Schoenberg estate declared world heritage

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Composer’s estate is brought under the protection of Unesco in a ceremony in Vienna

In a ceremony at the Arnold Schoenberg Center in Vienna the documentary estate of the composer was safeguarded for the future, by being included in the Unesco Memory of the World Register.

Documents belonging to the Austrian composer – including manuscripts, writings and photos – will now be under the protection of Unesco.

The ceremony was attended by members of Schoenberg’s family. Speaking at the event, executive councillor for culture Andreas Mailath-Pokorny described the estate as one of the ‘most prestigious, most comprehensive collections of a composer of the 20th century’. The collection includes music manuscripts, writings, art work, photos, recordings, letters and documents and is a hugely valuable resource for musicians, art scholars, teachers and historians.

The Arnold Schoenberg Center is now the third Austrian institution to own a composer’s estate of world heritage status. The Gesellschaft der Musikfreunde in Vienna has Johannes Brahms's estate and Vienna City Library has Schubert’s.

The Memory of the World Register was established to preserve the documentary heritage of the world. It contains historically significant documents such as book collections, manuscripts, musical scores and unique editions, as well as images, audio recordings and film documents.

Other documents on the register include the Bayeux Tapestry, the Magna Carta and film footage of Roald Amundsen's expedition to the South Pole.

Rachel Tregenza