ROCHESTER, NY — When Eastman School of Music Professor of Organ Hans Davidsson visits the capital city of his native Sweden tomorrow, the trip will entail something a bit more than his usual work- and family-related activities. Davidsson’s presence at the Royal Palace in Stockholm has been requested by His Majesty the King of Sweden, Carl XVI Gustaf, so that he may receive The King’s Medal — the highest recognition that a Swedish citizen can receive.
The Medal is being awarded “for significant achievements in musicology (and music), primarily in the fields of pipe-organ research and organ education,” according to Sven-Olof Hedengren, Vice Chancellor of the Royal Swedish Orders at The Royal Court. Davidsson, who has been on the Eastman faculty since 2001, and is the founder, artistic, and research director of the Göteborg Organ Art Center (GOArt) at Göteborg University, an international interdisciplinary center for research in historical organ building and performance practice. The Medal recognizes Davidsson’s more than 15 years of work with GOArt, through which was generated the reconstruction and building of a unique 17 th century organ in North German style, among many others. The work also resulted in the Göteborg International Organ Academy.
Davidsson was “surprised, honored and thrilled” to be receiving the King’s Medal — usually given as a lifetime achievement award, with recipients chosen by the King himself. Approximately 10 people receive this award annually, and it seemingly never has gone to someone in the field of music and musicology.
“The process and projects of GOArt would have been impossible to develop without the participation and support from a large group of stellar musicians, scholars, scientists and builders from more than 20 countries,” says Davidsson. “The award indeed recognizes the work and invaluable contributions of all of them.”
Davidsson is a key figure in the Eastman Rochester Organ Initiative (EROI), the Eastman School of Music’s 10-year plan to assemble a collection of new and historic organs unparalleled in North America. With an eye toward the future, Davidsson says “it is my hope that we at Eastman will be able to establish a global network with pipe organ centers around the world of the kind that was established in Goteborg, and that EROI will make Rochester, New York, the leading center for organ research and education in the United States.”