Secretary General's visit to the Danish Branch annual meeting

The Black Diamond, Copenhagen

I had the pleasure of participating in the annual meeting with the Danish IAML Branch a couple of weeks ago, Friday 2 March to be precise. One of the Board members, Karen Vestergaard, had kindly invited me to make a presentation on “big IAML” and I gladly welcomed the opportunity to inform them about different ways to get involved internationally. I spent a very nice afternoon in “the Black Diamond” together with Danish colleagues.
On 1 January 2017 the State and University Library in Aarhus and The Royal Library in Copenhagen merged. The institutions are now collectively known as the Royal Danish Library and constitute the national library of Denmark. The Black Diamond is an extension of the library in Copenhagen and was inaugurated in 1999. The spectacular building in black granite from Zimbabwe is created by the famous Danish firm Schmidt Hammer Lassen Architects.

The Black Diamond, Copenhagen (interior)

Anne Ørbæk Jensen, a long-term IAML member, was our friendly hostess and started the meeting by giving an interesting overview of the music collections – printed music, manuscripts, a complete collection of Danish music recordings from 1998 and onward, books, concert programmes, pictures, archives, different kinds of e-resources etc. She informed us that she was working on a publication about the collections, that will be available later during the year. The collection of Danish printed music is almost complete thanks to the legal deposit law that has existed for published sheet music since 1902. This music may not be borrowed, but a large part has been digitized. The Library’s comprehensive selection of music by foreign composers is mostly for circulation, for example performance materials for orchestras and choirs.

Anne Ørbæk Jensen and Øyvind Harkamp

After this introduction Christina Krüger Henningsen gave a presentation on her work as conservator and showed us some of the precious older manuscripts. The Manuscript Collection contains Danish and foreign sheet music with over 20,000 units - a substantial part of which consists of works by contemporary composers. Many music manuscripts have been digitized and are available online in the The Danish National Digital Sheet Music Archive. One notable example is the Carl Nielsen Edition that is freely available for downloading. The Danish Centre for Music Editing, a research unit within the library, focuses on producing critical editions of musical works related to Danish history.

Christina Krüger Henningsen, connservator showing manuscripts

Then it was my turn to give my IAML presentation, with an emphasis on the many changes that have taken place within our Association during last years, not least the restructuring of the organization to make it more transparent and agile. The many improved possibilities for communication – the website with work spaces for all groups, social media etc. – make it easy to share and learn with colleagues around the world even if you are not able to attend IAML’s annual congresses.

After refreshments the general assembly took place and I am happy to introduce the new Board to you:

Board of the Danish Branch

From left to right: Øyvind Harkamp (Secretary), Anders Cato, Anne Helle Jespersen, Karen Vestergaard and Helen Olsen (Treasurer). Absent: Emilie Wieth-Knudsen, President

I wish the Board good luck with the work and a lot of fun.

The meeting ended in the early evening and I had a walk back to the railway station together with Anders Cato, a Swedish friend and colleague who works in Copenhagen but commutes from Malmö in Sweden. There was a beautiful winter scene, but freezing cold. We were after all in Scandinavia in the beginning of the inhospitable month of March!

Winter in Copenhagen


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