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Jean Sibelius’ composition manuscript archive to be added to the national Memory of the World register

Date published

The carefully cherished national cultural treasure, the archive of manuscripts by Jean Sibelius, has been accepted into the national Memory of the World register.

Sibeliuksen nuottikäsikirjoitus, V sinfonia

Sibeliuksen sävellyskäsikirjoitus V sinfonia.

Picture by
Petri Tuovinen

Jean Sibelius is the most significant and internationally renowned Finnish composer, and his work has become an integral part of national identity. The National Library of Finland holds the largest and most important archive of Sibelius' composition manuscripts, including drafts, transcribed scores and printed editions of the composer's sheet music. The Library’s collections also include much of Sibelius’ personal correspondence.

In 1982, the priceless collection of manuscripts was donated by Sibelius' estate to Helsinki University Library, now the National Library of Finland. The condition for the donation was that the collections be organised and catalogued.  The catalogue, The Jean Sibelius Musical Manuscripts at Helsinki University Library: a Complete Catalogue (Wiesbaden: Breitkopf & Härtel) by Kari Kilpeläinen was completed and published in 1991. The catalogue includes reference numbers for close to 2,000 units of composition manuscripts, with the total number of manuscript pages in the tens of thousands. The archive takes up eight metres of bookshelves.

Since the donation and the catalogue’s publication, research on drafts and other composition manuscripts has become a key area of research on Jean Sibelius, and the manuscript collection also forms the basis of editorial work on the complete critical edition Jean Sibelius Works - Jean Sibelius Werke by the National Library. Research of the manuscripts has decisively expanded and shaped our understanding of Sibelius’ creative process and production.

The National Library's archive of Sibelius manuscripts is extensive and unique both in Finland and on the global scale.

Materials related to the collections are also found in the Åbo Akademi University Library and the National Archives of Finland.

Other resources added to the national Memory of the World Register on 6 September:

  • De äldsta folkloristiska, etnografiska och lingvistiska samlingarna från 1874-1939 i Svenska litteratursällskapets i Finland (SLS) arkiv
  • Edvard Westermarcks arkiv vid Åbo Akademis bibliotek
  • Cultural Address Pro Finlandia 1899
  • Archive of publications by the Finnish Literary Society (1834–)
  • Archives of the Royal Academy of Turku and the Imperial Alexander University

National Memory of the World register

Jean Sibelius Works – Jean Sibelius Werke


Contact person

Timo Virtanen
vanhempi tutkija
+358 2941 24085