Already during 1947 composer Petar Konjović, newly elected member of the Serbian Academy of Sciences and Arts, started the initiative to found the Institute of Musicology. He was stimulated to act by the new law which, following a Soviet model, allowed the Academy of Sciences as the highest academic institution to establish research institutes. On one hand he was a visionary who saw the need to promote and support preservation and conservation of the musical heritage, both traditional – folk and church music, and artistic music. The formal founder of the institute of Musicology in Belgrade was the Serbian Academy of Sciences and Arts and the Ministry of Science and Culture of the Republic of Serbia. On the 7th meeting of the Institute Commission (21 November 1947) Konjović was elected the director of the Institute of Musicology and at the first meeting of the members of the Institute of Musicology held on 16 December 1948 it was decided to start with the work immediately. The members of the Institute’s research council were professors of the Music Academy and well known musicians, mostly composers (Stevan Hristić, Kosta Manojlović, Milenko Živković, Mihailo Vukdragović, Predrag Milošević, Branko Dragutinović, Oskar Danon), as there were no specialised musicologists and ethnomusicologists at Serbia at that time. Next to Konjović the first permanent research member of the Institute was Stana Djurić-Klajn (1949), pianist, and at the time already established music critic, and the chief editor of the journals Zvuk (1932-36 and 1955-65) and Muzički glasnik (1938-41), and the composer, conductor and music critic Kosta P. Manojlović. During the first twenty-five years Stana Djurić-Klajn bore the brunt of much of both academic and managerial work: she wrote the first history of the Serbian music, initiated and organised active and extensive collection of the material for the archives and the library, and was the director of the Institute from 1962 to 1974.
Already in 1950 the Institute acquired another member: Milica Ilijin, ethno-choreographer and at that time the folklore adviser at the Yugoslav Ministry of Science and Culture. The next generation of young scholars had opportunities to spend various periods of time studying or doing research abroad, but they all came back to the Institute: Dragutin Gostuški (Paris, 1955); Dimitrije Stefanović who got both his master’s and his doctorate from the University of Oxford (1959-60; 1963-1967), Radmila Petrović (Wesleyans University, Middletown, USA, 1965/66). These young scholars were the first generation of research orientated musicologists and ethnomusicologists, who followed international trends of the development of these young disciplines. This group was joined in 1959 by Nadežda Mosusova who had already as a student helped Petar Konjović to edit his music and organise manuscripts, and then spent several decades studying his life and work.
From the first discussion about the work of the newly founded Institute it became apparent that it would be necessary to create several departments or projects. This wide plan of activities was the framework within which three basic fields of research were established during the following decade. These basic fields of research are still the basis of the current research projects and topics:
Individual research topics were created within these three broad areas. Depending on their research topics and methodology the members of the Institute have done various types of field work, prepared source editions, written monographs or shorter studies, articles and dictionary and encyclopaedia entries for various publication in the county and abroad. Some of the Institute’s research members were also well known music critics. However, the idea that musicology is a young discipline and that it should not be developed too quickly led to the fact that by 2008, when the Institute celebrated its 60th anniversary, it has only had sixteen research members.
From the time of its foundation the Institute of Musicology maintained contacts with similar institutions nationally and internationally. The members of the Institute have individually been active in different departments and governing bodies of Matica Srpska and Vuk Foundation. The Institute also has a part in the projects organised through the bilateral exchange/cooperation of the Serbian Academy of Sciences with the academies of Austria, Hungary and the Czech Republic. Some of the members of the Institute have also been working as part-time lecturers at the Faculty of Music in Belgrade, Academy of Arts in Novi Sad, Faculty of Philology and Arts in Niš, Music Academy in East Sarajevo and Academy of Fine Arts in Begrade.
For more comprehensive account on the history of the Institute of Musicology SASA please consult the article in the journal Musicology: Danica Petrović, “Institute of musicology, Serbian Academy of Sciences and Arts (1948-2010)”, Muzikologija 10 (2010): 11–58.