Jussi Björling Society - USA

 

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Harald Henrysson Retires

Harald Henrysson 

The Jussi Björling Museum was established nearly 15 years ago. It was built on the foundation of a small(er) local collection, the gifts and depositions of the Björling family
and the Royal Swedish Opera , as well as contributions of many sorts from Björling admirers all over the world.

The Borlänge cultural committee commited to underwriting a first-class museum that would do justice to the Björling legacy. They then selected an elegant building in the town center to house the new institution, and under- took a search for the best possible director: the person they selected was a librarian and archivist with powerful organizational skills and an extraordinary vision of what the final result should be—how to fill an empty building with the experience of the life of a great artist. Further, this same person had written an extraordinary PHONOGRAPHY of Jussi Björling's sound recordings, which also incorporated a detailed chronology of the great tenor's life and activities.  And—as a look at this author's Foreword makes clear--he had a host of associations with scholars and fans of Jussi Björling all around the world.  In particular, he had the friendship and trust of the entire Björling family as well as many strands of Swedish musical life: key administrative figures at Swedish Radio, the Royal Swedish Opera, the national press, and other institutions.  These qualities of personality and friendship would be invaluable traits for the new director to possess in order to succeed.

I think it is beyond our abilities, frankly, to adequately express our gratitude and admiration for the depth and breadth of Harald Henrysson’s  contribution to the legacy of Jussi Björling. In the past 15 years, he has given the entire world a route into Jussi Björling's life and art—a road which would not otherwise have been open. Harald’s work and support have made it possible for recordings to be issued, books to be written and congresses to be held.

After visiting Borlänge in September 2004 during a Björling conference, John Steane noted that there is no other museum in the world like the Jussi Björling Museum, and the primary reason it has been so splendid has been Harald Henrysson---and his work (The Museum is entirely funded by the city of Borlänge, leading Harald to describe himself—with his usual modest good humor—as the “Municipal Jussicologist.”).

On the occasion of his retirement, Harald made the following statement, “I am happy to have had the opportunity to take care of this museum during its first 14 1/2 years. I am sincerely grateful for all gifts and depositions that the museum has received from the Björling Family, the Royal Swedish Opera and other institutions and from numerous lovers of Jussi's art all over the world, and for the unfailing support from the City of Borlänge.

I wish Jan-Olof all success and can only regret that he takes over in a financial crisis in the city which also affects the museum and the preparations for the Jussi Björling Centenary in
2011. I expect to have close contacts with Jan-Olof and the museum for the next future.”

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