History

Musica originated in Peer from a youth choir and an annual festival that combined folk and early music. Musica vzw was founded on 1 January 1978. Although the organization had strong roots in the early music movement of the 70s and 80s, it has always looked outwards and has initiated many initiatives in Flanders which often grew into leading events and autonomous organizations in the cultural field. Musica itself was always active in various fields, from organizing concerts, courses and exhibitions to managing an instrument collection and documentation center and organizing festivals.

The focus of the organization has systematically broadened and deepened to become the impulse center that Musica is today, with operations ranging from artistic research and experimentation to continuing education and publications, an outdoor sound art collection, a broad educational and participatory operation, formats for talent development, and festivals with international appeal. Below is a brief overview of its history based on milestones in the organization’s development.

Milestones Musica

  • 1 January 1978: foundation of Musica vzw by inspirer Herman Baeten; first exhibition with the historical instrumental heritage of Musica
  • 1980: first school concerts; publication of folder about ensembles operating within Musica and exhibition of old musical instruments; start of annual vacation course in early music.
  • 1982: First talk of a ‘center for early music’; first staff members and first permanent office on the market square in Peer
  • 1984: first Early Music Day in Alden Biesen, a cooperation between Musica, Landcommanderij Alden Biesen and Basilicaconcerten Tongeren; first series of 6 facsimiles
  • 1986: Musica grows into an organization with 5 staff members through various employment projects
  • 1987: Musica is recognized as an organization for amateuristic art practice within the People’s Development; first structural subsidy, first permanent personnel
  • 1989: Founding of Alamire Music Publishing Company asbl
  • 1990: foundation of EuroMUSICA, an international cooperation of course organizations with partners from the Netherlands, England, Germany and France.
  • 1991: foundation of the non-profit organization Alamire Foundation, study center for music from the Low Countries, in cooperation with KULeuven
  • 1992: Foundation of the non-profit organization Muziekactief, which from now on organizes courses for adults, while the non-profit organization Mallemuze organizes activities for young people and Alamire continues to function as a publishing house; Musica, Impulscentrum voor Muziek becomes an umbrella organization for these three and continues to be responsible for concert organization such as Early Music Day and the aperitif concerts
  • 1996: Children’s Music Festival Oorsmeer is organized in various places in Flanders and abroad; first master class in early music is linked to a series of concerts.
  • 1998: first edition of International Young Artist’s Presentation as part of Laus Polyphoniae in Antwerp. The focus changes annually between ‘historical wind instruments’ (historical wind instruments up to 1850) and ‘early music’.
  • 1999: Musica is recognized and structurally subsidized within the Musical Decree of the Flemish Community; one-time organization of a medieval festival in Sint-Truiden by order of the Province of Limburg.
  • 2000: Musica is recognized within the Arts Decree, whereby both Muziekactief and Mallemuze join the organization so that they once again work from a single arts education center. Both Mallemuze and Muziekactief are dissolved as a legal structure. Alamire continues to exist autonomously as a publishing house.
  • 2002: Musica moves to the Provincial Domain Dommelhof in Neerpelt; first edition of the Musicaklassen for pupils of the second and third grade of primary education. Such classes are organized every year for 12 to 15 weeks.
  • 2004: Within the European Interreg program Musica, together with the partner Intro/In Situ, is recognized with the project Klankenbos (2004-2007); development of Klankenbos in Neerpelt and a series of festivals and concert initiatives in Flanders and the Netherlands
  • 2005: First festival and congress around sound art; educational packages around the sound installations and around sound art; first edition of the First Class Concerts 
  • 2006: first Samhain project on Celtic traditions, fire and sound
  • 2008: first Babelut Festival, art festival for children from 0 to 3 years old
  • 2011: Second edition of Babelut Festival with an international symposium and stage presentations; start of the annual music vacation during MAfestival Bruges; Sound Factory opens in Concertgebouw Bruges with an educational framework of Musica
  • 2013: First edition of SoundMine: the renewed composition stage with attention to sound art and electronic music; launch of the online platform Klankatlas, an auditory map of Belgian and Dutch Limburg
  • 2014: Herman Baeten, director of Musica since its inception in 1978, retires and passes the torch to Paul Craenen, artistic director since 2012; First edition of AlbaNova (successor to the Early Music Day) builds a bridge between past and present and provides stimulation to the world of old and new music; The Sound of Hasselt-Genk: The closing event of the Union Hasselt-Genk that made the two cities sound together; Tonal Tools: workshops and international publication Tonal Tools on creative keyboard didactics (with accompanying app and website); symposium on use of locative media; study day on Early Arts
  • 2015: Art Educator in Residence in association with Antwerp Royal Conservatory and deSingel; establishment of the Musicafonds; first-class concerts Bl!ndman wins the European YEAH! Award as best music performance for children
  • 2016: First OORtreders: transdisciplinary art with a focus on sound, in which the public space and co-creation are also important angles of approach; start of development of Tafelmuziek: project within day care centers; presentation ‘Ukelila, An Aural and Artistic Approach to Music in a Context of Diversity’ 
  • 2017: First Babelut Parcours Gold: experiential parcours for children between 0-5 years and their supervisors; startup Collectief Publiek Geluid: for young artists with a focus on sound creations in the public space; Masterpiece: Dating the Artist in collaboration with Concertgebouw Brugge 
  • 2018: Director Paul Craenen is succeeded by Esther Ursem; Masterpiece: Beethoven Heartz, a project with a group of deaf and hard of hearing children; first edition Masterpiece: Take Out; Sonokids, developmental and participatory trajectory for after-school care; expansion Klankenbos ism Landbouwfietsroute; EXPO with Europalia; First edition Masteriece: Young Curators; Muziekkasteel Alden Biesen; core team LIKO; startup Onderstroom: talent development in Limburg
  • 2019: Musicafonds: The Musical Gift; castle classes in Alden Biesen, Masterpiece Lassus with documentary by Griet Teck on the occasion of listening to Lassus’ Boetepsalmen by 3 female detainees; organization MERYC19 international conference ism IPEM UGent; Coaching of musicians and composers in second edition Babelut Parcours IGLO; start Art Cure Curieuzeneuzen (DKO, BO); project leader and partner Creative Europe Sounds Now; first edition Site Specifics: masterclass around sound art
  • 2020: Collective Public Sound creates installation Greenhouse ism Meakusma Festival, Sankt-Vith; coronapandemie: digital version of AlbaNova, International Young Artist Presentation, Summerschool, Music Vacations, Behind the Scenes (online workshops for secondary schools); cancellation OORtreders, but OORtreders EXPO in open air; launch hEAR DROPS YouTube channel; start art cure Stapsteen (DKO, BO); opening new Sound installations Impact, Beehive, Doors of Listening by Felix Blume together with the residents of Opvangcentrum Overpelt with report on VRT news; online Sounds Now Symposium on Curating Diversity
  • 2021: Docu SoundMine with Antwerp Symphony Orchestra on Podium 19; webinars Border Experiences: Music and Education in the Netherlands and Belgium; 1st Sounds Now Curating Lab with Christine Eyene and Klankenbos Spring Expo; 1st project Multimodal the bEAST at Klara’s Waldenfestival; monthly Radio Forest Sessions; Publication Doors of ListeningPodcast Future Composé in response to Masterpiece Dating the Artist; Publication Listening in the context of Sounds Now; online presentation of participatory trajectories developed during Masterpiece weeks ism Concertgebouw Brugge and Publiq; premiere Babelut Parcours ZIMZUM