Françoise Vanhecke


Vocal Artist - Actress - Pianist - Improvisation - Composer - Researcher


Irma Bilbao
Facts sheet (pdf - Dutch)
Françoise Vanhecke alias Irma Bilbao

started composing when she was 13 years old. Her talent was soon discovered by Luc Goosen and Jan Decadt, who used her piano pieces as obligatory material at the Urban Academy of Harelbeke. She immediately got favourable reviews. In 1995 she wrote 'Jong bloed' on a text by the poet Guido Gezelle, for a broadcast on Classical Radio (Klara) in the city of Kotrijk. One of the spectators, Willem Vermandere, was immediately fond of it!

For a recital named 'Pikant' at the Theatre of Kortrijk with female composers, she then decided to perform her own work. In 2003 Irma Bilbao got a grant from the New York Women Composers to perform her soloprogram 'More than a voice' (New York, 2004). Composers as Mauricio Kagel, Boudewijn Buckinx, Maria de Alvear... praise her creativity as a composer.

Member of Sabam, ISCM, Matrix (online composer file) and Comav.

Her music is performed in Belgium, Ukraine, Bulgary, USA, Italy, the Netherlands, Indonesia, Vietnam, Germany, Austria, England, Brazil, France, Lituania.
About her work

February 2004 - N.Y. Impacto - Peter Bloch (U.S.Delegate, Academic Society, 'Arts-Sciences-Lettres' of France, President, Association for Puerto Rican-Hispanic culture, Inc.):

"There are few singers who use the piano in a public concert. The Belgian soprano Françoise Vanhecke accepts the challenge and succeeds with brilliance. Sometimes she also uses a bongo. She has a wonderful voice with a surprising timbre, a deep poetic understanding, an impressive vocal technique and a sense of humour.
Françoise Vanhecke has been presented in a series "Oeuvres de Femmes" at the Greenwich House Music School and was lavished with praise after her extraordinary concert with songs by some 15 contemporary composers.
I would especially like to mention 'Jong bloed', a poem by the great Flemish poet Guido Gezelle, which Françoise Vanhecke brought a cappella. But the entire program was fascinating. Really, a splendid musical phenomenon."

February 2004 - September 2004 - International Association of Women in Music Journal (IAWM) Mark Greenfest, New York Connoisseur in New York:

"Françoise Vanhecke, a Belgian soprano, pianist, percussionist and composer was the soloist on February 25, 2004 for the 3rd concert in the series, "Women's Work' which took place at the RENEE WEILER RECITAL HALL in New York City.
The series was a collaboration between Greenwich House Arts & New York Women Composers, Inc. 'Jong Bloed' is a Dutch a cappella chant with bongo drum - both percussive and dramatic.

"Ku Soko" for voice, piano and bongo from 1990 with text and music by Jacqueline Fontyn (translated into Swahili by Dr. Ntihi Nuyrma M. and adaptation made by Irma Bilbao with permission of J. Fontyn) was a colourful, wondrous interpretation of a song by one of Belgium's finest composers, sung in Swahili, with piano and touches of bongo. The language was poetic and fresh. Ms. Vanhecke is an amazing performer."

Maurizio Kagel - 2004

"Ich finde Ihre Arbeit interessant und mit reichhaltigen Bezügen zu anderen Disziplinen. Für die Weiterentwicklung Ihres Kompositionen wünsche ich Ihnen viel Erfindungsgeist und Erfolg."

Brian Olewnick, Jersey City, New Jersey

"About East Crete, created by Darge in collaboration with Françoise Vanhecke, trumps them all. The cloistered nature of the prior work opens up into true space and life. Crickets again, in waves, engines, voices of old and young, recorded pop, air, water, everything. One assumes a good deal of construction went into the piece but it sounds entirely convincing as a particularly alive and fascinating environment; the listener resides there. Absolutely wonderful and worth the price of entry."

Daniëlle Baas - 2010

"Encore félicitations pour ton œuvre qui m'a captivée, entre le rire et l'émotion."

