The Alamire Foundation was founded in 1991 by the geneticist and hunting-horn player Baron Herman Vanden Berghe, who was chair of the board from its inception until his death in 2017. Other founding members were lutenist, musicologist and cultural entrepreneur Herman Baeten, who continues to sit on the board as treasurer and representative of Musica; viola da gamba player, teacher and researcher Eugeen Schreurs; and musicology professor Ignace Bossuyt. The organisation takes its name from the music-copyist and entrepreneur Petrus Alamire (c. 1470-1536), under whose direction prestigious music manuscripts were produced in the first decades of the sixteenth century.
The Alamire Foundation, International Centre for the Study of Music in the Low Countries, is founded as a co-operative association between KU Leuven (Musicology Research Unit) and the non-proﬁt organisation Musica (Impulse Centre for Music). The Foundation is housed in the central building of the University Library (Leuven).
Publication of the ﬁrst volume of the Monumenta Flandriae Musica, a series of modern critical editions and transcriptions of unpublished Flemish music from the Middle Ages to circa 1800. Each volume is accompanied by a scholarly introduction with information on the historical contextand performance practice, and a text edition.
The exhibition Alamire’s Treasury. Music and Miniatures from Charles V’s Time (1500-1535) is organised by the Alamire Foundation in the Predikherenkerk in Leuven. In the same year, the theme of the Alamire manuscripts is further explored in the international colloquium The Burgundian-Habsburg Court Complex of Music Manuscripts (1500-1535) and the Workshop of Petrus Alamire.
The Alamire Foundation organises the 17th International Conference of the International Musicological Society, attended by leading scholars in the musicological ﬁeld.
A research project focusing on the polyphonic sacred music repertory in northern France c. 1370-1550 results in a series of four exhibitions. Grouped under the title Cantus21. Patrimoine musical du Nord de la France, these events take place simultaneously in Cambrai, Douai and Bailleul.
Initiation of the project Straight from the Source.The Late-Medieval Music Manuscript as Entry Point into the Musical Culture of the Low Countries. This project, led by the Alamire Foundation and carried out in Flanders, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom, aims to localise, inventory and valorise Low Countries musical heritage from the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries. Special attention goes to the manuscripts produced in the workshops of Petrus Alamire.
As part of the exhibitionCharles the Bold:Splendour of the Burgundian Court, the Groeningen Museum (Bruges) and the Alamire Foundation organize the international colloquiumThe Splendour of Burgundy. A Multidisiplinary Approach (in collaboration with the Concertgebouw Bruggeand the Radboud University Nijmegen).
The Alamire Foundation enters into a structural collaboration with AMUZ (Flanders Festival Antwerp). This results in the theme ofThe Sistine Chapel and the Low Countries at the 2009 edition of the LausPolyphoniae festival.
First edition of the annual Leuven festival Voices of Passion, in collaboration with the Leuven cultural centre 30CC.
Publication of the first issue of the Journal of the Alamire Foundation, a periodical devoted to music and performance practice related to the Low Countries.
Initiation of the Alamire Digital Lab, a high-tech, mobile installation for the digitisation of musical heritage in manuscript and print.
The Alamire Foundation, in collaboration with M - Museum Leuven, organises the exhibition Divine Sounds. Seven Centuries of Gregorian Chant Manuscripts in Flanders.
The manuscripts shown in the Divine Sounds exhibition are digitised in the Alamire Digital Lab, including the codex from the abbey of Dendermonde, containing the work of Hildegard von Bingen. This iconic manuscript, which plays a key role in medieval music history, has in the meantime been made publicly available online for the first time through IDEM. The first CD of a series offering the complete recording of the music in this source has been recorded by Psallentes. An exact reproduction of the manuscript will appear in the series Leuven Library of Music in Facsimile.
Opening of the House of Polyphony, a collaboration between the Alamire Foundation, the University of Leuven and the City of Leuven.
