University of Music and Theatre Leipzig

The University of Music and Theatre "Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy" Leipzig (German: Hochschule für Musik und Theater "Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy" Leipzig) is a public university in Leipzig (Saxony, Germany). Founded in 1843 by Felix Mendelssohn as the Conservatorium der Musik (Conservatory of Music),[n 1] it is the oldest university school of music in Germany.

University of Music and Theatre "Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy" Leipzig
Hochschule für Musik und Theater "Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy" Leipzig
Former names
Conservatory of Music, Royal Conservatorium of Music, State Conservatorium of Music
EstablishedApril 2, 1843
ChancellorWolfgang Korneli
RectorProf. Robert Ehrlich
Administrative staff
Location, ,

The institution includes the traditional Church Music Institute founded in 1919 by Karl Straube (1873–1950). The music school was renamed ″Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy″ after its founder in 1972. In 1992, it incorporated the Theaterhochschule "Hans Otto" Leipzig.

Since the beginning there was a tight relationship between apprenticeship and practical experience with the Gewandhaus and the Oper Leipzig, as well as theaters in Chemnitz (Theater Chemnitz), Dresden (Staatsschauspiel Dresden), Halle (Neues Theater Halle), Leipzig (Schauspiel Leipzig) and Weimar (Deutsches Nationaltheater in Weimar).

The university of music and theater is one of 365 places chosen in 2009 by the Cabinet of Germany and the Office of the Representative of German Industry and Trade for the campaign Germany – Land of Ideas.


Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy, the composer and Music Director of the Gewandhaus Orchestra, founded a Conservatory in the city of Leipzig on April 2, 1843. It was financed by a senior civil servant of the Kingdom of Saxony, the Oberhofgerichtsrat Heinrich Blümner (1765–1839), who provided King Frederick Augustus II of Saxony with 20,000 Thaler.

The music school's home was in the first Gewandhaus (in the Gewandgäßchen/Universitätsstraße street at the city center, today the city's department store is based there). The musicians of the Orchestra were obligated to act as teaching staff, a tradition that was unbroken until German reunification in 1990.

In 1876 the school got permission to change its name to Königliches Konservatorium der Musik zu Leipzig, Royal Conservatory of Music of Leipzig. The new premises at Grassistraße 8 were inaugurated on December 5, 1887. They were built 1885–1887 by the architect Hugo Licht (1841–1923) in the music quarter of Leipzig, south-west of the city center. The benefactor was the pathologist Justus Radius (1797–1884).

Not until 1924 was the Royal Conservatory renamed into Landeskonservatorium der Musik zu Leipzig, six years after the fall of the Kingdom of Saxony.

In the summer term of 1938 343 male students were enrolled at the Landeskonservatorium. This made the Conservatory the fourth biggest music school in the German Reich after the Universität der Künste Berlin (633 students), the music school of Cologne (406 students) and the school for music and theater of Munich (404 students).

The Austrian composer Johann Nepomuk David (1895–1977) was the school's director from 1939 until 1945.

The school was again renamed June 8, 1941 to Staatliche Hochschule für Musik, Musikerziehung und darstellende Kunst, Public College for music, musical education and performing arts. In 1944 the school remained closed due to the Second World War.

Once again, the school was renamed October 1, 1946 to Mendelssohn Academy and November 4, 1972, on the occasion of its founders name, to Hochschule für Musik Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy, Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy College of Music.

The Saxon University Constitution Law (Sächsische Hochschulstrukturgesetz) of April 10, 1992 confirmed the College of Music to Leipzig and expanded it with the annexation of the Hans Otto College of Theatre (Germany's first College of Theatre) to form the Hochschule für Musik und Theater Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy : the Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy College of Music and Theatre.

The new Great Hall was inaugurated 2001 and 2004 awarded by the Bund Deutscher Architekten,[3] a German architects union. The college's second premises were opened 2002 and there's an orchestra academy in co-operation with the Gewandhausorchestra since 2004 in order to support top musicians.


  • 1843–1876: Conservatorium der Musik
  • 1876–1924: Königliches Konservatorium der Musik zu Leipzig
  • 1924–1941: Landeskonservatorium der Musik zu Leipzig
  • 1941–1944: Staatliche Hochschule für Musik, Musikerziehung und darstellende Kunst
  • 1946–1972: Staatliche Hochschule für Musik – Mendelssohn-Akademie
  • 1972–1992: Hochschule für Musik „Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy“
  • 1992–: Hochschule für Musik und Theater „Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy“ Leipzig

Notable people

Notable alumni

This is an assortment of notable alumni:[4] (See also Category:Felix Mendelssohn College of Music and Theatre alumni)

Notable faculty

Institute of Church Music

The Institute of Church Music (Kirchenmusikalische Institut) was refounded 1992. The Institute has a prominent role in Germany because of Max Reger (1873–1916), Kurt Thomas (1904–1973) and Günther Ramin (1898–1956). It offers programs in church music, chorus conduction and organ. It offers research masters in those subjects as well.

