The overall artistic management of the “World Music Contest” (WMC) in Kerkrade (NL) will, from the coming autumn, be in the hands of conductor Björn Bus. Henk Smit, currently a jury member, will take over the artistic direction of the marching and show contests and the concert contests for percussion ensembles. These appointments were confirmed unanimously by the WMC board of directors in the last week. Harrie Reumkens, responsible for the artistic direction of the WMC since 1987, will remain available part time as a consultant, while dedicating his time primarily to the documentation of the festival.


‘We are delighted that we have secured the services of Henk Smit and Björn Bus for the WMC,’ said chairman Max Kousen. ‘Both have a clear vision and benefit from extensive specialist know-how. This  will enable the WMC to enhance its position in the region and worldwide. It’s no longer possible for a single person to carry out all of the artistic management functions of a festival like the WMC. Furthermore, the field of international brass band music is currently very varied and specialised. So we are extremely fortunate that they can now carry out their work as a team.’


New direction

‘With Björn Bus and Henk Smit on board, the current core aspects of our operation – creativity, fostering talent and internationalisation – will be developed even further with this new team. This will make the WMC organisation even more sustainable,’ explained Secretary Ludo Diels. Bart van Meijl, Chairman of the “Koninklijke Nederlandse Muziek Organisatie” (KNMO, Royal Dutch Music Organisation), also welcomed this rejuvenation of the WMC.


Björn Bus

Björn Bus (1980) studied conducting and trombone at the Conservatories in Groningen and Maastricht, and has since become a successful conductor. Currently Bus works as Head Conductor of, among others, the Dutch Customs Orchestra and the Concert Band Association of  Baden-Württemberg. He is also active as a guest conductor, jury member and lecturer. Bus has already  supported previous WMC activities in various capacities. He is also an active board member of the WASBE (“World Association for Symphonic Bands and Ensembles”).


Henk Smit

Henk Smit (1961) studied percussion and conducting at the Conservatories in Groningen and Rotterdam. Smit worked as a lecturer in music schools and at the Conservatory in Groningen, and since 1980 he has also been active both nationally and internationally as a jury member. He currently works at the “National Centre of Expertise for Cultural Education and Amateur Arts” (LKCA) and is  conductor of the “De Bazuin” (The Trombones) in Winsum. Since 1997 Smit has been jury member and jury chairman for the marching and show contests for percussion ensembles at the WMC. He will naturally resign from these positions.




Hans Bosch (born 1954), who since 2011 was responsible for the executive management of the WMC, will take his leave of the WMC on the 1st September. He informed the board of directors some time ago that he wished to hand over his responsibilities to others after the 18th edition, WMC 2017. The availability of Bus and Smit from September accelerated this process. ‘In recent years the WMC has become ever more highly respected across the region. I am proud of this. I fully support the decision of the board of directors to set this course towards the WMC 2021 with Björn Bus and Henk Smit. I would add that given the four year cycle in which the WMC operates, it’s essential to plan well in advance.’ Leonie Curvers from the Orlando Festival, with which the WMC is aiming for closer collaboration, will also take over part of Bosch’s functions.



The WMC team will from this autumn consist of Björn Bus, Henk Smit, Maikel den Dekker (Marketing and Communication), Jules Roosenboom (External Communication and Spokeman), Sonja Langen (Office Management and Participant Liaison) as well as Leonie Curvers. ‘I am certain that with this team we are ready to deliver a very successful WMC 2021,’ said Kousen.