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Aleix Palau | 30 November 2020

Jaume Ayats ends his contract as director of the Museu de la Música

After eight years as director of the Museu de la Música de Barcelona, Jaume Ayats has ended his contract as the most senior member of the institution. He is returning to the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona to take up his post as professor and researcher of Ethnomusicology in the Department of Art and Musicology. Applications for the post of new museum director will be open to the public soon.

Jaume Ayats ends his contract as director of the Museu de la Música

Jaume Ayats took over the direction of the Museu de la Música in October 2012 and during that time he consolidated the entity as a whole, with large-scale exhibitions, the acquisition of new pieces, an expansion in the range of activities offered and a significant increase in the number of visitors.
In this regard, the number of visitors to the permanent exhibition annually, increased from 31,887 in 2012 to 42,486 last year, a figure that shows an increase of 10,600 people.

Growth has also been evident in the instrument collections, which have increased from 1,849 to 2,850 pieces. Additionally, the audio collection which the institution holds has almost doubled, from 7,500 recordings to almost 13,000, and there has been a significant expansion in the documentary collection. This was a task that was accompanied by the cataloguing, photographing, mass digitization and dissemination of the majority of the archive. What’s more, the Museu de la Música has entered the prestigious international catalogue of musical instruments MIMO with the incorporation of the Catalan language.

Theexhibition space has been renovated with particular attention to lighting, posters, renovation and increasing the number of musical instruments, whilst improving the museographic discourse and opening up an interactive space. Particularly outstanding is the creation of the simulator Conduct the Orchestra, lead the band , where visitors can conduct or lead the two resident ensembles of L’Auditori de Barcelona, a simulator which is unique in Europe along with that of the Vienna Music Museum.
Also of note has been the restuaration of instuments, such as some key items in the collection like the Lorenz Hauslaib claviorgan (Nuremberg, c. 1600), the Zumpe piano (London, 1776) and the Zell harpsichord (Hannover, 1736), amongst others. Another addition to the collection is a Gamelan ensemble from Bali, with the resulting creation of one of the few functioning gamelan orchestras on the continent. One other aquisition was aKorean Janggu drum.

During his eight years in charge, Jaume Ayats launched twenty exhibition and shows, those which particularly stand out include EsCultures musicals (Musical Sculptures) (2013-14), Les músiques dels 1714s (The Music of 1714) (2014), Phonos, 40 anys de música electrònica a Barcelona (Phonos, 40 years of electronic music in Barcelona) (2014-15), Veus de la Mediterrània (Voices of the Mediterranean) (2015), La gran nit del rock català (Big Night of Catalan Rock) (2016-17), Guitar On/Off (2016), Granados, de París a Goya (Granados, from Paris to Goya) (2017-18), Eolssigú! Els sons de Corea (Eolssigú! The sounds of Korea) (2017-18), Les guitarres d’en Quico Pi de la Serra (The guitars of Quico Pi de la Serra) (2018-19) and the recently inaugurated 100 Anys de l'Orquestra Pau Casals (Pau Casals Orchestra, 100 years) (2020-21).

In the area of research, European projects have been developed such as Woodmusick, focusing on wooden musical instruments, with 15 different countries participating, and the TIDE, a collaboration between the Musée de la Musique, París, Ragna-Rock Museum, Denmark and the Museu de la Música de Barcelona for the development of an interactive exhibition prototype, for the general public, which travels in open spaces. Also noteworthy was the study undertaken of pianola piano rolls , which was carried out in collaboration with the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona. Some of the research carried out by the Museum has been published, in order to disseminate this knowledge.

Over the years, in his position as director of the Museum, Jaume Ayats has taken on the overseeing of the Centre Robert Gerhard. Throughout this time the centre has launched projects including the trilingual portal Patrimoni Musical Català, supporting the work surrounding the musicological recovery of works by Catalan composers and thework of editing discographies, amongst others.

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