Home About the Handel Society Statute of the George Frideric Handel Society

Statute of the George Frideric Handel Society

§ 1 Name and domicile of the society, aims and tax privileges

  1. The association is named Georg-Friedrich-Händel-Gesellschaft e. V. (referred to here as George Frideric Handel Society, the Society, or GFHG) and is registered in the register of associations of the state of Saxony-Anhalt under the number VR 20222.
  2. The Society is based in Halle (Saale), Germany, and maintains its headquarters in the Handel House in Halle (Saale). Its fiscal year corresponds to the calendar year.
  3. The Society’s activities are altruistic. The Society does not primarily pursue its own economic gain, but rather explicitly non-profit purposes as stipulated in the paragraph on “tax deductible purposes” of the tax code. The purpose of the Society is to foster research on Handel and preservation of his works and renown.
  4. The purpose of the statute is largely realised through fulfilment of the aims and functions outlined in § 2.
  5. The Society’s resources may be used solely for purposes which align with the statute.
  6. Members may not receive financial benefits from the resources of the Society.
  7. No person may receive payments for purposes which do not align with the aims of the Society, or receive a disproportionately high payment.
  8. The Council is basically active on a voluntary basis.

§ 2 Aims and Functions

  1. The George Frideric Handel Society was founded on 23 April 1955, in Handel’s place of birth. It is an international association. The Society tasks itself with initiating, fostering and carrying out research on all aspects of the life and works of George Frideric Handel. It actively follows research on Handel and preservation of his works and renown around the world. According to its means, the Society fosters the latter, especially all efforts to make Handel’s unadulterated work accessible and bring it closer to people.
  2. For this purpose, the Society fosters the dissemination of Handel’s work in authentic editions, in particular the Halle Handel Edition (in German “Hallische Händel-Ausgabe” or HHA) – a complete critical edition – but also through the publication of the Handel Yearbook (in German “Händel-Jahrbuch”) as a scholarly-journalistic instrument of the Society, as well as through other publications issued directly or assigned for publication by the Society.
  3. The aims above are also met by proposals to organise style-conscious performances of Handel’s work, by events at regional and international conventions, conferences and colloquia, as well as by specific scholarly and practical-musical performance events. The Society also takes on scholarly and artistic tasks which result from the preservation of Handel’s complete works for present day use, and attempts to render research results useful for practice. In this sense, the Society supports the annual international Handel Festival, hosted by the city of Halle (Saale) since 1952, by providing advice regarding its preparation and implementation, as well as on long-term conceptualisation.

The English translation of the Statutes is for information only. It has no legal validity.

The General Assembly agreed to the revised version of the Statutes on May 27, 2023. The entry in the register of associations of the state of Saxony-Anhalt took place on October 11, 2023.

The statute can be downloaded as a PDF document here:

Statutes of the GFHG 2023 [144KB/pdf]

§ 3 Membership

  1. Every natural and legal person, who is interested in realising the aims of the Society and honours the statute, can become a member of the GFHG.
  2. Admission occurs following a written application to the Executive Board, which may not be refused without a stated reason. In contentious cases, the application can be transferred to the Council or to the General Assembly of members.
  3. Proper membership is certified by a membership card signed by the President or the managing director of the Executive Board.
  4. The minimum fee for annual membership is determined by the Executive Board and confirmed by the General Assembly of members. Each member can submit a formless application to the Executive Board to ask for a reduced fee or a temporary respite of the fee. The fee should be paid within the first quarter of the fiscal year. Members who are behind on their payment may not exercise their member rights.
  5. Members receive a membership gift, according to the means of the Society. Normally this gift is the Handel Yearbook. In addition, they receive preferred reservation rights for the events of the Society and of the Handel Festival in Halle.
  6. Membership is terminated by death, cancellation or expulsion.
  7. Cancellation occurs following a written declaration addressed to the Executive Board, and is effective at the end of the fiscal year in which the last fee was paid.
  8. Members who are either behind on paying their membership fees by more than two years, or have acted contrary to the aims of the Society or its reputation with potential damage to its efficacy, can be expelled from the Society by Executive Board decision. This is to be communicated to the person in writing. Objections must also be made in writing. In the case that an objection is not accepted by the Executive Board, the General Assembly of members decides.
  9. Individuals who have demonstrated great achievements towards the realisation of the aims of the Society can be named honorary members. These nominations must be agreed upon by the General Assembly of members. Honorary members are exempt from membership fees. They are invited to Council meetings in advisory capacity.

