Françoise Vanhecke alias Irma Bilbao
As a young talent, Françoise owes a lot to Jan Decadt.
Françoise Vanhecke started composing when she was 13 years old. Her talent was soon discovered by Luc Goosen and Jan Decadt, who used her piano pieces as obligatory material at the Urban Academy of Harelbeke.
Jan Decadt also let Françoise Vanchecke perform her first compositions at this young age of 13 years. He stimulated her and believed in her artistic talent as a child! Françoise performed his "THE LITTLE PLANET" several times.
She immediately got favourable reviews. In 1995 she wrote 'Jong bloed' on a text by the poet Guido Gezelle, for a broadcast on Classical Radio (Klara) in the city of Kotrijk. One of the spectators, Willem Vermandere, was immediately fond of it!
Thanks to Jean-Claude Claerbout and Luc Vancauwenberghe for rediscovering this story via facebook Oarelbeke Vroegre..
Beaucoup de vie dans l’art, beaucoup d’art dans la vie.”
For a recital named 'Pikant' at the Theatre of Kortrijk with female composers, she then decided to perform her own work. In 2003 Irma Bilbao got a grant from the New York Women Composers to perform her soloprogram 'More than a voice' (New York, 2004). Composers as Mauricio Kagel, Boudewijn Buckinx, Maria de Alvear... praise her creativity as a composer.
In 2022 she got a grant for the second time from the New York Women Composers for her solo recital SOLISSIMA.
Member of Sabam, ISCM, Matrix (online composer file) and Comav.
Her music is performed in Belgium, Ukraine, Bulgary, USA, Italy, the Netherlands, Indonesia, Vietnam, Germany, Austria, England, Brazil, France, Lituania.
ABOUT HER WORK
"There are few singers who use the piano in a public concert. The Belgian soprano Françoise Vanhecke accepts the challenge and succeeds with brilliance. Sometimes she also uses a bongo. She has a wonderful voice with a surprising timbre, a deep poetic understanding, an impressive vocal technique and a sense of humour.
Françoise Vanhecke has been presented in a series "Oeuvres de Femmes" at the Greenwich House Music School and was lavished with praise after her extraordinary concert with songs by some 15 contemporary composers.
I would especially like to mention 'Jong bloed', a poem by the great Flemish poet Guido Gezelle, which Françoise Vanhecke brought a cappella. But the entire program was fascinating. Really, a splendid musical phenomenon."
(February 2004 - N.Y. Impacto - Peter Bloch (U.S.Delegate, Academic Society, 'Arts-Sciences-Lettres' of France, President, Association for Puerto Rican-Hispanic culture, Inc.)
"Françoise Vanhecke, a Belgian soprano, pianist, percussionist and composer was the soloist on February 25, 2004 for the 3rd concert in the series, 'Women's Work' which took place at the RENEE WEILER RECITAL HALL in New York City.
The series was a collaboration between Greenwich House Arts & New York Women Composers, Inc. 'Jong Bloed' is a Dutch a cappella chant with bongo drum - both percussive and dramatic.
"Ku Soko" for voice, piano and bongo from 1990 with text and music by Jacqueline Fontyn (translated into Swahili by Dr. Ntihi Nuyrma M. and adaptation made by Irma Bilbao with permission of J. Fontyn) was a colourful, wondrous interpretation of a song by one of Belgium's finest composers, sung in Swahili, with piano and touches of bongo. The language was poetic and fresh. Ms. Vanhecke is an amazing performer."
(February 2004 - September 2004 - International Association of Women in Music Journal (IAWM) Mark Greenfest, New York Connoisseur in New York).
"Ich finde Ihre Arbeit interessant und mit reichhaltigen Bezügen zu anderen Disziplinen. Für die Weiterentwicklung Ihres Kompositionen wünsche ich Ihnen viel Erfindungsgeist und Erfolg."
Maurizio Kagel - 2004
"About East Crete, created by Darge in collaboration with Françoise Vanhecke, trumps them all. The cloistered nature of the prior work opens up into true space and life. Crickets again, in waves, engines, voices of old and young, recorded pop, air, water, everything. One assumes a good deal of construction went into the piece but it sounds entirely convincing as a particularly alive and fascinating environment; the listener resides there. Absolutely wonderful and worth the price of entry."
(Brian Olewnick, Jersey City, New Jersey)
"Encore félicitations pour ton œuvre qui m'a captivée, entre le rire et l'émotion."
(Daniëlle Baas - 2010)