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Spectacular transformation in Walloon Brabant: from farm to concert hall

The high – very high – ceilings of the barn are criss-crossed with beams dating back to the 16th century and framed by characteristic red stones that contrast with the modern interior that is flooded with light. Much water has flown beneath the bridge since La Ferme du Biéreau  – meaning ‘beautiful view’ – in Louvain-la-Neuve, was a working farm building. Today this popular and famous concert hall, shines like a beacon on the musical landscape of Walloon Brabant. It is now described as the “centre for all types of music” and in addition to two concert halls, it has a state-of-the-art recording studio. Musicians of all genres perform on the stages here, from classic Baroque to impetuous rock and highly demanding jazz.

This season, the Ferme du Biéreau will welcome one of the winners of the Queen Elisabeth Competition, the French group Les Innocents, and the Flemish singer and pianist An Pierlé for an ‘acoustic siesta’.

The main reason for coming here therefore is the music although it is difficult to avert one’s gaze from the historic architectural features of the Ferme: its structure with half-timbered walls, the big central courtyard, the old walls of rough stone and sandstone. The former aristocratic nature of the place that is belied by the rural name of the property, is discreet… but a fine eye will recognise the coat of arms of the Abbess Anne Josèphe de la Croix on the main building. She is the person who initiated the reconstruction in the 18th century. It is partly listed and can be visited at all times as the courtyard is open to the public. But it is when the first notes of an orchestra resound that the Ferme reveals all its true magic.

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