§ 4 International mode of operation of the GFHG

  1. As an international association, the Society tries to maintain contacts to all other known Handel societies, even those which are not cooperating members of the GFHG. The Society works together with these, according to its means and the aims stated in § 2 of this statute.
  2. Members residing outside of Germany can build sections of the GFHG in their home countries. A section must have at least 15 members. Sections are not independent associations, rather their members belong to the Society with all accompanying rights and duties. Membership in national sections is based on a voluntary declaration, which no member may be forced to submit. Individual membership in the Society is not affected by membership in a section.
  3. National sections may elect a Chair, and if they have enough members, a Council. The Chair is not automatically a member of the Council of the GFHG, but may be invited to meetings in advisory capacity. The Chair of a section is required to inform the Executive Board of the GFHG about the composition of the section and its activities with respect to the aims of the Society.
  4. Each section may hold events in its national area in the name of the Society, with prior approval of the Executive Board. The section is responsible for reporting on such events to the Executive Board. At the same time, in a national area with a recognised section, the Society must obtain that section’s approval before undertaking public activities.

§ 5 Governing bodies

  1. The governing bodies of the Society are
    – the General Assembly of members,
    the Council and Executive Board,
    the Audit Commission,
    the Editorial Board of the Halle Handel Edition.
  1. All positions within the governing bodies of the Society are taken on in honorary capacity.

§ 6 General Assembly of members

  1. The General Assembly of members is the highest governing body of the GFHG. The proper General Assembly takes place once a year, generally during the Handel Festival in Halle. The meeting is summoned by invitation to all members. Invitations, including the meeting agenda, are sent four weeks in advance by the Executive Board. If at least 10 percent of members formally request a special General Assembly, then this may be convened.
  2. The General Assembly of members is chaired by the President or by a member of the Executive Board selected by the Executive Board. The Academic Secretary is responsible for the preparation of the minutes (§ 7.5). The certification of the resolutions is done by the Academic Secretary and the Chairperson of the meeting.
  3. Each member has one vote. It is not possible to transfer votes. If all members are invited to the General Assembly according to protocol, then a quorum is reached regardless of the number of members present. Decisions are generally taken by simple majority of the members present, with the following exceptions: Changes to the statute (§ 10), and annulment of the Society (§ 11). For central decisions crucial to the development of the Society, absentee voting is possible, if at least 10 percent of members request this. The Council shall decide on the form of voting.
  4. The General Assembly of members
    elects members of the Council and of the Audit Commission for a period of four years,
    confirms nominations of honorary members,
    approves of the Executive Board report on the work of the Society, as well as the Audit Commission report, and comments on both,
    contributes ideas and takes decisions on the work of the Society by simple majority of members present,
    authorises decisions of the Executive Board or the Council on which the General Assembly of members should decide,
    may require information from the Council about all issues related to the Society,
    exonerates the Council and the Audit Commission,
    decides on admission and expulsion of members in contentious cases,
    advises on statute amendments (§ 10) and on the annulment of the Society (§ 11).

