Frits Celis

Category:dirigent, componist
Antwerpen, 11.04.1929
Genre(s):21ste eeuw / hedendaags, 20ste eeuw


Frits Celis was born in 1929 in Antwerp. He studied at the Royal Conservatories of Antwerp and Brussels, where he earned final diplomas in solfège, harmony, counterpoint, fugue, music history, harp and orchestral conducting. He then undertook further studies in conducting at the Mozarteum in Salzburg and at the Staatliche Hochschule für Musik in Cologne.
In 1946 he began his musical career as a harpist in the orchestra of the former Royal Flemish Opera in Antwerp, a position that he held until 1954. In that year he won first prize in a competition for conductors, organised by the Théatre Royal de la Monnaie in Brussels. Shortly thereafter he was the sole prize-winner in a similar competition run by the then BRT (state broadcaster). Because of his love for opera, he chose to work at the Théatre de la Monnaie in Brussels, where he was conductor until 1959. After this he became conductor and music director at the Royal Flemish Opera in Antwerp, functions that he also held from 1981 to 1988 at the former Flemish Opera in Antwerp and Ghent. As a guest opera-[?]conductor he appeared in the Netherlands, France, Germany, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Spain and the United States. He also appeared many times as concert conductor.
In 1960 Frits Celis was appointed solfège teacher at the Royal Conservatory in Antwerp, where he was also appointed transposition teacher 12 years later.
As a composer, Frits Celis is known for his songs, choral works, chamber music and orchestral works, which have been performed in many European countries, the United States and Japan. He has also been commissioned to write works for the BRT and the Flanders Festival. In 1992, SABAM (composers’ and performers’ organisation) awarded him the Fuga Trophy, in recognition of his many years of work for Belgian music. Since 1989 he has concentrated almost exclusively on composition, which has increased the size of his oeuvre considerably since that time. At present almost all his works are commissions, for symphonic ensembles, chamber music groups and choirs.

Selective bibliography
- H. STUBBE, Het gummetje van Frits Celis, in Muziek en Woord, december 1987, p. 4
- F. VERDONK, Frits Celis, een lyricus van vandaag, in Muziek en Woord, oktober 1994, p. 6-7
- D. VON BOLBORTH-DANYS, art. Celis, Frits, in The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians, uitg. dr. S. SADIE, Londen, 2001
- C. WILLEKENS, Frits Celis: de componist als bemiddelaar, in De Scene, maandblad van de Vlaamse Opera, januari 1991, p. 6-9

Works and scores:
List of works and work review: Matrix
Consulting scores:  

More information on his manuscripts and published scores can be found at 

Selective discography

Marcel Vercammen - heldentenorMarcel Vercammen - heldentenor (1994)
opera, musical theatre
Marcel Vercammen, BRT symfonisch orkest, Marijke van der Lugt, Rita Gorr, Carl Dieckman, Orkest van de Koninklijke Vlaamse Opera, Fernand Terby, Frits Celis (...)
De Vlaamse LeeuwDe Vlaamse Leeuw (1991)
20th century
deFilharmonie, Frits Celis, Jozef De Beenhouwer, Norbert Nozy, Groot Harmonieorkest der Gidsen, Michael Scheck, Kristiaan Van Ingelgem, Ivan Laire (...)
L.d.Vocht - F. Celis - R. HerberigsL.d.Vocht - F. Celis - R. Herberigs
20th century
Philharmonie van Antwerpen, Lodewijk De Vocht, Frits Celis, Mayumi Fujikawa, Frits Celis, Léonce Gras, Robert Herberigs

Selectieve discografie als componist

Miniaturen voor archipelMiniaturen voor archipel (2000)
20th century
Kris Matthynssens, Pieter Stas, Goeyvaerts Strijktrio, Jan Van Landeghem, Bart Meynckens, Stefaan De Bruyne, Bart Van Kerchove, Boudewijn Buckinx (...)
Works dedicated to I Solisti del VentoWorks dedicated to I Solisti del Vento (1999)
20th century, 21st century / contemporary
I Solisti del Vento, Wim Henderickx, Frits Celis, Frédéric Devreese, Jan Van Landeghem
Guido Gezelle (1830-1899)Guido Gezelle (1830-1899) (1999)
20th century, romanticism
Sylvie De Pauw, Rubio Strijkkwartet, Joost vanmaele, Joseph Ryelandt, Frits Celis, Lucien Posman, Marinus De Jong, Koen Dejonghe (...)
Peter Welffens - Frits CelisPeter Welffens - Frits Celis (1998)
20th century
Piet Van Bockstal, Peter Welffens, The Moscow Chamber Soloists, Frits Celis
Flanders Clarinet QuartetFlanders Clarinet Quartet (1997)
20th century
Bob Van de Velde, Filip Demeyere, Conrad Onclin, Tom Daans, Flanders Clarinet Quartet, Frits Celis
Frits Celis - Works for StringsFrits Celis - Works for Strings (1997)
20th century
Spiegel Strijkkwartet, Frits Celis
Works for bassoon dedicated to Francis PolletWorks for bassoon dedicated to Francis Pollet (1996)
20th century
Francis Pollet, I Solisti del Vento, Frits Celis, Tars Lootens, Wim Henderickx
Musica a Quattro ManiMusica a Quattro Mani (1996)
20th century
Pianoduo Kolacny, Boudewijn Buckinx, Peter Cabus, Raymond Schroyens, Wilfried Westerlinck, Frits Celis, Werner Van Cleemput, Luc Brewaeys (...)
Harmonie nouvelles en 12 mouvements pour l'EuropeHarmonie nouvelles en 12 mouvements pour l'Europe (1994)
20th century
Quatuor Arte del Suono, Lola Bobesco, Suzanne Janssens, Jean-Elie Homatas, Jan Matthé, Gerhard Sporken, Peter Cabus, Daniël Capelletti (...)
Made in BelgiumMade in Belgium (1993)
Beaux-arts Koperkwintet, Jef Maes, Raymond Decancq, Marinus De Jong, Peter Welffens, Raymond Schroyens, Jan Van Der Roost, Frits Celis (...)

Author of

Vlaanderen - Nr. 114 - september-oktober 1970Vlaanderen - Nr. 114 - september-oktober 1970 (1970)
20ste eeuw
Ernest van der Eyken, Frits Celis, Daniel Sternefeld, [et al.]

Related Items

Documents:Contemporary Music in Flanders IV (book)
Te gast Fritz Celis (personalia)