Frits Celis

(b. 11 April 1929, Antwerp).

Belgian composer of mostly orchestral, chamber, choral, and vocal works that have been performed throughout Europe; he is also active as a conductor.

Mr. Celis studied at the Koninklijk Vlaams Conservatorium in Antwerp and the Koninklijk Conservatorium in Brussels. He later studied conducting with Hermann Schmeidel in Salzburg from 1949–51 and with Wolfgang von der Nahmer in Cologne in 1953–54.

Among his honours as a conductor are Premier Prix in the competition of the Théâtre Royal de la Monnaie in Brussels and Premier Prix in the competition of BRT in Brussels (both 1954). Among his honours as a composer is the Trofee Fuga from SABAM (1992).

As a conductor, he served as second conductor of the Théâtre Royal de la Monnaie from 1954–59. He then served as second conductor of the Koninklijke Vlaamse Opera in Antwerp in 1959–60 and as its chief conductor and music director from 1960–81. He has conducted at the Vlaamse Opera in Antwerp and Ghent since 1981 and he has appeared as a guest conductor of orchestras in Belgium, the Czech Republic, France, Germany, Mexico, the Netherlands, Slovakia, Spain, and the USA.

Mr. Celis is also active in other positions. He served as principal harpist in the orchestra of the Koninklijke Vlaamse Opera from 1946–52. He has written monographs on the composers August De Boeck and Edward Keurvels, along with musical criticism.

He taught music theory as a professor at the Koninklijk Vlaams Conservatorium from 1960–71 and taught transposition for wind instruments as a professor there from 1971–94.

His publisher is the Centre Belge de Documentation Musicale (CeBeDeM).


E-mail address:

E-mail address for consulting scores:



Muziek voor strijkers, string orchestra, Op. 1, 1949–51 (also version as Musica a quattro mani, Op. 1b)

Elegie, Op. 7, 1966

Drie Symfonische bewegingen, Op. 8, 1969

Variazioni, small orchestra, Op. 11, 1974

Sinfonia I, Op. 14, 1979

Cantilena, Op. 16, 1980

Sinfonia II, percussion, orchestra, Op. 20, 1986

Sinfonia III, Op. 22, 1987

Miserere, small orchestra, Op. 25, 1988

Un nome... con variazioni, flute obbligato, small orchestra, Op. 26, 1989

Sinfonia IV, Op. 28, 1989–90

Concerto grosso, string quartet, string orchestra, Op. 31, 1990

Ode à Claude Debussy, small orchestra, Op. 36, 1991

Fantasia, string orchestra, Op. 45b, 1993 (version of chamber work)

Contemplazioni, viola obbligato, organ ad libitum, string orchestra, Op. 56, 1996

Sinfonia concertante, alto saxophone, piano, string orchestra, Op. 59, 1996

Concerto, bassoon, string orchestra, Op. 38b, 1998 (version of Concertino, Op. 38)


Sonata No. 1, violin, piano, Op. 3, 1948–52

Trio, violin, viola/cello, piano, Op. 5, 1958

Sonata, cello, piano, Op. 6, 1962–63

Intrada e Toccata, oboe/clarinet, piano, Op. 9, 1972

Episodes, viola, harpsichord, Op. 10, 1973 (also version for viola, piano, Op. 10b, 1998)

Notturno e Danza, 4 flutes (any 3 + alto flute), Op. 12, 1975

Trio, flute, harp, viola, Op. 13, 1977

Musica per undici, synthesizer, 10 percussion, Op. 19, 1984

Sonatina, oboe (+ English horn), clarinet (+ bass clarinet), bassoon, Op. 21, 1986

Incantations, clarinets, Op. 22b, 1987

A hypocritical funeral Music, French horn, 2 trumpets, trombone, tuba, Op. 23, 1987

Quartetto I, flute/clarinet, violin, viola, cello, Op. 24, 1987

Da uno a cinque, bass clarinet, string quartet, Op. 27, 1989 (also version for flute [+ alto flute], oboe [+ English horn], clarinet, bass clarinet, bassoon, 1989)