§ 7 Council and Executive Board

  1. The Council consists of up to 20 members. The Chair of the Council is the President. To ensure the Society’s international significance and to maintain its publishing activities, the elected Council may co-opt up to three additional Handel experts, as well as a representative from the publishing company of the HHA, to the Council.
  2. By invitation of the President, the Council meets at least once a year to advise and take decisions, generally during the Handel Festival in Halle. The meeting agenda, issues to be discussed and any applications to be decided upon should be communicated to the members of the Council at least three weeks prior to the meeting. Members of the Council who are not able to attend may submit an advisory opinion, in writing, on the items on the agenda and applications at hand.
  3. The Council elects the Executive Board from among its own members by simple majority. The Executive Board consists of the President, three Vice Presidents, the Academic Secretary, the Treasurer and an additional member. The Executive Board can elect one of its members to function as managing director.
  4. The Council, according to § 26 BGB (German civil code), consists of the President, or the managing director of the Executive Board (if one is nominated, see paragraph 3), the Treasurer and the Academic Secretary. Each of these may autonomously represent the Society. For all financial activities, the Treasurer needs the agreement of one additional Executive Board member who is selected for this purpose.
  5. The Academic Secretary is chiefly responsible for planning and organising the academic and artistic functions of the Society. This includes, e.g. preparing and implementing academic and musical events, which are under the direction of the Society, or in which the Society is involved. Furthermore, he is the editor of the Handel Yearbook and is a voting member of the Editorial Board of the HHA (§ 9). The Academic Secretary is responsible for conceptualising and realising the aims and functions defined in the statute, specified and updated by the governing bodies of the Society. He oversees the recording of minutes at meetings of the Executive Board, the Council and at the General Assembly of members.
  6. The Executive Board can be convened by the President when needed. Two of its members can call for the committee to be convened.
  7. Executive Board members retain their function after their office expires until a new Executive Board is elected. Re-election is possible with no limitations. If an Executive Board member withdraws from the committee, another person may be co-opted until the next election, if needed. This action must be approved of by the Council at its subsequent meeting.

§ 8 Audit Commission

  1. The Audit Commission consists of three members and is elected by the General Assembly of members by simple majority of the members present for four years.
  2. The Audit Commission reviews the business conduct of the Executive Board and the managing office, in particular the legality and austerity of the use of financial resources and other assets of the Society, as well as payment of membership fees. It provides the General Assembly of members and the Council with an annual review report and, in years when the Council is elected, formally requests exoneration of the Executive Board and the managing office by the General Assembly.

§ 9 The Editorial Board of the Halle Handel Edition

  1. The Editorial Board works according to the regulations issued for its operation and confirmed by the Council, and normally meets twice a year for deliberation.
  2. To ensure the international reach of the HHA, the Handel Institute in London and the American Handel Society (College Park, Maryland) have the right to delegate two representatives from each organisation to the Editorial Board, in consultation with the Executive Board. Additional members of the Editorial Board of the HHA are appointed by the Executive Board based on recommendations made by the Academic Secretary.
  3. The Executive Board is represented on the Editorial Board by the Academic Secretary.

§ 10 Statute amendments

To make amendments to the statute, a decision must be taken by the Council by two-thirds majority of its members. Following this decision, the General Assembly of members must approve of proposed amendments, likewise with two-thirds majority.

§ 11 Annulment of the Society

  1. To annul the Society, a decision must be taken by both the Council and the General Assembly of members by two-thirds majority of members present. The notion for annulment must be sent to all members four weeks prior to the General Assembly.
  2. Upon annulment of the Society, or if non-profit purposes cease to exist, the assets of the Society are to be transferred, by decision of the Council, to non-profit legal entities or institutions which have demonstrated a commitment to Handel research and preservation; transferred assets should be used for the purposes defined in the statute. Decisions on the future use of the assets may only be taken with the consent of the responsible revenue office. Members of the Society have no claim to any part of the estate.

§ 12 Final provision

This statute enters into force following a decision taken by the General Assembly of members on 27 May 2023, replacing the statutes of 1967 and 1991. It acquires legal validity through entry in the register of associations of the state of Saxony-Anhalt.