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How the Norwegian music world is organised

The Norwegian music world interacts with a number of public institutions. The Ministry of Culture and Church Affairs has overall responsibility, while the Ministry of Education and Research, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs  and Arts Council Norway also play vital roles. The Ministry of Trade and Industry and Innovation Norway provide important support for promoting the Norwegian music industry abroad. 

There is only one government-run music institution in Norway, the Norwegian Concert Institute, which was established in 1968 to provide live music for the population at large. The Institute organises more than 9 000 events annually, spread throughout the country, for a total of 1.2 million people. Most of these are school and day-care centre concerts, but ordinary concerts in all musical genres account for over 300 events. The Institute also has an extensive international programme.

Norway has various national institutions that receive most of their funding from the state, including the Oslo Philharmonic Orchestra, the Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra, the Norwegian National Opera, the Norwegian National Ballet, Dance House Norway, Den norske jazzscene and Den norske folkemusikkscena.

The regional authorities provide most of the funding for the symphony orchestras of Trondheim, Stavanger, Kristiansand and Tromsø, and for important festivals like the Bergen International Festival, the Festival of North Norway, the St. Olav Festival in Trondheim, the Molde International Jazz Festival, the Elverum Festival, the Ultima Festival and the Førde Folk Music Festival. All of these also receive government grants.

Norway’s three northernmost counties, which are large but sparsely populated, benefit from a regional musician scheme, under which official regional musicians are appointed to permanent positions. The Jazz Centre of Northern Norway also has its own touring scheme in connection with the Festival of North Norway. Running costs are shared between the state and regional authorities. Some local opera and ballet ensembles in this region also receive state support.

Arts Council Norway provides funding for various festivals, concert arrangers, a touring, transport and festival support scheme, music organisations, music competitions, archives, and activities and events for young people.

Most Norwegian performers are members of either the Norwegian Musicians’ Union, which organises musicians, including organists and music teachers, or Gramart, which organises Norwegian recording artists.

There are two unions for Norwegian composers: the Norwegian Society of Composers, for composers of serious contemporary music, and NOPA for composers of popular music and lyricists.

Norway has four music copyright organisations: TONO, which administers the rights of composers, lyricists and music publishers; NCB, which works on behalf of the same group with regard to mechanical rights, i.e. audio recordings, film, video, etc.; GRAMO, which administers recording rights for Norwegian musicians and artists; KOPINOR, which deals with rights related to the copying of copyrighted works; and NORWACO, which safeguards Norwegian cable rights.

Norwegian music events are held at various venues, ranging from large halls like the Oslo Concert Hall, the Grieg Hall in Bergen, the OlavsHallen in Trondheim, Stavanger Concert Hall and Oslo Spektrum, to churches and small clubs. A number of venues are have been organised to form Norsk KulturhusNettverk, a network of Norwegian cultural centres.

In addition to the music events that are publicly financed, there are a number of private agents, managers and booking agencies. A list of these can be found on Music Information Centre Norway’s website.

The Norwegian amateur music community is organised into a number of bodies, many of which are members of the Council for Music Organisations in Norway, although the two largest, the Norwegian Band Federation and the Norwegian Choir Association, are not.

The National Library of Norway’s music collection is shared between Oslo and Mo i Rana. The collection housed in Oslo comprises printed music, recordings and books, and is open to the public.  The Mo i Rana department is responsible for documenting and conserving everything covered by Norway’s legal deposit scheme. Bergen Public Library houses the Grieg Archives, an important research collection. 

In addition to these libraries, Norway has a number of music archives, most of which are devoted to a particular genre. These include the Norwegian Jazz Archives, which have developed the Norwegian Jazz Base in cooperation with the National Library of Norway, the Norwegian archives of folk and popular songs, the Norwegian folk music archives and the Sami special library in Karasjok. Music libraries can be found in most large cities.

Music Information Centre Norway, which is financed by the Ministry of Culture and Church Affairs, is responsible for promoting Norwegian music and the Norwegian music scene, at home and abroad. Music Export Norway, which receives support through Innovation Norway, performs a similar function on the commercial side.

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Photo: Anne F. Færestrand

Finnesnes school bandPhoto: Norges musikkorps forbund

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