Piano, violin and cello
  • Selection Out of Oud (composition for Oud (Arabic lute) Viola and Contrabass by Irma Bilbao Fingerprints in collaboration with Componisten Archipel Vlaanderen (ComAV) Kunstenpunt (Flanders Arts Institute) Sabam for Culture & VRT-Publishing. Recording of the piece at studio Toots Natonal Radio VRT/Reyerslaan.
  • Out of Oud for Viola: 2018 - Oud (Arabic Lute) - Contrabass / Contest selection for Fingerprints 3rd edition in collaboration with Klara, Componisten Archipel Vlaanderen (Comav) & Kunstenloket
  • Spirto 3: 2010 / dedicated to Lieven Debrauwer & Danielle Baas / First Performance 'Femmes du monde, sur les traces de Chopin', Centre Armillaire, 1090 Bruxelles.
    Performed by Trio Européen: Elisabeth Deletaille, violin - Bruno Espiola, cello - André Grignard, piano.
    International performance: 2011, Philharmonic society in Yekaterinburg / chamber hall. Russian première of Liszt-trio: Eugenie Markov, violin - Natalia Kabilkova, cello - Vladimir Ignatenko, piano. The 2011 concert was recorded by Oleg Vachrushev.
    Impression of the concert by Canary Burton (Seabird Studio, US Radio): "I am still glowing about the whole concert. A major event in my musical life. The musicians were wonderful. Rather like our Carnegie Hall. A big hall and a chamber hall both with the huge posters. Nice audience too." (audio)
  • A-musette: 2014
  • April 2014 : Piano Album, dedicated to king Filip of Belgium. Click here to view the cover of the album or click here for an excerpt.
  • Uit mijn wereldje: 1971 Performed in Belgium
  • Musette: 1971
  • Romance-Romana: 1972 Performances in Belgium, Bulgaria (2010), 13th International Festival ppIANISSIMO, recording at the National Radio of Sofia (audio)
    Romance Romana
    Romance Romana
  • Bim Bam-Bim Bam, children's music: 1972
  • Study: 1972
  • Finger exercises: A 1972
  • Finger exercises B with variations: 1972
  • Baasmusette: 2018 Osmose Festival, Espace Toots Evere, Brussels. First performed 1/12/18 by Sachiko Yoshida and Fabio Schinazi and at La Boverie / Liège (Belgium) Watch you tube video
  • A-musette 2014
  • Shadows: 2007 First Performance: Festival de Musique Belge Contemporaine EMERGENCE 2007, Péniche Equisonnance, Ittre (Belgium)
    Performed by Anne van den Bossche and Jean-Noë Remiche.
Instrumental with voice
  • Covid 19-Coronasong 2020 for voice and piano (acoustic version)
    Coronasong acoustic version
  • Covid 19-Coronasong 2020 for voice and orchestra (orchestral version)
    Coronasong orchestral version
  • ICVT-song (sing-along song): 2017 First performance ICVT (International Congress of Voice Teachers Stockholm 2017
    ICVT-Song (sing-along song (or solo-song)
  • Pevoc-song (sing-along song): 2017
  • Spirto 5: 2017 for soprano, ISFV® voice, oceandrum, tape, robots and inhaling singing ISFV® choir & tape
  • Wednesday 24 September 2014 - 20h00, Logos Tetraeder, Bomastraat 24-26-28, 9000 GHENT.
    Smile (alto and voice (ISFV) (first performance) by Irma Bilbao. Performers: Alto: Dominica Eyckmans & Voice (ISFV): Françoise Vanhecke.
  • Evta-song for Belgium (sing-along song) 2014, written for voice(s) and piano by Irma Bilbao
  • Little but... : 2013. T"M: Irma Bilbao. Including the first notations made especially for ISFV, Inhaling Singing by Françoise for voice (ISFV), Mini Dan Trung (bamboo xylophone), piano or + ad libitum strings such as cello, contrabass, basson, (bass)clarinet, bass-flute or robot (f.e. Klar, Horni, Fa, Heli, Bono) and laughtersack. First performance by Françoise Vanhecke and Katrijn Friant in December 2013. Click here for the music score.
  • Flexavoice for voice and flexatone): 2013 (including ISFV, Inhaling Singing by Françoise Vanhecke). First performance by Françoise Vanhecke at Ghent Logosfoundation in 2013.
  • Lascia ch'io pianga (Händel/Bilbao): 2006 for voice and piano.
  • Rencontre (mélodie): 2007 First Performance / France, for voice and piano.
  • Joyeux Anniversaire (mélodie): 2007 for voice, piano and bongo (or small percussion): First Performance / France
  • 'Jong Bloed': 1995 / Text: Guido Gezelle for voice, piano and bongo. First Performance Radio Klara.
  • Ku Soko: 2003 for a solo performance. Text: Swahili. First Performance in Belgium, USA, Italy, Germany.
    Jacqueline Fontyn/Irma Bilbao, for voice, piano and bongo (or little percussion) (audio).
  • Spirto: 2005 (dedicated to Karmella Tsepkolenko), text: 'the Tyger' from William Blake & Irma Bilbao.
    First Performance for the 11th International Festival of Modern Art, April, 22-24, 2005, Odessa, Ukraine / 2D2N 'Two Days and Two Nights of New Music'.
    Performed by Françoise Vanhecke. For voice, bongo (or little percussion) and torch.
  • Smek: 2008 (dedicated to Stephan Vermeersch in memoriam Karlheinz Stockhausen) (audio, video Duo Phoenix performing Smek). First Performance at Logos Foundation/Gent/Belgium.
    Performed in Ukraine (International festival 2D2N Odessa), the Netherlands, Bulgary (13th International Festival of Contemporary Music/Bulgarian National Radio Concert Studio in Sofia, Lithuanya. For voice, Clarinet Sib, bongo (or little percussion) and torch.
  • Spirto 2: 2010 (dedicated to Milen Panayotov and Stephan Vermeersch) First Performance at the 13th International Festival of Contemporary Music/Bulgarian National Radio Concert Studio in Sofia. For voice, piano, Clarinet Sib, bongo (or little percussion) and torch.(audio)
  • Souterliedekens : 2011
    An assignment as composer to re-invent the 150 'Souterliedekens' from Clemens non Papa, respecting the original cantus firmus and the Dutch language. (See also the website.) (audio sample with voice; instrumental audio fragment)
  • Bird song: 2014 for ISFV® voice
  • 2V2P (2 Voices, 2 Persons and 2 fingerwalking puppets: 2010 (for Moniek Darge & Françoise Vanhecke). First Performance, Logos Foundation Gent 2010.
    Poppentheater FraMon
  • Roll Up (for 3 voices/performers): first performance at Performedia Festival 2011/Ponte Nossa in Italy.
  • Bossa Bama: voice poetry for 2 voice performers. Creation at the Audio Art Festival in Krakow 2012, in collaboration with Moniek Darge.

