30 Mar 2021

Preserving New Zealand's music heritage song by song

From Upbeat, 12:30 pm on 30 March 2021
David Dell

David Dell Photo: Supplied

Musical Heritage New Zealand is the largest New Zealand-related sheet music archive in the world.

The privately-run trust was founded by David Dell, who in the mid-1980s was surprised to discover that this important element of New Zealand’s musical life was not being collected or catalogued in a systematic way by any institution.

More than 30 years later, the collection has grown to encompass overseas sheet music as well. David says this has made up a large part of music-making in New Zealand over the years. Much New Zealand sheet music was published regionally in very small print runs, which means that there are always new discoveries to be found.

David Dell talked to Upbeat about the collection, the human stories that are connected to the sheet music, and the delight of having this music brought to life in performance.