In 1952 a government decree created the Hungarian National Philharmonia, which was tasked with organising national concert life, extra-curricular musical education for young people, and the employment of ensembles and soloists (both Hungarian and from abroad) for the performance of classical music and the works of Hungarian and other contemporary composers) to the highest standards. To that end it created the Hungarian State Orchestra from the existing Metropolitan Orchestra. The orchestra’s need for sheet music led to the creation of the Music Library to supply not just the Hungarian State Orchestra but also performers of all concerts organised by the Hungarian National Philharmonia.
The unique situation of the Music Library today comes from this task. The stock of the library had to conform to every area of concert life, making it the only specialist institution in Hungary of its kind. It came to assume even greater importance when concert organisation regulations were liberalised, with the increasing numbers of concert organisers taking advantage of the Music Library’s services. The National Philharmonic Orchestra, Choir and Library Nonprofit Ltd. (Nemzeti Filharmonikus Zenekar, Énekkar és Kottatár Nonprofit Kft.), an outstanding national institution, was founded in 1998 as the legal successor of the National Philharmonia. The brand name of the 106-member symphony orchestra and the 80-member National Choir is the National Philharmonic. From this time onwards, the Music Library fulfilled a double role:
The basic public duty of the Hungarian National Philharmonic’s Music Library is to provide sheet music to participants on the national music scene at minimal cost. The Music Library is the only specialist institution of its kind in Hungary. Thanks to our affordable fees, we enable orchestras, choirs, music schools and other amateur ensembles to participate in the country’s musical life.
The stock of the library is currently 13 thousand volumes. The bulk of these are orchestral works, which embrace the concert-hall repertoire from the Baroque, pre-Classical, Classical and Romantic, to contemporary works, as well as classical operettas and operatic arias, duets and choruses frequently performed on the concert stages.
The National Philharmonic Orchestra has its own private music library, which represents its core repertoire and contains volumes with conductors’ instructions. These works are not for distribution or lending. It also holds choral music, oratorios, a capella choruses, and in general every choral work in the choir’s repertoire. The National Choir does not have its own separate music library, and only works acquired since 1998 are classified separately. We have begun to build the choir’s own collection.
We seek to improve the collection by acquiring new scores all the time. Several different editions of certain works are available.
The Music Library holds copies of orchestral and choral works which can only be found there in Hungary.
The Music Library is available as a public service to all official ensembles, music schools, choirs and soloists. The conditions for all borrowing are set out in a contract which everyone receives when the order is confirmed.
The borrower (not necessarily the same as the performer or ensemble) places an order for the works, and pays a fee by bank transfer or cash when the loan period is over and the music returned.
Lending is a public service and for this reason, the Library receives state support. Accordingly, fees are low and affordable to everyone. The fees are explained at time of lending. Other services include the delivery of scores to country orchestras and ensembles by post.
Phone: +36 1 411 6682
Fax: +36 1 411 6684