Looking back on a rich history…
Metropolis Music Publishers was founded in 1939, originally as part of the already existing piano and music store ‘Oud Huis G. Prop’ operated by Gustaaf Prop and Albert Rollewagen on the Kunstlei (the current Frankrijklei), opposite the opera house in Antwerp. This music shop, in turn, originated from the late 19th-century piano dealer Leytens. After 1900, it also started publishing Flemish music under the name Uitgeverij G. Prop, including various albums with spiritual songs by Lodewijk De Vocht and August Cuppens.
The era of Albert Rollewagen
Albert Rollewagen (Zottegem, 1914 – Borgerhout, 1984) led Metropolis in the first decades of its existence. He realized an impressive publishing portfolio with thousands of scores of both vocal and instrumental music by almost all leading Flemish composers (Peter Benoit, Paul Gilson, Lodewijk Mortelmans, etc.) In addition to serious music, Rollewagen also developed a successful catalog of lighter music, including the repertoire of Marcel Hellemans and his show orchestra, and the music of Armand Preud’homme.
More than a century of music
Various scientific studies on music by, among others, Karel Albert, Jan L. Broeckx, and Denijs Dille (the life and works of Bela Bartok), became known far beyond the national borders. Metropolis also took over several older publishing funds: Het Muziekfonds, De Ring, Semaco, Phalesius, Bode Vinck… As a result, the musical heritage of Metropolis now spans more than a century.
International and digital
After the death of Albert Rollewagen, things went quiet around Metropolis for about ten years, until Walter Van de Velde, owner of the Antwerp music shop Crescendo Music, took over the activities in 1995. Soon, new publications by Dirk Brossé, Charles Camilleri (Malta) and Patrick Hiketick, among others, emerged. His brother Bob Van de Velde was already actively involved in the new internationalization of the publishing house during this period and in 2008 he took over the company together with his wife and composer Christa Steenhuyse-Vandevelde. They modernized and ushered the publishing house into the digital age.
The catalog of Metropolis Music Publishers currently includes nearly 5,000 titles from the past and present. Composers such as Lodewijk Mortelmans and Flor Peeters, as well as Dirk Brossé and François Glorieux, have entrusted Metropolis with their music. Metropolis actively promotes its publications at international trade fairs in Frankfurt, Paris, Chicago and Shanghai, among others.
Flemish Musical heritage
Today, Metropolis is more than a traditional commercial entity. The mission statement is to bring the repertoire of its composers in various forms to the maximum attention of performers and audiences. With various international partnerships and support for innovative initiatives to stimulate high-quality music practice, Metropolis wants to make an active contribution to the international image of the musical heritage of Flanders.