Belgium & Luxemburg
From c 1450 to 1600, the Renaissance era in the musical history, Franco-Flemish composers from the Low Countries were leading in great parts of Europe; the western half of present Belgium formed the heart of that area and most of them were born on Belgian soil indeed, but the majority of the greatest masters ended their life in Italy. During the following centuries, predomination of the French language and musical culture increased; the best known composers – Grétry, Franck, Lekeu, Ysaÿe – were all Walloons. Peter Benoit ushered in a revival of Flemish music, ultimately resulting into two equivalent musical cultures. The bilingualism still puts a great stamp on Belgium’s political, social and cultural life.