The Institute of Church Music was founded by Karl Straube (1873–1950) in 1921 and 1926 it became part of the Saxon Evangelical-Lutheran Church.


Rectors of the university:

  • 1843–1847: Felix Mendelssohn (1809–1847)
  • 1849–1881: Heinrich Conrad Schleinitz (1805–1881)
  • 1881–1897: Otto Günther (1822–1897)
  • 1897–1902: Carl Reinecke (1824–1910)
  • 1902–1907: Arthur Nikisch (1855–1922)
  • 1907–1924: Stephan Krehl (1864–1924)
  • 1924–1932: Max Pauer (1866–1945)
  • 1932–1942: Walther Davisson (1885–1973)
  • 1942–1945: Johann Nepomuk David (1895–1977)
  • 1945–1948: Heinrich Schachtebeck (1886–1965)
  • 1948–1973: Rudolf Fischer (1913–2003)
  • 1973–1984: Gustav Schmahl (1929–2003)
  • 1984–1987: Peter Herrmann (1941–2015)
  • 1987–1990: Werner Felix (1927–1998)
  • 1990–1997: Siegfried Thiele (born 1934)
  • 1997–2003: Christoph Krummacher (born 1949)
  • 2003–2006: Konrad Körner (born 1941)
  • 2006–  : Robert Ehrlich (born 1965)


Bologna process

Since 1999 the school is adapting to the Bologna process. As of 2008 the adjustment to the Bachelor's degree and Master's degree system is being organized. The education program with major in school music is since the winter term of 2006/07 already adapted to the Bologna process and as such leads to a bachelor's degree. The programs of the Institute of Church Music were changed to the beginning of the winter term 2008/09 and until the winter term of 1010/2011 all programs have to be adapted to the Bologna process.[7]


The school has its own symphony orchestra under the conduction of Ulrich Windfuhr (born 1960).



A total of 813 students were enrolled at the College in 2007 (375 males and 438 females). There were 260 (32%) international students enrolled at the time.[8] They come above all from Poland, Russia, South Korea and China.[9] Thirteen of them are scholarship holders of the German Academic Exchange Service, this makes the school the best one on the scholarship holders list out of every German Music Colleges.[10]


The Felix Mendelssohn College of Music and Theatre organizes many music contests. The Lions-Club Leipzig hosts the Albert-Lortzing-Förderpreis Singing Contest with a €2,500 prize. Furthermore, the college organizes a contest for ensembles and the recognized Young Concert Artists European Auditions together with the Young Concert Artists (YCA), New York.[11] The school leads among all German colleges of music with a total of 470 public events yearly.[12]

