Nikolaus Harnoncourt Zentrum

Nikolaus Harnoncourt Zentrum

FR May 3rd 2024, 1 pm | Landesmusikschule St. Georgen im Attergau with state governor Thomas Stelzer
within the 5th International Nikolaus Harnoncourt Tage from May 3rd to 5th 2024  exhibition period: May 3rd to September 2024

Panel discussion of the cultural-philosophical think tank:
Saturday May 4th 11 am to 1 pm
with Wolfram Eilenberger and Florian Boesch, presentation: Judith Hoffmann

The opening of the Nikolaus Harnoncourt Centre at the Anton Bruckner Private University on 3 May 2024 in St. Georgen im Attergau will also include the vernissage of the exhibition Nikolaus and Alice Harnoncourt: Music is a Language at the local music school. The exhibition, curated by Marie-Theres Arnbom, portrays the couple's life together with the pioneering journey of the explorer community. Visitors can expect insights into Harnoncourt's working methods and his musical development. It is aimed at adults and children, amateurs and experts.

The exhibition will be on display in St. Georgen from 3 May to mid-September and will then move to the foyer of the Bruckner University in Linz from 21 October to 6 December 2024 (Nikolaus Harnoncourt's 95th birthday).

Admission is free.



On June 5, 2023, the Nikolaus Harnoncourt Zentrum (NHZ) at ABPU started its work and would like to briefly introduce itself:


What is the role of the Nikolaus Harnoncourt Zentrum?

The Nikolaus Harnoncourt Zentrum (NHZ) has set itself the task of making Harnoncourt's universe accessible to posterity by digitizing its archive, which has been built up over seven decades, and making it accessible to the public and inviting research and discussion. The goal is not only a musicological research center, but its unique selling point is reflected in its interdisciplinary work as a forum for education. The NHZ sees itself as a "torchbearer" of Harnoncourt's universal worlds of thought and dares to look at larger contexts of the development of the last centuries in order to venture an outlook on the future.

The cultural-philosophical think tank will invite personalities of our time to deal with the current burning social issues. Young musicians should explore for themselves the meaning and inspiration of their music-making and find their fulfillment in it. In summer schools, Harnoncourt's companions will pass on his paths of discovery to the students. Throughout his life, the spiritual education of young people was of particular concern to him, the development of which he regarded with great concern. Together with the Upper Austrian Landesmusikschulwerk and the public music school in St. Georgen im Attergau, the NHZ will implement a pilot project for youth development in the spirit of Nikolaus Harnoncourt.

The Nikolaus Harnoncourt Center is a new member of REMA - Réseau Européen de Musique Ancienne!

REMA is the network for Early Music in Europe. With over 130 members active in performance, programming, education, artist management or recording, it has the legitimacy to discuss creation, heritage, inclusion and sustainability.
REMA aims at being the leading voice of the sector in Europe, by stimulating awareness for early music, by promoting the rediscovery of European heritage and repertoire in terms of historically informed performance, while boosting the creativity of artists and encouraging their professional integration.


What is the archive?

Until now, listeners, interested parties, musicians and musicologists have only been able to recognise Nikolaus Harnoncourt's musical intentions in a concert and on the basis of recordings, or to dive deeper into his thoughts through his books. However, his ability to represent music is expressed even more clearly in his written notes and annotations in the full scores and performance materials, which provide special insights into the artistic creative will and comprehensive background information.

Since the beginning of their work in 1949, Nikolaus and Alice Harnoncourt have systematically built up an archive on wooden shelves, which has steadily grown to about 80 shelf metres today.

In the beginning, the scores had to be copied by hand from manuscripts or microfilms in libraries and archives and orchestral parts had to be prepared just to be able to play them through and thus assess whether they would be included in the concert programme or not.

In the series of Nikolaus Harnoncourt's annotated scores, the focus is on works by Johann Sebastian Bach, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Joseph Haydn, Ludwig van Beethoven, Anton Bruckner or Johann Strauss, but also Jacques Offenbach, Giuseppe Verdi, Antonin Dvorak, Johannes Brahms, Robert Schumann, Béla Bartók and, of course, most of the Baroque composers, some of whom he even rescued from oblivion, such as Ignaz Biber, Johann Heinrich Schmelzer and Georg Muffat.

Music and literature cannot be separated in the archive. It contains numerous musical works of various genres that he was never to perform, as well as manuscripts and notes of his music-literary work and teaching.

Today, the archive has grown to an extensive collection documenting his entire oeuvre:

  • Musical material (scores, orchestral material, copies of manuscripts and other primary sources);
  • (annotated books) of his musical library;
  • secondary literature (programmes, reviews, sketches, correspondence, repertoire lists, performance lists, conducting notes, concepts, thoughts, teaching material, rehearsal plans, lectures, interviews, photos, etc.)
  • Audio-visual material (all commercial recordings of all formats, radio and TV reports, interviews, lectures, unpublished concert and rehearsal recordings).

If one takes the score of a work arranged by Harnoncourt in order to be able to read and grasp his thoughts and emphases, the work is supplemented with a multitude of material about it: sketches, scoring ideas, concepts, secondary literature about the work or its composer, manuscripts, letters, primary sources, all of which contributed to Harnoncourt's engagement with the work. In addition, there is material revolving around the performance of the work and its reception: press interviews, announcements via the media, current news coverage, tour schedules, programme booklets, performance slips, rehearsal schedules, correspondence, photos, reviews, often a recording of the performance for radio, TV, DVD or CD.

In this way, most of the performed works in the archive are quite completely documented and traceable from the approach to interpretation to the recording.

The large number of recordings, programmes, reviews, awards and prizes not only testifies to the high esteem in which the artist was held, which he had to work hard to achieve over decades, it also provides a vivid picture of the radical renewal of early music interpretation in the second half of the 20th century.

The Nikolaus Harnoncourt Centre cordially invites all those interested and searching to contact us with artistic, philosophical and scholarly enquiries.

We can surely support also your thesis or dissertation!


The Nikolaus Harnoncourt Centre at the ABPU Research Day on 27 November 2023

You can download the presentation by Claudia Stobrawa here: