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The Nor­we­gi­an Academy of Music’s Peri­od Instru­ment Col­lec­tion

The Norwegian Academy of Music has one of Norway's finest collections of historical musical instruments. The collection comprises some 460 objects and is made up of instruments from the private collections of Trygve Lindeman and Olav Gurvin.


The Academy is no museum, but we are delighted to have been made guardians of these fascinating pieces of history.

In 1971 Trygve Lindeman, director of the Oslo Conservatoire, and Olav Gurvin of the University of Oslo approached Oslo City Council to discuss gifting their large and important collections of musical instruments. The Culture Committee at the City Council declared that the instruments “should be housed in a future academy of music”. Gurvin’s collection was stored at the Oslo Ladegård manor house, while Lindeman’s collection was stored and exhibited in the premises of the Oslo Conservatoire (later the Norwegian Academy of Music) in Nordahl Bruns Gate 8.

In 1975, Professor Owain Edwards took the initiative to establish a panel to look into appropriate storage, cataloguing and restoration of the instruments.

Suitable premises for storing the instruments were found in Universitetsgata. When the Norwegian Academy of Music moved to Majorstua in 1989, most of Lindeman’s collection was placed in the basement depot. The largest instruments and Gurvin's collection was stored at the Norsk Folkemuseum in Bygdøy.


The new building in Majorstua enabled us to make the collection more accessible. The first exhibition opened in 1996. We have opted to exhibit European, Asian and African instruments dating from the late 17th century up until the 1900s. There are ten small display cabinets in the library on Level 2 and one large cabinet in the corridor outside. There are also three display cases in the corridor outside the teaching rooms on Level 2. The instruments not on display are stored in a depot in the basement.


The plaques on the cases include an inventory number which references information about the instrument’s history, age, dimensions, condition etc. Objects originally from Lindeman’s collection are labelled with the letters MH-L and an inventory number. Instruments from Gurvin's collection are marked MH-G and later additions MH. Gurvin's collection was catalogued by Peter Andreas Kjeldsberg from Ringve Museum in spring 1976. He later also produced a manual catalogue of Lindeman’s instrument collection. The records were subsequently collated and digitalised by Hans Olav Gorset and can be found in the library.

Statsbygg and Lindemans Legat have helped fund the exhibition. The display cases on Level 2 were designed by Einar Soglo at Lille Frøen architects and built by Svenningsen Snekkerverksted. The instruments were mounted by exhibition architect Toril Mugaas and Hans Olav Gorset with great help from the Norwegian Museum of Science and Technology.


Published: Jun 15, 2020 — Last updated: Jul 5, 2024