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Toots 100. The Sound of a Belgian Legend

From 22 April 2022
to 31 August 2022


22 April 2022 – 31 August 2022



KBR and the Musical Instruments Museum (MIM) will celebrate Toots Thielemans’ 100th birthday with an exhibition entitled “Toots 100. The Sound of a Belgian Legend”. From 22 April 2022 until 31 August 2022, visitors can enjoy an immersive exhibition at KBR in which sound and music play the leading role.

The exhibition is part of the Toots Year 2022, an initiative of The Legacy of Toots Thielemans Association in collaboration with the Private Toots Thielemans Foundation and Visit Brussels.


A beacon in the international jazz world

On 29 April 2022, Toots Thielemans would have turned 100 years old. This Brussels native from the Marolles was an outstanding guitarist and one of the best harmonica players in the world. He played on stages all over the world. International stars such as Quincy Jones, Peggy Lee and Sting lined up to work with him. But no matter how far his international fame reached, Toots remained a Belgian at heart.

With the exhibition “Toots 100. The Sound of a Belgian Legend” we pay tribute to Toots in his hometown Brussels.


A collaboration between KBR and the MIM

Toots’ personal archive is kept at KBR. Huguette Thielemans, Toots’ wife, donated it to the library in two parts in December 2016 and January 2017. This particularly rich collection includes hundreds of sound recordings, photographs, press clippings, scores, books, letters and concert programs. It also includes cartoons, portraits of Toots, as well as trophies, diplomas, medals, prizes and awards. Sometimes humorous and folkloristic, they illustrate the eventful life of the musician.

The MIM, a department of the Royal Museums of Art and History, preserves Toots’ instruments. The collection contains instruments that Toots played on, including harmonicas, his very first guitar and an accordion that he used as a child. Other objects from the MIM are also shown in the exhibition (instruments, records, audio equipment, and documents…).

Together, the MIM and KBR have an impressive collection of never-before-published musical and visual material.