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Clarinets Raf De Keninck

Raf De Keninck (1973) was born in Duffel, Belgium. At the Royal Music Conservatory of Antwerp he studied at 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 destinction) in clarinet, bass clarinet and chamber music (certificate specialization finality). In the same year he also obtained his final diploma in Symphonic Wind Band conducting with great distinction at the class of Dirk De Caluwé. 


For his contributions in the field of contemporary chamber music he was awarded with several prices like BAP-Sabam Prize (1997) ,Willem Pelemans Prize (1997) and Dexia Classics (1992). Besides these prices he became 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 5th place at the international conductor competition in Kerkrade (2005). In 2006 he also became 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 promoting 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 clarinetchoir' 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 solopart by the world prémiere of the piece "Tanstaafel" (Festival voor Vlaanderen Gent) written bij 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 broadcasted 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 in 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, ...

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 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 is a member of the "Trio Energico". A clarinet, violin and piano trio that 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" Amsterdam.

For 15 years Raf was the artistic leader of the Emanon Ensemble. With a result of more than 100 world creations for major festivals or live broadcasts his impact on the Flemish music scene is startling.  (Festival of Flanders, Unseco 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 tof these orchestras. Soon he became active in chamber music and the symphonic music world, but continued to confirm himself in the world of the wind bands.Throughout the years he was permanent chief conductor of numerous orchestras in both the Netherlands and Flanders. He has conducted as a guest in France, Spain, Portugal, China and Japan.

As an adviser in the field of wind band he worked on the realization of BOOST. A special quality program for windbands setup by BBM and KNMO.


Together with his wind orchestras he has won countless first prizes and laureate titles on the top levels.At the moment he is since 2018 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. This ensemble produced also 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 has 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 features collaboration in ensembles as well as interdisciplinary art.  More information about the program you can find on this page.


From November 2019 Raf De keninck is appointed as 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 that proceed to make their mark on the future and has done so for over 75 years. It is recognised 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, specialised in training students in different design perspectives in order to produce critical and socially engaged designers. More information about Design Academy Eindhoven you can find here.

As a judge he is on the panels of the KNMO, VLAMO, Dexia Classics and the European Music Festival for Young People at Pelt (B).

From 2015 until 2020 Raf was a member of the Advisory Board at the prestigious chamber music series “Royal Souvenir des Montagnards”. He's also acting as board member in several cultural organizations. Since 2019 he is chairman of an organization for contemporary music based in Eindhoven ( POM - Paviljoen Ongehoorde Muziek). Since 2012 he's also a member of the artistic committee from the European Music Festival for Young People at Pelt (B).  In 2016 Raf succesfully finished at the leading Dutch institute "De Baak"  a fourteen month long course on leadership. (Leadership Entrepeneurship Advanced Program) 

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