Dionysos Now! is the vocal ensemble of inspirer and artistic director Tore Tom Denys (tenor). It is a fairly young ensemble (founded in 2020) with a very personal timbre and with great attention to textual content and articulation. It brings together singers with the necessary international experience in polyphony with top ensembles such as Collegium Vocale Gent, Huelgas ensemble, The Tallis Scolars, Les Musicien du Louvre,… Rediscovering the composer Willaert is an important mission for Dionysos Now!
The further unlocking of this Renaissance music is thereby linked to contemporary polyphony in new compositions.
Dionysos Now! sets resounding cathedrals where the building blocks seem to merge into the whole, with the radiant music generating effervescent energy that is far more than the sum of its individual parts.
Starting from this wonderful phenomenon – typical of 16th-century polyphonic music – Dionysos “Now!” wants to make the link to today and unlock and share the relevant beauty of these 500-year-old music and singing techniques and approaches with the 21st-century listener.
Dionysos Now! aims to bridge old and new music, appealing to new audiences and allowing as many people as possible to discover this polyphonic music in surprising ways.
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Counting down to the Passion-season ! Première of the St Johnspassion by Adriaen Willaert ! 23.3 Brussels (B), Church St Jacob op de Coudenberg www.klarafestival.be www.bozar.be 24.3 Melsen (B), Church Santo Stefano www.achillesconcept.be 26.3 Roma (It), Chiesa San Lorenzo 27.4 Antwerp (B), deSingel www.desingel.be Enjoy this preview !
with Spectra ensemble Filip Rathé Louise Bergez Filip Dámec Jan Petryka Bernd Fröhlich Tim Scott Whiteley Tore Denys
With Spectra ensemble, Filip Rathé, Filip Dámec, Bernd Fröhlich, Jan Petryka, Tim Scott Whiteley and Tore Denys. Tomorrow second one in Ghent !
Dionysos Now! enters into a co-production with Spectra Ensemble for the world premiere “THOU!”. A new composition by Dominique Pauwels, on lyrics by Peter Verhelst and inspired by a philosophical treatise by Ignaas Devisch. Dionysos Now! will provide the polyphony and act as the Greek choir, so this time with a new contemporary work. World […]
A new live recording is online, folks! Stop scrolling, click on the link here orcd.co and enjoy the music of Maistre Jhan! Choose your preferred channel : Spotify, Apple Music, Deezer or Tidal. Maistre who? Yes, indeed, I thought the same when I discovered him in the music prints of Ferrara, where – although neglected till today […]
Live concerts by Dionysos Now! bring another dimension to the experience of this polyphony music. Below you will find the agenda for the coming months and the associated ticket links. Hope to see you at one of the concerts!
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With Dionysos Now! I would like to demonstrate that Renaissance vocal polyphony is extremely interesting music that deserves to be made known to a wider audience.
Dionysos Now! wants to establish cathedrals out of sounds, where you perceive the music as if you were flying a Drone far above those cathedrals. The building blocks are all there, but they seem to merge into the whole, into the “gestalt”, with the radiant music generating far more vibrant energy than the sum of its tones, the infectious flow in the music being sought and captured, like a surfer who seems to have found the perfect wave and seizes his chance to float on it before it ebbs away again…
The ‘vehicle’ we want to use to try to demonstrate this wonderful phenomenon, or at least what we want to start with, is the music of Roeselare-based composer Adriaen Willaert.
Much of his music has remained in libraries for over 450 years. Unjustified. At the time, Adriaen Willaert was one of the most revered musicians in Europe. Singer, educator, chapel master, composer, and above all humanist. He was a ‘master’ to many composers who would in turn become stars of their generation. Musicians from all over Europe came to Venice to discover and develop innovative elements of the ‘musiklehre’ with him. Willaert would continue to work there until his death, for 35 (!) years, as chapel master at St Mark’s Basilica …
With Adriaen Willaert’s music, we want to penetrate the spirit of that time, a turbulent time, not much different from how times are now, constantly changing, and sometimes more confrontational than we ourselves might or would first want to believe.
Ancient Polyphony is newer today than ever, and we want to demonstrate that.
Tore Tom Denys, founder
Those who read carefully will discover in the name Dionysos Now! the reference to Denys: Tore Tom Denys is the founder and artistic director of the ensemble.
Also in Greek mythology, Dionysos Now! is the growth force of the earth and human civilisation, spirit and enthusiasm, god of wine (construction) and fruit growing, poetry, theatre and music. As god of peace, he brings people together and as victor over death, he is god of the underworld. He had an important influence on the life, thinking and work of the Greeks and Romans in several ways.
An ideal figurehead, then, from a great recognition for Willaert’s work and with great enthusiasm, to want to share this oeuvre with a large audience in the most diverse forms. Tore Tom Denys’ ambition is to chart the work of his “fellow townsman” through concerts and original CD recordings and give him the fame he deserves.
The ensemble works and rehearses from Vienna but has an international base and unites top soloists in polyphony. Tore Tom Denys has his own clear vision of how he wants to perform Willaert’s oeuvre with care for the original manuscripts and scores.
Ensemble Dionysos Now! is a flexible project where the base consists of 6 voices that can be expanded to polyphonic or supplemented with an instrumental ensemble depending on the programme. To this end, a permanent collaboration will be established with several internationally renowned ensembles.
