The history of the Association begins in the lounge of the American Hotel in Amsterdam on 5 February 1911, where Jan van Gilse and seven other Dutch artists met to confer about a yet to be established association of Dutch composers. They strived to make Dutch music more widely known, set criteria for the professional competence of composers, protect their work and create a social safety net.
The Genootschap van Nederlandse Componisten (Association of Dutch Composers, GeNeCo) was established with 30 members in 1911 and developed into an association with almost 300 members by 1936. Shortly after the establishment of the GeNeCo, the association founded the Bureau of Musical Copyright (Bureau voor Muziekauterusrecht, BUMA), together with the Vereniging voor Muziekhandelaren en -Uitgevers (Association of Music Traders and Publishers). This bureau would occupy itself with the financial interests of Dutch composers and the collection of copyright, which was had at last been clearly defined by the Dutch government in 1912.
GeNeCo 25 years
Around the time of the silver anniversary of the Association in 1936, Stichting Nederlandse Muziekbelangen (Foundation for Dutch Musical Interests, NMB) was established on the initiative of GeNeCo president Jan van Gilse. The Maneto concerts, organised by the NMB, were an important pre-war initiative. These Manifestaties van Nederlandse Toonkunst (Manifestations of Dutch Music) were funded by BUMA, among others, from the money they collected, which could not be paid out to the copyright owners, because they were not registered with a copyright bureau or composers’ union. This money could only be used for general cultural purposes.
From 1937, four concerts took place per year, in which approximately 40 compositions by 30 composers (26 of which from the 20th century) were performed. These concerts attracted a large audience and were well received by the press. Maneto also organised studieconcerten (study concerts), in which a number of works by young composers are gone through thoroughly during orchestra rehearsals culminating in a concert for the general public. The first studieconcert took place in June 1940. The occupation put an end to further activities.