Music Information Centres
Does anyone know the collective noun for the Music Information Centre (MIC)?
This might be a question to ask the staff at IAMIC - the International
Association of Music Information Centres - "a world-wide network
of organisations promoting new music". The IAMIC website is a good
starting point for Music & Vision's weekly electronic journey
around the world's music websites.
IAMIC is the umbrella organisation for (currently) 36 member centres
in 32 countries and is a useful reference for an investigation into the
contemporary music of any of its member countries. The IAMIC website is
a simple no-nonsense site with an Irish internet domain and produced by
a web design company in the USA, with IAMIC itself being run from the office
of MICA - Music Information Centre Austria. All this points to a
truly international line-up, with the most valuable asset being the member
organisations, most of which offer a tremendous resource.
Some thirteen of the member centres have yet to build their own websites,
and for these IAMIC provides more traditional contact details - addresses,
phone and fax numbers and some e-mail addresses - plus a page of information
on the IAMIC site. Of the twenty-three member websites, only seven seem
not to have been designed for an international audience, containing no (or
only limited) content in English. Hudební Informacní Stredisko
- the Czech centre - has an on-line project especially for foreigners and
a very impressive site.
Surfing around the member sites, I was surprised by the variety of features
- composer biographies (Australian, Norwegian and Canadian centres), shops
selling CDs, cassettes, books, magazines, T-shirts and teaching kits (Australia),
Denmark's colourful news section, CD projects (Austria), forthcoming festivals
and concert series (Australia, Britain and Denmark), articles about the
Norwegian music scene, an abundance of new music links and a selection of
jazz musicians from Austria.
A common feature is the on-line database of scores and recordings. Canada
have works by more than 400 composers, Great Britain have 30,000 scores
and 15,000 recordings and Ireland have a very fast on-line search for scores
(which can also be purchased). New Zealand has 5000 compositions by 200
composers, and Donemus and RIM - Stichting Repertoire Informatiecentrum
Muziek (both in the Netherlands) have important on-line catalogues.
There doesn't yet appear to be a link up between the various on-line databases
- to search for U.S. music, for example, you must visit the website of the
American Music Center (who currently have more than 30,000 of their
40,000 scores on-line).
IAMIC is at http://www.iamic.ie and
you can visit its member sites from there - definitely worth a look.
Other music information centres on the net appear to have no connection
with IAMIC. The Lithuanian Music Information
and Publishing Centre (LMIPC) claims to be a member of IAMIC, but
is not mentioned on the IAMIC web site. Germany's Internationales Musikinstitut
Darmstadt is a member of IAMIC, but the German
Music Information Centre appears not to be. An Information
Centre for Southern African Music (ISAM) promotes South African
art music and indigenous South African music and research, and the Classical Music Information
Center is the Japanese MIC (with content in English), featuring
12 major Japanese orchestras, artist profiles, concert information and an
extensive concert calendar covering all of Japan.
Try searching for other centres, using both the American and British
spellings of the word center. Bear in mind that some organizations
use very different names but provide a similar service - e.g. the Music Library of Greece (again with
good content in English). Music websites are appearing at an ever increasing
rate, and we shall visit some of the more interesting, useful and high quality
sites in this regular Tuesday column at Music
Keith Bramich, 5 January 1999.