Tore Denys has felt a passion for music and singing for as long as he can remember. At family parties, he was the entertainer who played guitar on the table and enjoyed imitating singers. ” I knew very early on that I wanted to do music. My mother says she always heard me singing in the house too.” Tore studied trumpet at the music school and completed his education at the conservatories of Ghent and Antwerp. Meanwhile, however, singing continued to attract him. Still during his studies, he toured with the World Youth Choir and went on to study singing at the Vienna Conservatory. Tore joined the Arnold Schönberg Chor and the choir of the Vienna State Opera. As a tenor, he was able to deepen his interest in early music and polyphony within the Belgian Capilla Flamenca. Since 2004, however, most of his time has been devoted to the ensemble he himself founded, Cinquecento. In doing so, Tore aims to bring Renaissance music out of libraries. Based in Vienna, they tour the world for concerts and festivals within the unique branch of historical music.
Now a second ensemble, Dionysos Now!, is joining the band, which aims to focus mainly on unlocking the musical legacy of Adriaen Willaert.
While studying trumpet at the conservatory, Tore was already singing regularly with the World Youth Choir. His student job as a supertitler at the Flanders Opera also nurtured a love of singing. “So I sat there with my master’s degree in trumpet while I was actually drawn to singing. So when I was 24, I decided I wanted to be a singer and I was determined to make that dream come true abroad. Only I could not get a scholarship anywhere because I was a trumpet player and I could not “prove” my ability as a singer. I then wanted to go there on my own, but that was almost nowhere affordable, except in Vienna. Much to my surprise, I was accepted immediately after my entrance exam and moved there. I still live in Vienna now,though I am often on tour or abroad for performances.
With his ensemble, Tore entertains audiences with Renaissance music during those performances. Since 2006, they have also had a record deal with English Hyperion. Het succes van hun muziek uitte zich in verschillende prijzen. “I founded the group Cinquecento because I noticed that Vienna, the pre-eminent music city, did not know true Renaissance music. Schubert and Mozart could be heard everywhere, but what came before that was kept only in libraries on paper. That was a gap in the market that I wanted to pull out of the forgetting pit. In the sixteenth century, a huge number of Flemish Kapellmeisters worked in Vienna. In those days, if you wanted to show power as emperor or pope, you could perfectly acquire status with a high-quality music chapel. With Flemings you could score back then because that was the top, but that is not widely known. Everyone admires Rubens’ paintings, for instance, but the music of his time remains unloved if it is not brought to sound. With Cinquecento, I bring Renaissance music back to life and promote Flemish heritage in all corners of the world.”
One of the 16-century Flemish representatives was the Roeselaar-based Adriaen Willaert. “When I tell fellow Viennese musicians that I was born in Roeselare, they look strange, but when I say that I come from Adriaen Willaert’s town, they nod in agreement. So I thought it was a good idea to release a CD based on his music. The man was world-famous, the Michael Jackson of his time. Fortunately, he eventually got a monument at St Michael’s Church, but it should have been there a long time ago. Willaert’s portrayal on CD has received good reviews and, as a Roeselander, I am proud of that.”
Tore often has his nose in music history, but that does not mean he does not live in the present. “I also follow modern music, of course. The love for music remains broad, but actually there is a lot of actuality in that old music too. A well-known song from the 16th century was l’homme armé. That was a warning for the armed man, a reference to the coming of the Ottoman Empire. That tune was the subject of many fog texts back then, pointing to its intriguing theme. Now, the subject of religious wars is back in the news. There are renewed warnings about the advance of Islam and the caliphate. It is very easy to project Flemish polyphony onto the present day, which is what makes it so interesting. It also goes beyond singing and performance. In-depth musicology studies precede it. You have to go to the right library, know which catalogue to look in, convert that medieval notation into modern notation and only then can you start performing the piece. By the way, I see that work as my Berufung, not a profession but a vocation, an inner duty.” Interview published in “Hundred Delightful Roeselareans”, published by Bibliodrome.
On 16 December, Tore Tom Denys was awarded the title “Cultural Ambassador of Roeselare”. #rslr
Dionysos and Tore Tom Denys would like to take you on a journey into the wonderful world of Adriaen Willaert… a fascinating journey of discovery through an unprecedented but fascinating body of work… Flemish polophony with international allure.
The success of this project is only possible thanks to the support of partners who want to help publicise it and support it financially. Any contribution – according to everyone’s budget – can give more clout to the project and support its further development.
The Friends of Dionysos Now! fund was set up on the initiative of two philanthropists and is managed by the King Baudouin Foundation. Gifts of €40 or more per year to the Foundation give rise to a tax reduction of 45% on the amount actually deposited (art. 145/33 ITC). By making a donation to the Friends of Dionysos Now! fund, you support the projects of Dionysos Now!
Dionysos Now! is dedicated to the research and performance of Flemish polyphony music and in particular focused on the oeuvre of Adriaen Willaert – born 1490 in Rumbeke, died in Venice – who was for 35 years composer-chapel master at St Mark’s Basilica in Venice and is considered one of the main influencers of Flemish polyphony.
Through recordings, concerts, lectures and cross-disciplinary collaborations with other artists, Dionysos Now! aims to revive more than 500 years of ancient music, make it accessible and known to a wide audience in a contemporary way. The ensemble wants to focus on bringing vocal and vocal-instrumental repertoire from Renaissance to Baroque and thus contribute to the general dissemination of culture on a professional level in Flanders, Belgium and Europe.
Thanks to grant recipients
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We thank you for your support!
Tore Tom Denys, artistic director
8800 Roeselare (B)
BTW: BE 0764.461.948
IBAN: BE 48 3631 3006 6027
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