From opera to Toots to Kylie

Jan Bercu studied at the Koninklijk Muziekconservatorium of Brussels with the famous Carlo Van Neste and Edith Volckaert and was guided and encouraged by his mentors Albert Speguel and Joseph Spira. He started his professional career in the former BRT-RTBF Orchestra in 1970. In 1971 he was invited as a soloist by the Orchestre de Chambre Paul Kuentz to tour France and the United States. More international concerts were to follow and he vividly remembers 22 tours in Japan and a tour in the former Soviet Union.

Back home Jan joined the BRT Jazz Orchestra, conducted by respectively Etienne Verschueren, Francis Bay and Freddy Sunder; he worked together with James Last and played with the Caravelli Orchestra. His own ensemble Jan Viool en Co was immensely popular in Flanders and the Netherlands and they were welcome guests at numerous parties and festivals.

In 1977 Jan Bercu started freelancing and worked with the National Orchestra of Belgium, The Philharmonic Orchestra of Flanders and the Orchestre de la Monnaie. In 1980 he became concertmaster and soloist with the Heidelberger Kammerorchester and in 1983 he joined the orchestras of Nancy and Metz and later the orchestra of the Saarländische Rundfunk. During this period he was second soloist of the Orchestre de Chambre Ad Artem de Metz.

He returned to Belgium in 1990 to become the musical director and concertmaster with the famous Ballet van Vlaanderen ‘s musical section. He accompanied the musicals West SideStory, Anatevka, Me and my Girl, Chicago, Evita and Dear Fox.

In the course of his career Jan Bercu also played with famous performers of the so called ‘lighter’ repertoire. He was a member of the Grand Gala du Disque Orchestra for many years and accompanied Marlène Dietrich, Shirley Bassey, Nathalie Cole, Tom Jones, Bryan Ferry, The Three Degrees, Nana Mouskouri, Madredeus, Kylie Minogue, Julien Clerc, Natalie Choquette, Lara Fabian, Anny Cordy, Florent Pagny, Donna Summer, Shaggy and, last but not least, Toots Thielemans, with whom he has performed regularly during the so called ‘birthday concerts’. Jan Bercu is frequently asked as a studio musician and participated in CD and DVD recordings of national and international artists like Alain Delon, Bonney M, André Rieu, Vera Mann, Wanda Joosten, Nana Mouskouri, the New London Chorale and Tom Parker, Jean Bosco Safari, Madredeus, William Sheller; he played the soundtracks of Light ( music by Dirk Brossé) and Aviator.

Jan Bercu is much attracted by the theatre and he has therefore also performed on stage as an actor-violinist: he made his appearance in the KNS-production Ghetto by Joshua Sobol ( director Daniel Benoin), Thijl Uylenspieghel by Hugo Claus in the Théâtre du Parc and the ruins of Villers-la-ville.

At the moment Jan Bercu is freelancing with the Orchestre de la Monaie, the Nationaal Orkest van België, the Vlaams Radio Orkest, Il Novecento ( the immensely popular orchestra of the Night of the Proms) and several smaller ensembles in Belgium and abroad.