Choir Music
  • Patchwork: 2017 for ISFV® voice. Recording included in Spirto 5 (2017) Creation 21/06/17- Logos Foundation Ghent
  • First performance of Kritsa by "De 2de Adem", May 2013 concert 'Van Parijs tot Bilbao"
  • Kritsa:2008 for SATB.

Theatre Music
  • Baste Diva: 2011 in collaboration with Lieven Debrauwer
  • Club Medea: 2005, theatre music for object theatre for soprano, voice and seadrum/Oceandrum. First Performance at the Internationaal Poppentheaterfestival in Belgium and the Netherlands, Germany, Indonesia and Austria.
    Club Medea

  • Mai wei: 2013
  • Kunst: 2000
  • Waar is Fleury Rose: 2001
  • Over the Hills: 2007
  • Laat me uitspatten: 2009 (exposition Zee)

  • East Crete, Mother Goddess (composed by Françoise Vanhecke/Moniek Darge): 2008-2009.
    First Performance was played at The Experimental Intermedia Foundation NYC. They (duo Framon) did a live performance at the International festival Colour out of Space in Brighton, Sallis Benney Theatre 2009/England (+ on CD 'Crete Soundies' Moniek Darge, edited by Kye, New York).
    First Performance in Belgium at Logos Foundation / Gent in 2010.
  • Gallop (a composition by Françoise Vanhecke and Moniek Darge) : 2011
    First Performance on the occasion of the Concert at "ISSUE Project Room" in Brooklyn / New York, November 2011.
    Performance at the Audio Art Festival in Krakow / Poland (2012).

  • IMPRO MPAA: 2009 Auditorium Saint-Germain des Pres/ Paris/ France
    Improvisations including ISFV
  • Free Breeze: 2007 (together with Etienne Rolin) and many others used for contemporary performings and CD's.

Electro Pop

Contact: +32 (0)475 64 41 07

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