Its stated aim is to collect and make available organ-related material (music, organ building) for research purposes, and to archive it securely for the long term. The research department's organ experts are responsible for maintaining and researching the material.
Amongst the material collected are printed items, audio media and pictures, archives, manuscripts and contents of estates bequeathed by individuals, as well as institutional archives. Previous years have seen the ODZ receive a number of large bequests, including the libraries of Axel Leuthold, Giuseppe Paiusco and Hans Gugger, and the huge library of sheet music assembled by Barnabás Gyülvészi.
The ODZ comprises of the following private bequests from individuals and from the archives of institutions:
Arbeitsgemeinschaft für Schweizerische Orgeldenkmalpflege archive
17 February 1958, a number of organists and individuals interested in Switzerland's organ heritage made their way to Olten to discuss the situation facing the country's historic instruments. The result was the establishment of a working group devoted to preserving the country's organ heritage, the Arbeitsgemeinschaft für Schweizerische Orgeldenkmalpflege. After many years of successes great and small, a well-attended annual general meeting in Zurich on 31 November 2009 voted unanimously to end their activities.
Orgelbau AG Willisau archive
The history and activities of organ builders Orgelbau AG Willisau are of immense interest. A rapid rise following the departure of a section of the staff from the Goll Company; a keen awareness of the importance of quality in the building of instruments for every part of Switzerland; an abrupt collapse caused by the pre-World War Two crisis. Some of the records retained by the successor company, Wellis AG, were sorted and completed by a former member of staff.
Späth Orgelbau Rapperswil archive
A large part of the Späth company archive was donated to the ODZ in summer 2011. The archive comprises of a range of documents including tenders, contracts, inventories, photographs, correspondence, expertises, plans, sketches and handwritten notes on organs that were built, overhauled or proposed but not realised by Späth since 1909.
Viktor Frund bequest
A native of the Jura region, Viktor Frund (1913-1981) was a qualified organ builder who settled in Lucerne in 1929 and gained diplomas in choral conducting and organ playing. His services were in demand for building new organs or restoring old ones. The extant of his archive was kept by Orgelbau Graf AG in Sursee. This has been made available to the ODZ thanks to a personal intervention by Rudolf Wyss from the Graf Company.
Hans Gugger bequest
Although Hans Gugger (1921-2006) was neither a professional musician nor a historian, he studied History of Art and organ building-related aspects of the Bernese landscape. His research work earned him an honorary doctorate from the Theological Faculty of the University of Bern in 1980. Hans Gugger's heirs donated the entire archive, as well as his private organ library, to the ODZ.
Stefan Koller bequest
Thanks to happy coincidences and the agreement of Einsiedeln Monastery, the Lucerne School of Music was able to acquire the entire estate of Father Stefan Koller (1893-1984). Father Koller was Catholic Switzerland's best-known organ expert in the mid-20th century. His archive comprises of documents including plans, projects, expertises, handwritten notes and so forth. It sheds light on the Organ Reform Movement in Switzerland.
The organ database at orgeldokumentationszentrum.ch