Hymne (aan August De Boeck van Merchtem), harp, Op. 29, 1990

Introduzione e Scherzo, 2 flutes, 2 oboes, 2 clarinets, 2 French horns, 2 bassoons, Op. 30, 1990

Divertimento, flute, oboe, clarinet, French horn, bassoon, Op. 32, 1990

Due Inventioni, clarinet/trumpet, 2 violins, viola, cello, double bass, Op. 33, 1991

Sonata, bass clarinet, percussion, Op. 34, 1991

Duo concertante, alto flute, guitar, Op. 35, 1991

Capriccio, French horn, trumpet, trombone, Op. 37, 1992

Concertino, bassoon, violin, viola, cello, Op. 38, 1992 (also version as Concerto, bassoon, string orchestra, Op. 38b)

Rapsodia, clarinet/trumpet, piano, Op. 39, 1992

Octuor, 2 oboes (2nd + English horn), 2 clarinets (2nd + bass clarinet), 2 bassoons, 2 French horns, Op. 40, 1992

Quartetto d'archi, string quartet, Op. 41, 1992

Chimes, flute, piano, Op. 42, 1993

n' fluiten-echtpaar..., 2 flutes (1st + piccolo, 2nd + alto flute), Op. 43, 1993

Notturno, flute/oboe, harp, Op. 44, 1993

Fantasia, flute, clarinet, bassoon, French horn, Op. 45, 1993 (also versions for string orchestra, Op. 45b; 3 clarinets, bass clarinet, Op. 45c, 1994; 4 saxophones, Op. 45d, 1997)

Musica quasi eroica, French horn, 2 trumpets, trombone, tuba, Op. 47, 1993

Il Canto della piccina sirena, string quartet, Op. 48, 1994

Sonata No. 2, violin, piano, Op. 49, 1994

Elegie voor Willy, 4 bassoons, Op. 50, 1994 (also version for 4 violas, Op. 50b, 1999)

Preludio, Scherzo e Finale, flute, clarinet, violin, viola, cello, double bass, piano, Op. 51, 1994

Spilliaert-Triptiek, violin, piano, Op. 55, 1995

Quintetto, oboe (+ English horn)/clarinet, string quartet, Op. 57, 1996

Kareol, English horn, piano, Op. 61, 1997 (also version for alto saxophone, piano, Op. 61b, 1997)

Barcarolle, bassoon, piano, Op. 60 No. 2, 1998

Septuor, 2 clarinets, 2 violins, viola, cello, double bass, Op. 62, 1998

Visioni, viola, piano, Op. 64, 1998–99

Cinque Canzoni, 3 bassoons, 2 trumpets, Op. 65, 1999 (also version for French horn, 2 trumpets, trombone, tuba, Op. 65b, 1999)

Odissea I, flute, cello, piano, Op. 66, 1999

Odissea II, clarinet, violin, accordion, Op. 67, 1999

Invocazioni, violin, viola, cello, piano, Op. 68, 2000

Élégie pour un faon, alto flute, string quartet, Op. 69, 2001

Odissea III, 2 flutes, percussion, Op. 70, 2001

Sonata, cello, Op. 71, 2001–02


Drie Koorstudies (texts by Felix Timmermans, Guido Gezelle), mixed chorus, 1949

Herfst (cantata, text by Bernard Verhoeven), children's chorus, piano/orchestra, 1953

Ballade (text by Gaston Durnez), any 3 equal voices, 1968

Let us be happy I (text by Alice Toen), any 3 equal voices, Op. 46 No. 1, 1993

Let us be happy II (text by Alice Toen), any 3 equal voices, Op. 46 No. 2, 1993

Three Little Men (text by Alice Toen), any 3 equal voices, Op. 46 No. 3, 1993

Dit voetjen en dat voetje (text by Guido Gezelle), children's chorus, piano, Op. 54 No. 1, 1995

