Paul Van Nevel is the artistic director of the Huelgas Ensemble, which he founded in 1971 as an extension of his research and studies at the Schola Basiliensis. A pioneer and figurehead for the research and practice of European polyphony from the twelfth to the sixteenth century, Paul Van Nevel utilises an interdisciplinary approach to original sources, putting them into context with their cultural environment (literature, historical pronunciation, temperament and tempo, rhetoric etc.). He is continuously searching for unknown works, with particular attention to the treasures of Flemish polyphony.
He was a guest lecturer at the Sweelinck Conservatorium Amsterdam, the Musikhochschule Hannover, the Centre de Musique ancienne de Genève and for the last thirty years has been guest conductor of the Nederlands Kamerkoor.
Amongst other things he has written a monograph on Johannes Ciconia and a book about Nicolas Gombert. He has also had transcriptions of renaissance music published by the German publishing house Bärenreiter.
An exhaustive knowledge of the catalogues of Europe’s music libraries allows Paul Van Nevel to continually bring forgotten works to light, which are subsequently performed by his ensemble. His programmes both surprise and delight, thanks to inventive perspectives and an in-depth knowledge of the repertoires of the Medieval and Renaissance periods.
Paul Van Nevel has received countless awards, including the ‘Prix in Honorem’ of the Académie Charles Cros (1994), several ‘Diapason d’Or’ and ‘Choc de l’année’ (Le monde de la Musique), the ‘Edison Prijs’, the ‘Cannes Classical Award’, various ‘Caecilia’ prizes of the Belgian press, the ‘Carrièreprijs’ of the classical music radio station ‘Klara’, the Preis der deutschen Schallplattenkritik’, as well as several German ECHO Klassik music prizes. His recordings of ‘The Eton Choirbook’ (Sony Classical, 2012) and ‘La Oreja de Zurbarán’ (Cypres records, 2014) have attracted high praise from the global press. For the recording ‘Les trésors de Claude Le Jeune’ (Sony Classical, 2014) he recieved the ‘Diapason d'Or de l’année 2014’ and for ‘Wolfgang Rihm: Et lux’ (ECM, 2015) the ‘Diapason d'Or de l’année 2015’. Most recently Paul Van Nevel was awarded a ‘Choc du mois’ by ‘Classica’ magazine (February 2017 edition) and a ‘Preis der deutschen Schallplattenkritik’ (Bestenliste 1/2017) for his CD recording ‘The mirror of Monteverdi’.
In 2018 Paul Van Nevel’s book is published: “Het landschap van de polyfonisten: De wereld van de Franco-Flamands (1400-1600)“. Paul Van Nevel puts forward the hypothesis that the melancholic and imitative style of the Franco-Flemish School has its roots in the character of the landscape where the composers spent their childhood; a landscape of tranquility, refuge and melancholy.
Paul Van Nevel is an internationally famous ‘Cigarier’.