High Road to Culture in Flanders and the Netherlands


High Road to Culture in Flanders and the Netherlands

Orpheus Institute Acquires Prestigious Library Ton Koopman

Orpheus Institute Acquires Prestigious Library Ton Koopman

The internationally renowned Orpheus Institute in Ghent acquires the prestigious library of conductor Ton Koopman, one of the pioneers of the early music movement. The focus of the collection is 17th- and 18th-century music, its cultural context and performance practice.

Ton Koopman (Zwolle, b. 1944) enjoys worldwide fame as an organist, harpsichordist, conductor, music pedagogue and researcher. He is one of the pioneers of the early music movement. His historically informed interpretations of Bach, Buxtehude and their contemporaries, as well as music from the later 18th-century, can be heard on hundreds of acclaimed CDs.

In the course of his sixty-year career, Koopman has collected an impressive collection of books and music. Among the thousands of prints and manuscripts are numerous unique works, including a cantata by Handel unknown until recently. In addition to this historical library with works from the 15th to the 19th century, Koopman has also collected thousands of modern books and periodicals on Baroque music and culture. Many of the books, both old and modern, have been annotated extensively by the artist himself, making the collection unique.

Thanks to the patronage of the Désiré Collen Foundation, the Orpheus Institute is able to bring this collection to Ghent. Peter Dejans, director of Orpheus Institute: ‘This is a real working library with a wealth of practice-oriented literature and scores. This collection is a dream for every performer of baroque music.’

Research group

For the development of a new research group around the Koopman collection, the Orpheus Institute has secured the financial support of the Department of Economy, Science & Innovation of the Flemish Government. The collection will be housed in the Koetshuis (coach-house), which is located next to the Orpheus Institute. This eighteenth-century building on the historic site of d'Hane Steenhuyse is made available by the City of Ghent and will preserve Koopman’s books in optimal conditions. There will also be a multifunctional space for publicly accessible lectures, seminars, workshops and concerts. The renovation of this historic building started in the autumn of 2019 and will last until summer 2020.

The research group Resounding Libraries, with baroque specialists Dr Bruno Forment (principal investigator) and Dr Huub van der Linden, will develop projects around the collection to encourage innovative artistic practices and develop new methods within the digital humanities. In this context, the Orpheus Institute will also open up the collection digitally to make it available to researchers in Belgium and beyond. The team will be further strengthened in the future in order to realise these ambitions.

Orpheus Institute

The Orpheus Institute is a leading European centre for artistic research in music since 1996. In particular, the processes of music-making are central to the activities of the Institute, which now has 35 researchers.

To promote and disseminate this knowledge, the Orpheus Institute organises seminars, study days, workshops and masterclasses and an annual Academy. Next to that, the Orpheus Institute also has its own publication series. All these aspects have made the Orpheus Institute what it is today: a leading European centre for artistic research in music and an influential driving force for new developments in artistic practice, with an impact that is felt worldwide.


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