Kukkuu, Kukkuu, Kaukana Kukkuu (text from a folksong from Finland), mixed chorus, Op. 63 No. 1, 1998

Slaapt, Slaapt, Kindtje Slaapt (text by Guido Gezelle), children's chorus, piano, Op. 54 No. 2, 1998

Rijmelarijtje (text by Alice Toen), children's chorus, Op. 46 No. 4, 2000 (also version as Letterphantasy [translated by the composer], 2002)

Mon ami (text by Ludo Ghoos), any 4 equal voices, Op. 46 No. 5, 2001

Three Shakespeare Poems (text by William Shakespeare), female chorus, mixed chorus, male chorus, Op. 72, 2002


De Geestelijke bruiloft (song-cycle, text by Pieter G. Buckinx), soprano, piano/small orchestra, Op. 4, 1953

Vier Liederen (text by Felix Timmermans), soprano, piano, Op. 2, 1950–58

10 First-Sight Reading Studies, any voice/any 2 voices, piano, 1960–70

The Prisoners (chamber cantata, text by Sir Stephen Spender), mezzo-soprano, baritone, bass clarinet, alto saxophone, harpsichord, celesta, marimba, Op. 15, 1979

Drei Lieder (text by Josef Baert), any voice, piano, Op. 17, 1981

Preludio e Narrazione (text by Anton van Wilderode), soprano, orchestra, Op. 18, 1983

Melopée (text by Paul van Ostaijen), soprano/mezzo-soprano, flute (+ alto flute), bass clarinet, violin, viola, cello, piano, percussion, Op. 52, 1994 (also version for soprano/mezzo-soprano, string quartet, 1994)

Tijdkrans I (text by Guido Gezelle), soprano, string quartet, Op. 53a, 1995

Tijdkrans II (text by Guido Gezelle), soprano, string quartet, Op. 53b, 1995


Musica a quattro mani, piano 4 hands, Op. 1b, 1951–94 (version of Muziek voor strijkers, Op. 1)

Preludio, Toccata ed Epilogo, Op. 58, 1996


Meditatie, organ/harmonium, Op. 60 No. 1, 1997


A hypocritical funeral Music, Op. 23. Beaux-Arts Brass Quintet (Beaux-Arts Brass Quintet: BBQ 001)

Fantasia, Op. 45c. (BEF: 08019)

Fantasia, Op. 45. (CMP: 1002)

Fantasia, Op. 45c. (Digi Classics: CD 97)

A hypocritical funeral Music, Op. 23. (Eufoda: 1122)

Musica a quattro mani, Op. 1b. Pianoduo Kolacny (Eufoda: 1244)

Introduzione e Scherzo, Op. 30. I Solisti del Vento (Galaxy Studios/I Solisti del Vento: 99-01)

Incantations, Op. 22b. (KOCD: 2502)

Da uno a cinque, Op. 27 (excerpt). (Musikproduktion Dabringhaus und Grimm: MDG 624 0556-2)

Il Canto della piccina sirena, Op. 48. (Pavane: ADW 7321)

Cantilena, Op. 16; Preludio e Narrazione, Op. 18; Musica per undici, Op. 19; Sinfonia III, Op. 22. Jacqueline van Quaille, soprano; Leo Ouderits/The Mol Percussion Orchestra; Fernand Terby/Brussels Philharmonic (Phaedra: 92 003)

Sonata, Op. 34. (Phaedra: 92 005)

Quintetto, Op. 57. (Phaedra: 92 014)

Quartetto I, Op. 24. (René Gailly International Productions: 87 169)

Quartetto d'archi, Op. 41; Episodes, Op. 10; Drei Lieder, Op. 17; Sonata No. 2, Op. 49; Melopée, Op. 52 (second version). Marijke van Arnhem, mezzo-soprano; Leo De Neve, viola; Christel Kessels, piano, harpsichord; Spiegel (Vox Temporis/René Gailly International Productions: 92 039)