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April 2021


  1. 40 years of development of the Musica database of choral music! Wow!
  2. Musica International and COVID-19
  3. Fire at the datacenter hosting www.musicanet.org
  4. Recent changes in Musica
    • French-language (and revised English-language) video tutorial
    • Revision of composer bios
    • New scores
    • Your own private field in Musica
  5. The latest Musica favorite pieces of the month
  6. Musica sessions
  7. Volunteers wanted!
  8. News from our members
  9. Reminders
1. 40 years of development of the Musica database of choral music! Wow!

Back in 1981, to keep tabs on its own choral library, the Centre d'Art Polyphonique d'Alsace created the first records in what was to become the Musica database of choral music. A group of volunteer choir conductors from Alsace were behind the project and got it up and running. The group rapidly acquired the services of a music librarian, and were joined by other enthusiastic volunteers from France, Belgium and Switzerland, soon to be followed by Germany, the USA, Canada, and then many other countries. Other libraries saw the utility of this academic project for cataloguing their choral holdings, as did publishers (first A Coeur Joie and Carus) requiring structured records of their output.

By 1998 the project had become sufficiently global to be placed in the hands of a new association, Musica International. National choir federations and associations of choral directors could support the project by becoming members of Musica International and promoting it among their own membership.

The project has not stopped evolving, both to keep up with advances in library science and IT and because the volume of the database has soared (data is increasingly detailed and multilingual, in a relational structure, with thesauri and other features). The options for sharing and access have also changed and expanded with the times (from Minitel to the internet, DVD-ROM, direct online inputting, private fields in which users can manage their own holdings “inside” Musica, etc.).

We will mark this anniversary properly when the health situation allows. One possible date is the proposed Musica session in Strasbourg at the end of October 2021.

Musica has reached a crossroads. The project would never have grown so much without the input of volunteers. But now Musica has come of age. Many of our volunteers from the early years have sadly departed, and now more than ever it is crucial to replace them if the project is to continue. We are also looking for people to replace the long-serving project leadership. Ways of thinking and doing may have changed, but we are convinced that, as a collaborative academic project, Musica will survive thanks to the volunteering involvement of so many people in the choral world who can each make a small but vital contribution to keeping it going.

2. Musica International and COVID-19

The health crisis has temporarily laid off many choir directors, and this has had an impact on their use of tools like Musica.

Vaccination in particular now gives us renewed hope that everything all lovers of choral music have been missing – rehearsals, concerts, rallies, festivals, competitions, touring, etc. – will soon start up again.


Musica is perfect for preparing a concert program. Despite the successive lockdowns, we have not stopped adding to the database, applying the latest user-friendly IT and expanding the options so you can really slake your thirst for new choral works.

Why not convert the frustration you must be feeling into something good and useful? You can either visit the Musical International website at www.musicanet.org, or take advantage of special full access privileges through the website of your choral federation, if you belong to one:

  • To find repertoire, simply search the database by inputting a subject in the “Keywords or Words of the title” box. Refine your search by using the “More criteria” form to add a time period or a style, a text language, a type of choir, a country, etc.
  • Discover our multimedia links for the pieces you choose: a page of the score, a video by a good choir, text, translations, correct pronunciation, and more.
  • Find biographical information on a composer (for instance click on the tab “Composers” in the “search form of the homepage), and see which of their choral scores are described in Musica.
  • Once a month, listen to our “Favorite Piece”, “THE" piece to take with you to a desert island.
  • Have a blast browsing the “Auditorium”, with its thousands of links to videos and audio recordings of great performances.

→ N.B. And if your federation’s website doesn’t yet have a privileged link to musicanet.org, encourage them to get in touch with us at office@musicanet.org!

3. Fire at the datacenter hosting www.musicanet.org
All is now back to normal!

You may have heard in the media that a large datacenter in Strasbourg went up in smoke on March 10, erasing thousands of sites from the Internet (report at Musica facebook page). Although musicanet.org was one of the sites affected, we had made local security backups that allowed us to put up a replacement site, in another location, just three days later. The full site has been operational again since on March 22 – and none of our 40 years of data has been lost.

The entire Musica International team was called into action to achieve this result, and showed exemplary professionalism. We apologize if it has meant that certain tasks have been delayed, such as publication of this MusicaMail.

4. Recent changes in Musica
French-language video tutorial

The video tutorial describing how Musica works is now available in French at www.musicanet.org/fr. The English-language version of the video has been revised and improved, and is available on the homepage at www.musicanet.org/en.

Revision of composer bios

We are continuing to review our biographical information on the 33 000 composers referenced in the database. So far we have done this for over 17 000 composers. We have been systematically adding links to more detailed biographies. All the bios can be accessed from the table of composers, the records describing a score, or the alphabetical list.

New scores

We now have more than 196 000 records describing choral scores. The publishers with whom we have been working most recently include Labatiaz (Switzerland), A Coeur Joie (France), Sulasol (Finland), Helbling (Austria), Schott (Germany) and Euprint (Belgium).