See also

Further reading

In German

  • Whistling, Karl W.: Statistik des Königl. Conservatoriums der Musik zu Leipzig 1843–1883. Aus Anlass des vierzigjährigen Jubiläums der Anstalt. Breitkopf & Härtel. Leipzig 1883.
  • Das neue Königliche Konservatorium der Musik in Leipzig. Erbaut von Baurath Hugo Licht daselbst. Architektonische Rundschau. Leipzig 1886.
  • Vogel, C. B.: Das Königliche Conservatorium der Musik zu Leipzig. Felix Schloemp. Leipzig 1888.
  • Das Königliche Konservatorium der Musik zu Leipzig. 1843–1893. Königliches Konservatorium der Musik. Leipzig 1893.
  • Königliches Konservatorium der Musik Leipzig: Festschrift zum 75-jährigen Bestehen des Königl. Konservatoriums der Musik zu Leipzig. Am 2. April 1918. Siegel Verlag. Leipzig 1918.
  • Das Königliche Konservatorium der Musik zu Leipzig. 1893–1918. Königliches Konservatorium der Musik. Leipzig 1918.
  • Landeskonservatorium der Musik zu Leipzig. 85. Studienjahr 1928/29. Eigenverlag. Leipzig 1928.
  • Seidel, Christine: Namhafte Musiker als Musikerzieher am Konservatorium der Musik zu Leipzig von der Entstehung am 2. April 1843 bis zur Jahrhundertwende. Staatsexamensarbeit. Leipzig 1953.
  • Hochschule für Musik Leipzig. Gegründet 1843 als Conservatorium der Musik von Felix Mendelssohn-Bartholdy. Herausgegeben anlässlich der Festwoche vom 17. bis 24. April 1955. Leipzig 1955.
  • Wehnert, Martin (Hrsg.): Hochschule für Musik Leipzig. Gegründet als Conservatorium der Musik. 1843–1968. Leipzig 1968.
  • Forner, Johannes: Mendelssohns Mitstreiter am Leipziger Konservatorium. Verlag Neue Musik. Berlin 1972.
  • Forner, Johannes: 150 Jahre Musikhochschule 1843–1993. Hochschule für Musik und Theater Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy Leipzig. Festschrift. Verlag für Kunst und Touristik. Leipzig 1993. ISBN 3-928802-20-8
  • Zandt, Herman S.J.: Der Einfluß des Dessauer Musikinstitutes und des Leipziger Konservatoriums auf die niederländische (protestantische) Orgelkunst. Landesverb. Hagen 1993.
  • Rosenmüller, Annegret: Zur Geschichte des Kirchenmusikalischen Institutes von der Gründung bis zur Wiedereröffnung 1992. Materialsammlung anhand von Akten des Archivs der Hochschule für Musik und Theater "Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy". Hochschule für Musik und Theater. Leipzig 1999.
  • Goltz, Maren: Das Kirchenmusikalische Institut. Spuren einer wechselvollen Geschichte. Dokumentation der Ausstellung "Das Kirchenmusikalische Institut" im Rahmen der Wandelausstellung zum Bach-Jahr 2000 in Leipzig. Hochschule für Musik und Theater "Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy". Leipzig 2001. ISBN 3-930550-16-4
  • 10 Jahre Fachrichtung Alte Musik. Festschrift. Rektor der Hochschule für Musik und Theater. Leipzig 2001.
  • Reisaus, Joachim: Grieg und das Leipziger Konservatorium. Untersuchungen zur Persönlichkeit des norwegischen Komponisten Edvard Grieg unter besonderer Berücksichtigung seiner Leipziger Studienjahre. Eigenverlag. Norderstedt 2002. ISBN 3-8311-4069-3
  • Nedzelskis, Adelbertas: Der litauische Künstler M. K. Ciurlionis in Leipzig. Der Studienaufenthalt des Meisters am Königlichen Konservatorium 1901–1902. Ed. Bodoni. Berlin 2003.
  • Goltz, Maren: Studien zur Geschichte der Bibliothek der Hochschule für Musik und Theater "Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy" Leipzig von 1843 bis 1945 mit einem Ausblick bis zur Gegenwart. Hausarbeit. Berlin 2003.
  • Krumbiegel, Martin: Hochschule für Musik und Theater "Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy" Leipzig. Eigenverlag. Leipzig 2004.
  • Jäger, Andrea: Die Entwicklung eines Bestandserhaltungskonzeptes für den historischen Sonderbestand der Bibliothek der Hochschule für Musik und Theater "Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy" Leipzig. Diplomarbeit. Leipzig 2004.
  • Wasserloos, Yvonne: Das Leipziger Konservatorium im 19. Jahrhundert. Anziehungs- und Ausstrahlungskraft eines musikpädagogischen Modells auf das internationale Musikleben. Georg Olms Verlag. Hildesheim 2004. ISBN 3-487-12598-6

In English

  • Phillips, Leonard Milton Jr.: The Leipzig Conservatory 1843–1881. UMI Dissertation Publishing. Ann Arbor, Michigan 2001.
  • VanWart, Helen: Letters from Helen. Sybertooth. Sackville, New Brunswick 2010. ISBN 978-0-9810244-9-3


  1. Music historians writing in English usually refer to the institution during Mendelssohn's time as the Leipzig Conservatory: see, e.g. [1], [2]


  1. Werner 1963, p. 385-389.
  2. Todd 2003, p. 450-451.
  3. Bundesarchitektenkammer Netzwerk Architekturexport: Gerber Architekten (PDF), 13.07.2007
  5. [San Francisco Call, November 3d, 1895, p.28]
  6. Nancy B. Reich, Clara Schumann: The Artist and The Woman, Revised edition, Cornell University Press, 1985, p. 123, 148.
  7. HMT Leipzig: Zeitplan zur Einführung gestufter Studiengänge an der HMT
  8. Statistisches Landesamt des Freistaates Sachsen: Kunsthochschulen, 27.10.2006
  9. Statistisches Landesamt des Freistaates Sachsen: Ausländische Studenten an den Hochschulen in Sachsen (PDF)
  10. Deutscher Akademischer Austauschdienst: DAAD-Geförderte 2007 (PDF)
  11. HMT Leipzig: Wettbewerbe
  12. HMT Leipzig: Presse/Öffentliches


  • Todd, R. Larry (2003). Mendelssohn – A Life in Music. Oxford; New York: Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0-19-511043-2.
  • Werner, Eric (1963). Mendelssohn, A New Image of the Composer and his Age. New York; London: Free Press of Glencoe. OCLC 479241019.

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