Dirk BoiyDirk Boiy

Choir Director and Conductor

As principal oboe player in different Belgian orchestras (Opera House of Ghent, Royal Opera House of Antwerp, Antwerp Philharmonic Orchestra, National Opera House "La Monnaie" in Brussels) Dirk's career has offered many opportunities to work with and learn from eminent conductors.

In 1986 he became conductor of the Kempens Symphonic Orchestra, the formation with which he organised the first staging of Howard Blake’s "The Snowman"  in Belgium in 1991.

In 1987, Sir Simon Rattle invited him to Birmingham as an orchestral conductor.  Following that experience, from 1988-2002 he assumed the role of assistant conductor to Sir Simon for the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra and the Berlin Philharmonic.

From 2001-2006 Dirk took on the role of conductor and artistic director of the European Festival Orchestra.  During the same period he co-founded and acted as artistic director of the Fairy Tales Concerts Association, an association aiming to help young people find their way to classical music.  Under the auspices of the Belgian National Opera Dirk developed a series of children's concerts and CD recordings based on musical fairy-tales.

From 2013 -2016 he was a guest conductor at the Festival of the Aegean where he conducted family concerts with the Pan-European Philharmonia from Warsaw (Stravinsky: Histoire du Soldat; Britten: Young Persons Guide To The Orchestra; Prokofiev: Peter and the Wolf; Kleinsinger: Tubby The Tuba).

Since 2016 Dirk has been conductor and co-director of the European FairyTale Orchestra, an ensemble of international first class musicians committed to performing musical fairy-tales from different European countries and bring to young people an awareness and appreciation of their common cultural background.

Mary GowMary Gow

Assistant Music Director and Pianist

Mary Gow comes from Wellington, New Zealand. She holds the degrees of B.A. and B Mus fromVictoria University, Wellington together with the LRSM and FTCL diplomas in piano. She studied for five years on a Belgian Government Scholarship to the Royal Brussels Conservatorium (in Flemish) gaining First Prizes and Higher Diplomas in both Piano and Chamber Music. She has specialised in the latter as a member of the Kowalski Trio and has a piano duo partnership with Vivienne McKay. She accompanied internationally renowned New Zealand opera diva, Dame Malvina Major on her 2000 tour, visiting Washington, London, The Hague, Paris and Brussels.
Her other passion is the Children's Charity Christmas Concert, "The Snowman" . Former productions have been a commissioned work by Alexander McCall Smith and Tom Cunningham called "The Baboons who live by the River", Carnival of the Animals, Peter and the Wolf and various versions of Young Person's Guides to the Orchestra. In 2018 she expanded her activities to represent Russian Concert Pianist Nikolai Saratovsky in New Zealand and Belgium, hosting him and organising concerts for him. He will return to NZ in 2019.

Matthew CarverMatthew Carver

Assistant Conductor

Born to two musicians, his father a successful conductor in the south of England, Matthew cut his musical teeth as an accomplished recorder player and cellist and in more recent years as a guitarist and pianist. His professional life having moved away from music, a move to Brussels some years ago reignited Matthew's passion for performing great music when he joined the Brussels Choral Society. In 2013 Matthew helped form and worked as assistant conductor for the first performance of a new Brussels-based choir and orchestra – BachWerk – in Bach's Weihnachts-Oratorium, directed by David Miller. Since the beginning of the year, Matthew has acted as assistant to David Miller for the Bruocsella Symphony Orchestra, with performances in Lier and Mons. Matthew leads BachWerk in a performance of Rossini's Petite messe solennelle in Brussels in 2014.

Ian ForresterJudge Ian Forrester

Master of Ceremonies

Ian Forrester's musical abilities have long been recognised as modest, but he is accustomed to speaking in public, attired in the exotic horsehair, silk and lace garb of a Scottish lawyer and more recently in the sober gown of judges of the European Courts in Luxembourg. Ian is also a trustee of the European Union Baroque Orchestra (a cultural ambassador of the European Union).
This will be his seventh year as Master of Ceremonies.