History of the Cdmc

The beginning

In 1976, at the initiative of Jean Maheu, then Director of Music in the Ministry for Culture and the Environment, a committee of institutional and musical personalities was set up with the aim of defining actions for the promotion of contemporary music and/or helping composers and publishers of this living repertory. The deliberations led to the creation of two bodies that were subsequently given permanent status: the Centre de documentation de la musique contemporaine [Documentation Centre for Contemporary Music] and the discographic collection Musique Française d'Aujourd’hui (MFA).

The missions of the Cdmc

At the request of the committee, the Cdmc was to be a place where anyone could have ready access to the works of the composers of our time, enabling a work’s score to be listened to and read simultaneously. Supplementary documentation would give the musician or student information on the work and its composer.

The institutional partners

The French Ministry of Culture and the Sacem accepted to assume financial responsibility for the project in equal measure. Radio France agreed to donate to the Cdmc copies of its own recordings. These roles are still played today by the three institutional partners of the Centre.

The creation of the Cdmc

Jean Maheu, Jean-Loup Tournier and Pierre Vozlinsky were the principal artisans in the creation of the Cdmc. Music publishers took part in the constitution of the collections by donating the necessary scores for consultation. The draft agreement was signed in November 1977. The Centre was inaugurated in February 1978 and opened to the public a few months later with a catalogue of 500 works.
The Cdmc was directed from its creation to January 2007 by Marianne Lyon.


Since July 1993 the Cdmc has been located near the Cité de la Musique, in the Parc de La Villette. It now houses 15,000 contemporary works .

The Cdmc has been directed since May 2007 by Laure Marcel-Berlioz.

The digitalisation of the Cdmc’s collections is under way. In addition, the Cdmc set up a common gateway for contemporary music in 2007, notably with IRCAM, the Cité de la Musique, the Paris Conservatory, the Ensemble intercontemporain and the Gustav Mahler Media Library.