries such as Belgium, The Netherlands, Germany, Spain, France, Portugal, Switzerland, Sweden, England, Poland, Austria, Czech Republic, Italy, Turkey, Japan, China, Cyprus, and others.
As a passionate advocate for interdisciplinary projects, Raf maintains a striking long-term collaboration with composer/visual artist George De Decker with whom he explores the boundaries of visuals, concepts, and sounds. Besides several performances, this collaboration resulted in a solo CD. (Carnets de Voyage)
In his work as a chamber musician and conductor, Raf De Keninck has received praise from soloists, composers, and music educators. A striking aspect of his musical performance is his determination to bring across every aspect of the music to his audience and his fellow performers. Since 2002, he has been a member of the "Trio Energico," a clarinet, violin, and piano trio that has performed concerts in Belgium, the Netherlands, and Italy. One of the highlights of this trio is certainly the live recording and broadcasting at "The Royal Concertgebouw" in Amsterdam.
For 15 years, Raf was the artistic leader of the Emanon Ensemble. With more than 100 world creations for major festivals or live broadcasts, his impact on the Flemish music scene is impressive (Festival of Flanders, Unesco World Festival, RAI, CANVAS, TRT...).
Raf De Keninck has been associated with wind bands since a very young age. As a 15-year-old, he also took his first steps as a conductor of these orchestras. Soon he became active in chamber music and the symphonic music world but continued to establish himself in the world of wind bands. Throughout the years, he was the permanent chief conductor of numerous orchestras in both the Netherlands and Flanders. He has also conducted as a guest in France, Spain, Portugal, China, and Japan.
As an advisor in the field of wind bands, he worked on the realization of BOOST, a special quality program for wind bands set up by BBM and KNMO. Together with his wind orchestras, he has won countless first prizes and laureate titles at the highest levels. Currently, since 2018, he is the chief conductor of the wind orchestra Sint-Caecilia Blerick (NL).
From 2010-2012, he worked for Fontys University of Fine and Performing Arts as a coordinator and professor of chamber music, bass clarinet, conducting (baton technique), and ensemble conducting.
From 2013 until 2016, he was the artistic director of the Flemish Sinfonietta. With this high-quality ensemble, he achieved several live recordings for the Belgian radio, and the ensemble also produced several CD recordings.
Raf De Keninck was appointed as Director of Music at Fontys University of Fine and Performing Arts in Tilburg, the Netherlands. In his role as Director of Music (2012-2020), he laid the foundation for a radical overhaul of the Tilburg Conservatory. He developed a new educational vision that is attuned to the needs of the modern, fast-changing world. This vision culminated in the Academy of Music and Performing Arts, an international course dedicated to educating tomorrow’s musicians and featuring collaboration in ensembles as well as interdisciplinary art. More information about the program can be found on this page.
Since November 2019, Raf De Keninck has been appointed as an Executive Board Member of the prestigious Design Academy Eindhoven. Design Academy Eindhoven (DAE) is one of the world’s leading design schools. The academy trains designers who proceed to make their mark on the future and has done so for over 75 years. It is recognized for its forward-thinking and renowned professors and alumni, who have made great advances in the design field. It is currently home to a community of many nationalities and cultures. Design Academy Eindhoven is a University of the Arts that is part of the Universities of Applied Sciences, offering both BA and MA degrees, specialized in training students in different design perspectives to produce critical and socially engaged designers. More information about Design Academy Eindhoven can be found here.
Raf De Keninck serves as a judge on the panels of various organizations including KNMO, BBM, VLAMO, Dexia Classics, and the European Music Festival for Young People at Pelt (B). He was a member of the Advisory Board at the prestigious chamber music series "Royal Souvenir des Montagnards" from 2015 until 2020, and currently serves as a board member in several cultural organizations. Additionally, he has been the chairman of POM (Paviljoen Ongehoorde Muziek), an organization for contemporary music based in Eindhoven, since 2019. He has been a member of the artistic committee of the European Music Festival for Young People at Pelt (B) since 2012. In 2016, Raf successfully completed a fourteen-month-long course on leadership, the Leadership Entrepreneurship Advanced Program, at the leading Dutch institute, "De Baak."
Latest updates and more info @ https://www.linkedin.com/in/rafdekeninck/