First phase of the partnership between the Alamire Foundation and the Royal Library of Belgium. The digitisation (carried out by the Alamire Digital Lab) of all the polyphony manuscripts held by the library results in the creation of some 8000 images.
The Alamire Foundation concludes a unique collaboration with the Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana. This allows the Alamire Foundation to digitise, study and detail all polyphony manuscripts in the Vatican library that can be linked to the Low Countries (ranging from the late fourteenth to the early seventeenth centuries). The first round of digitisation results in the creation of some 14,000 imageswhich will be made accessible online through the Integrated Database for Early Music (IDEM). The project is financially supported by the Flemish Ministry of Culture and the University of Leuven.
The House of Polyphony consolidates its status as an international platform through the organisation of music-labs and workshops. Renowned experts lead these sessions, including the American musicologist, pianist and conductor, Joshua Rifkin, the director of the Early Music department at the University of Southern California, Adam Gilbert, and the specialist in the music of Pierre de la Rue, Honey Meconi.
Alamire Digital Lab digitises a recently discovered sixteenth-century processional from the Beguinage in Turnhout. The project around this major Flemish heritage is made possible thanks to a crowdfunding campaign.The plainchant in this source is recorded in its entirety by ensemble Psallentes.
For the first time the Flemish Ministry of Tourism includesFlemish polyphony in its official policy statement (2014-2019).
Digitisation of plainchant manuscripts held by Tongeren Basilica in connection with the launching of the Teseum, the new treasury museum, which opened in 2016. A museum installation presents works from these manuscripts recorded in sound and image by Alamire Foundation ensembles-in-residence Cappella Pratensis and Psallentes.
The Integrated Database for Early Music (IDEM) goes online. This web-platform makes digitised manuscripts of music from the Low Countries available to a global audience, facilitating further valorisation.
The Alamire Foundation is contributing partner for the exhibition on the Ghent Altarpiece, Mystieke Muziek, in the Provincial Cultural Centre Caermersklooster in Ghent.
The second phase of digitisation starts at the Royal Library of Belgium, with a focus on the rich collection of plainchant manuscripts preserved in the Manuscript Department.
A unique and original 1713 organ is purchased, taking its place next to a restored cabinet-organ from the Low Countries, previously donated to the Alamire Foundation. Both organs represent important new additions to the collection of historical instruments held in the House of Polyphony. This collection not only serves to document and preserve musical heritage, but has a primary function in performance and research through practice. The replica of the Gothic organ (based on a Hugo van der Goes painting) is played in St. James’ Church in Antwerp as part ofthe 2017 edition of the LausPolyphoniae festival.
The Alamire Foundation digitises and incorporates into its collection the complete Renaissance Archives of the School of Music, created at the University of Illinois.This archive, compiled by Herbert Kellman (senior fellow of the Alamire Foundation) includes one of the world’s most important collections of unpublished information on polyphony sources.
The Alamire Digital Lab is flown to Halifax (Canada) for the digitisation of an antiphoner originally from the Cistercian convent of Salzinnes, near Namur in Belgium (now preserved in the Patrick Power Library at Saint-Mary's University, Halifax). The digital images are integrated into the exhibition Centuries of Silence: The Discovery of the Salzinnes Antiphonal (Art Gallery of Nova Scotia), together with recordings of music from the manuscript.
The exhibition Petrus Alamire, Polyphony in the Picture, is mounted in the Minster of Beverley (UK), the first stop on an international tour.
Announcement of the discovery of the Leuven Chansonnier at a press conference in the House of Polyphony. This major source is purchased by the Belgian King Baudouin Foundation and presented to the Alamire Foundation on permanent loan. The first public presentation of the manuscript takes place on Flanders Day (July 11) in the Morgan Library & Museum in New York, followed by a study-day in Flanders House.
A facsimile-edition of the Leuven Chansonnier is published, the first in the Alamire Foundation’s series Leuven Library of Music in Facsimile.