Musical heritage of Albert Dupuis

In 2022, the descendants of Albert Dupuis (1877-1967) donated the archive of the composer and conductor to the King Baudouin Foundation. It includes several exceptional documents. The Foundation has entrusted the archive to the Music Department of the Royal Library of Belgium, where it will be kept in optimal conditions.

Albert Dupuis: composer and conductor

Composer and orchestral conductor Albert Dupuis (1877-1967), from Verviers, made a considerable impression on Belgian music during his lifetime. Dupuis began studying at the Verviers Conservatoire when he was 8 years old and he was only 18 when his first comic opera, Idylle, was produced in his home town. Two years after being noticed by Vincent d’Indy, he became part of the Schola Cantorum. In 1903, Albert Dupuis was the first Belgian to be awarded the Grand Prix de Rome with his cantata La Chanson d’Halewyn, after which, in 1905, he was appointed Conductor of the Ghent Theatre. In 1907, he became Director of the Verviers Conservatoire, a post he would hold for forty years. Albert Dupuis was a prolific composer of instrumental and vocal music and his work had a certain success in Flanders and France, and later, from the 1930s, in Brussels. His opera La Passion was presented more than 150 times in Brussels during the 1938-1939 season. Throughout his career, the Verviers composer enjoyed the active support of his two masters and friends, Vincent d’Indy and Eugène Ysaÿe, both of whom contributed considerably to the dissemination of his work.

Verviers musical heritage safeguarded

Following the death of Albert Dupuis, an archival fund was created by his descendants, who later donated it to the King Baudouin Foundation, to ensure it was safeguarded. The collection comprises printed scores and manuscripts of the composer’s works, handwritten booklets, press cuttings, concert programmes, photos, correspondence covering his entire career (letters from Eugène Ysaÿe, Vincent d’Indy, Edgar Tinel and Octave Maus), the notes taken by Dupuis during his lessons with Indy at the Schola Cantorum in 1897, as well as a few objects, including his conductor’s baton. At the end of 2022, the King Baudouin Foundation entrusted the Albert Dupuis Fund to the Music Department of the Royal Library of Belgium (KBR). The collection will enrich and complete the numerous documents relating to the musical heritage of Verviers already held at the Library, which include the Mathieu Crickboom Fund, the Henry Vieuxtemps collection and the Verviers Conservatoire Fund, recently entrusted to the library by the City of Verviers.

Study and promotion of the archives

As was the case for the Arthur Grumiaux Fund, entrusted to the KBR by the King Baudouin Foundation at the end of 2021, the Albert Dupuis archive will be listed, an inventory made of the contents, and it will be studied and finally promoted. Given the nature of the archive, which is mainly scores, it will primarily be promoted in relation to the composer’s works. This project is part of the ongoing collaboration already initiated between the institutions of the KBR, the King Baudouin Foundation and the City of Verviers (as well as its Conservatoire).