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Library of Voices

The Library of Voices in St Norbert's Gate at Park Abbey, home of ADL/IDEM and the Sound Lab

Library of Voices

The Library of Voices is a contemporary meeting place where book, digital image and sound are accommodated and made accessible with the latest techniques. Flemish polyphony, Gregorian chant and music for carillon are valued in the most advanced way in the Sint-Norbertuspoort of the Abbey of Park in Heverlee.

This robust Northern gate building contains both a documentation center, a sound laboratory and a digital library. A library of the future, where unique images of music manuscripts from the Low Countries are shown in high resolution. The images were made with the Alamire Digital Lab (ADL) in the Vatican Library, the Royal Library in Brussels and in other international prestigious institutions. The Library of Voices is the headquarters of ADL and the Integrated database for Early Music (IDEM).

The Library of Voices is an open house, where visitors from the general public to experts will be introduced to the musical heritage of the Low Countries. It is a place where enthusiasts and experts unravel polyphony audibly and visually using ingenious, current techniques. The practice of singing from the source - which is presented in digital form - in combination with revealing research on acoustic models of historical spaces, is put into labs in collaboration with Leuven University research group ESAT-STADIUS. This is sure to have a major impact on the future of the historically informed practice of polyphony and Gregorian chant in our concert halls.

In October 2019, the renovation project Saint Norbert's Gate / Library of Voices was awarded the Audience Prize in a prestigious contest organised by the Flemish Agency for Immovable Heritage.

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