Soloist, Conductor, Educator
Harmen began playing the cornet at the Music School of Izegem from the age of 7, studying under Georges Coppé. At the age of 14 he entered the ‘Kunsthumaniora’ for gifted musicians in Leuven (Belgium). He went on to study trumpet and cornet at the renowned Lemmensinstitute in Leuven under Leo Wouters and Leon Petré, where he obtained a Bachelor’s Degree with ‘High Distinction’ as well as a Master’s Degree with ‘Highest Distinction’. He completed his musical studies with a Post-Graduate Master after Master degree achieving ‘Highest Distinction’.
He first became well known to audiences in 2007, when he joined the Royal Wind Band of the Belgian Guides as cornet soloist. Since this debut, his list of achievements includes awards in major solo competitions, as well as soloist prizes in contests all around the world. In 2011, Harmen was granted the title of International Soloist of the Year after winning both the famous British Open Solo Competition (UK) and the Ern Keller Memorial Trophy (AUS).
Harmen is known in the music world as an innovator for his instrument, commissioning various international composers on a regular basis, in order to expand the repertoire for the cornet. In this capacity he has been involved in multiple recordings. A highlight was his critically acclaimed debut album ‘Fortune’s Fool’, ‘Ellis Island’, the result of a collaboration with the composer Stan Nieuwenhuis. This resulted in an iTunes chart ranking and numerous recordings for famous labels, including Naxos and Toccata Classics.
Harmen has performed as a soloist all over the world, including the UK, the USA, China, Russia, Canada, South Korea, Australia, New Zealand, Brazil, Mexico, Canada and most of the EU. He is widely known for displaying stunning musical technique whilst delivering entertainment at its best. This reputation led to him be invited to be one of the very few official endorsers for the world renowned brand Besson, in which capacity he is actively involved in the further development of the modern cornet.