Welcome Jaïr Tchong ✨ New artistic direction and programmers

Back to stories
Published on 13/06/24

A new wind

On Oct. 1, 2024, Ha Concerts will bid farewell to artistic director and jazz programmer Wim Wabbes. After a rich and meaningful career full of impact, he can fully enjoy his retirement.

The entire team of Ha and Noordstarfonds - the vzw behind the concert hall - welcomes Jaïr Tchong as its new artistic director and jazz/global programmer.

Who is Jaïr?

Jaïr Tchong lives and works in Belgium since 2019. 

Previously, he worked in Amsterdam as a programmer at Tolhuistuin and Melkweg, as project manager 'World' at Muziek Centrum Nederland, and as a freelance cultural journalist at De Groene Amsterdammer, Het Parool, De Volkskrant, VPRO and IDFA, among others.

Team Artistics

Jaïr takes his place on the artistic team of Ha Concerts, where he and two others create the program:

  • Eric Smout curates a series of pop and rock concerts and combines this position with his involvement with Democrazy and OLT.
  • Evelien De Jaeger takes over as programmer ad interim to further develop the work with children and families.

First encounter Jaïr

"I first experienced the phenomenal acoustics and ambience of Ha Concerts in 2009.

With the then artistic team of the Tolhuistuin (Amsterdam-Noord) I made a working visit to Ghent. This included a backstage tour of Ha. 

My first concert here must have been a sold-out and pleasantly Balkan evening with Fanfare Ciocărlia - unforgettable.

The team and the many possibilities of the building as well as the clear artistic mission resonate deeply with my personal conviction about (jazz) music as an art form, as a carrier of feelings and thoughts. 

I feel an absolute need to create a "common ground". Because the experience of music is a means to come closer together, especially in politically and socio-economically divided times. 

I prefer to leave old-fashioned notions of jazz or strict and sacred canon thinking unused in favor of a choice for pure expression."

Statement by Erik Vanpoucke, president of Noordstarfonds vzw

"Over the past 12 years, Wim Wabbes has turned the Handelsbeurs into a true house of music and, with the recognition of the Flemish Community and the city of Ghent, has given us a prominent place in the artistic landscape. We are continuing along the lines of this artistic plan.

A house where musicians and music lovers meet, where rehearsals, development and presentations take place. A house of music for children, families and a diverse audience of adults who love world music, jazz, pop and rock. Music is the unifying factor". 




Receive general news, a jazz letter from the programmer or just the children's programme.

I subscribe

By subscribing, you agree to our privacy policy.