University of Music and Performing Arts, Vienna

University of Music and Performing Arts, Vienna

The University of Music and Performing Arts, Vienna ("Universität für Musik und darstellende Kunst Wien") is an Austrian university located in Vienna, established in 1819. With a student body of over three thousand, it is the largest institution of its kind in Austria, and one of the largest in the world.


Calls for a music conservatory in Vienna started in 1808. In 1811 an "outline for a music education institution" for Vienna was published. A year later the Society for the Friends of Music was formed, with the foremost aim of establishing a conservatory. Although the Vienna Conservatory was to be modelled after the Paris Conservatory, lack of funds meant that in 1817 only a singing school was established. Antonio Salieri was the conservatory's first director. In 1819, violinist Joseph Böhm was taken on and by 1827 courses in most orchestral instruments were offered.

The conservatory's finances were very unstable. Tuition fees were introduced in 1829, but by 1937 the institution was bankrupt. The state eventually funded the conservatory from 1841 to 1844 and from 1846 to 1848, when the political circumstances were to discontinue the funding. Courses were stopped until 1851. After 1851, with support from the state and the city, the finances stabilized. The Society for the Friends of Music remained in control of the institution despite growing state subsidy. However, on January 1, 1909 by imperial resolution the school was nationalized and became the "Imperial Academy of Music and the Performing Arts" ("k.k. Akademie für Musik und darstellende Kunst"); until then its name was the "Konservatorium der Gesellschaft der Musikfreunde".

Until 1844, when Gottfried Preyer, professor of harmony and composition became director, the director of the conservatory was not a member of faculty, but a member of the Society for the Friends of Music. Joseph Hellmesberger, Sr. was director from 1851 to 1893. When the conservatory was nationalized in 1909, the administration was assigned to a president, appointed by the state, an artistic director and a board of trustees. After the end of World War I, reorganization was in order again for the State Academy. President Karl Ritter von Wiener resigned and conductor Ferdinand Löwe was elected director by the teachers. In 1922, Joseph Marx took over. He wanted the Academy to be granted University status.

After the Anschluss, many teachers and students were dismissed on racial grounds. In 1941, the Academy became a Reich University (Reichshochschule). After the end of World War II, the institution became a State Academy again. In the process of Denazification, fifty-nine teachers were dismissed; by November 1945, sixteen were reinstated. It is interesting to note that only five of the teachers dismissed in 1938 were reinstated.

By laws introduced in 1948 and 1949 the institution was granted the status of "Art Academy". The "Law on the Organization of Art Colleges", introduced in 1970, in effect gave Art Academies status equivalent to a University. In 1998 the title of an Art Academy was changed to Art University.

Notable teachers

* Anton Bruckner
* Robert Fuchs
* Arnold Schoenberg
* Franz Schreker
* Josef Krips

External links

* [ Official homepage] de icon en icon
* [ History] de icon en icon, by Dr. Lynne Heller, English translation by Andrew Smith
* [ Entry at the Oesterreichisches Musiklexikon ONLINE]

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