Dirk began his music studies at the Music Conservatories of Ghent and Brussels. He subsequently specialized in conducting, which he studied in Maastricht, Vienna and Cologne. Alongside his many guest professorships, he is currently Professor of Composition and Conducting at the Royal Conservatory of Music in Ghent.
Dirk has conducted all the leading Belgian orchestras, among them, the Brussels Philharmonic, the Royal Flemish Philharmonic, the Orchestra of the Flemish Opera and the National Orchestra of Belgium.
Dirk has composed for the theatre and the cinema on numerous occasions. His best-known soundtracks are Koko Flanel, Licht, Stijn Coninx’s de Kavijaks and Daens (Academy Award Nominee, 1993), Marian Handwerker’s Marie, Martin Koolhoven’s Knetter, and Jaques Feyder’s 1925 silent film Visages d’Enfants. He wrote the scores for the musicals Sacco & Vanzetti, The Prince of Africa, Tintin – The Temple of the Sun (based on Hergé’s world-famous cartoon character Tintin), Rembrandt - the Musical, and Musical Daens, each time in close collaboration with Frank Van Laecke.
Dirk has made more than 60 CD recordings and has conducted in numerous world-famous concert halls, such as the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam, the Royal Festival Hall, the Barbican Centre and the Royal Albert Hall in London, la Monnaie in Brussels, the Victoria Hall in Geneva, the Seoul Arts Center, the Tokyo Forum and the Concert Hall Shanghai.
He has collaborated with world-class artists such as José Van Dam, Philip Webb, Barbara Hendricks, Claron McFadden, Julia Migenes, Derek Lee Ragin, Sabine Meyer, Julian Lloyd Webber, Daniel Blumenthal, Salvatore Accardo and, on a broader musical platform, with John Williams, Toots Thielemans, Hans Zimmer, Elmer Bernstein, Emma Thompson, Kenneth Branagh, Randy Crawford, Lisa Gerrard, Mel Brooks, Maurane, Sinead O’ Connor, Viktor Lazlo, Maurice Jarre and Youssou N’Dour.
Dirk most recently completed the score to Roland Joffe’s feature film The Lovers.