Your own private field in Musica

You can now MANAGE YOUR OWN CHORAL HOLDINGS without needing to input all the data yourself. Just sign up for a “private field” in the Musica database and take advantage of all the information we already have, and all the power of our IT tools, to build up your own catalogue by simply adding your locations in your private field. The field will normally be accessible and visible to you alone, but you can also choose to share it more widely.

5. The latest Musica favorite pieces of the month

Don't forget to visit our favorite piece every month - the piece every choral conductor should take to a desert island: musicanet.org

The fourmost recent pieces:

April 2021: “Notre Père” by Jean-Claude Jumeau

March 2021: “Kacena divoká” by Leoš Janácek

February 2021: “A Nywe Werk” by Seán Doherty (Northern Ireland)

January 2021: “O sacrum convivium” by Alwin Michael Schronen (Germany)

… and visit our month-by-month archive of favorites going back to February 1998

Or you can reach them from our Facebook page.

6. Musica Sessions

The health crisis means that we are unable to organize any sessions at present.

However, fingers crossed we will be able to hold another international session from 25 to 30 October 2021 at the University of Strasbourg.
That would give us a chance to celebrate Musica’s first 40 years.

Full details

Interested? Contact us!

And please do get in touch if you think you might be able to organize one or more sessions in your own country.

A Musica session is nothing less than a workshop involving composers, publishers, documentalists, music librarians and choir directors who want to improve their knowledge of Musica and take an active role in promoting the choral heritage. Working in a friendly and enriching atmosphere, participants improve Musica in quantity and quality with works of their choice. Those who take part always find these intense times of sharing and focusing on the choral repertoire to be extremely useful and rewarding.

7. Volunteers wanted!

Musica International was started and is still run by a team of volunteers with the support of two or three salaried posts (such as a web developer and a music librarian). It is now time for the old hands to pass the baton to a new, younger team of people who are just as enthusiastic about sharing and promoting choral music around the world. Perhaps you’d like to take part in this skilled project. We are looking for choir directors and documentalists who can help to expand our database, but also TRANSLATORS into English, German, French and Spanish, a GRAPHIC DESIGNER to revamp our visuals, a COMMUNICATIONS OFFICER to raise awareness of the project, and more… If you feel able to join our large and happy family, even if only from time to time, please contact us. We look forward to hearing from you!

Interested? Contact us!

We are also looking to establish a network of NATIONAL CORRESPONDENTS in all countries. Why not you? Even if you’re unavailable to do this yourself, perhaps you know someone who could – in your national choral federation for example. As Musica International is an academic project, it could be a wonderful opportunity for a university professor, a music librarian or similar.

8. News from our members
European Choral Association
Europa Cantat 2021 Festival
16-25 July 2021, Ljubljana, Slovenia; Europe’s leading choral festival!

Since 1961 the European Choral Association has been organizing the EUROPA CANTAT festival, which is held every three years in a different country.

This unique residential event brings over 4000 people together from all over Europe and around the world to share their passion for singing and discover other cultures by attending workshops, giving concerts, listening to guest choirs, and just eating, spending time and having fun together.

This year, the streets of Ljubljana will be full of music, with over 40 workshops, concerts and special projects lined up. Don’t miss it! Full information at europacantat.jskd.si.

Choralp - À Cœur Joie
24-31 July 2021, Briançon, France

The tenth annual Choralp festival will take place in the southern French Alps. A week at which choirs and singers from all over the world can meet and get to know each other.

This year there will be two concert workshops:
Workshop 1: Arthur Honegger, Le Roi David (1921)
Workshop 2: Serguei Rachmaninoff, Vespers (1915)

More information at choralp.org/en

11th European Academy for choral conductors
29 August - 5 September 2021, Fano, Italy

The Academy is a biannual professional masterclass open to participants (both experienced conductors and auditors) from all over Europe. It is organized by Feniarco in partnership with ECA - Europa Cantat and in cooperation with Arcom and Coro Polifonico Malatestiano. During the first three days of the Academy, 10 participating conductors will all prepare together. The leader of the masterclass will then select the five most proficient to perfect their work for a final concert, with the other conductors sitting in as auditors. Maestro for the 2021 Academy is Frieder Bernius (Germany).

Applications must be received by 31 May 2021.

For full details, go to www.feniarco.it

À Cœur Joie
International Congress for Choral Directors
Puteaux, France, 10-12 September 2021

The fourth edition of this event will be a long weekend in which to discover new ideas and techniques, while meeting, sharing and attending concerts. The ideal opportunity to network, improve your skills and discover new repertoire. Musica International will be there in the Expo.

Full details at www.congreschefsdechoeur.com

9. Reminders

Musica International is a collaborative project that is run “by” and “for” people involved in choral singing. We need volunteers who want to share their passion with the choral community by taking an active part in the project. Do not hesitate to contact us at office@musicanet.org.

Are you responsible for a choral federation? We offer global privileged access to musicanet.org for all your members, from “your” website! An advantage which your choir directors will thank you for: Global Privileged Access.

This newsletter may also interest your friends. Do not hesitate to distribute it widely, and invite them to subscribe for MusicaMail at musicamail subscribe page.