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Staatliche Hochschule für Musik und Darstellende Kunst Mannheim

Mannheim University of Music and Performing Arts



Although the Mannheim University of Music only became a state institution in 1971, it can look back on a successful tradition of more than 200 years.

As far back as 1756, the electoral court of Mannheim supported the Seminarium Musicum of the Jesuit theological college at which "poor palatine students" (including J. M. Kraus) were taught vocal and instrumental music. With the announcement in a Mannheim newspaper dated 12.09.1776 of the first "Public Chair of Musical Thought and Art“ at the "Mannheim Tonschule", which was founded by Abbé Vogler, a top international standard was achieved. The "Tonschule" was approved and financially supported by music enthusiast Elector Carl Theodor and served to professionally train musicians. It is generally considered to be the predecessor of present day music conservatoires and universities (as stated in the encyclopaedia of music "Music in the Past and Present“).

It was the height of the worldwide famous Mannheim Court Orchestra, the so-called "Mannheim School“, which to this day is recognised as being the most important musical link between the Baroque period and the Vienna Classic period. The establishment of the "Tonschule“ was indispensable as fresh talented musicians trained to the very highest of standards were required in large numbers to constitute the court orchestra. At the same time, the court orchestra was also able to engage some of the very best teachers.

The "Mannheim Tonschule“ was the model for numerous conservatoires and universities of music that were later founded. The great success of Abbé Vogler's teachings is reflected in the long list of his famous composition students, for example Carl Maria von Weber and Giacomo Meyerbeer.

The Mannheim Academie de Danse likewise dates back to the eighteenth century (1762). It is one of the oldest European dance academies and was highly involved in the great ballet reform of the eighteenth century (change towards theatrical ballet). "The ballets are indeed magnificent and complete" (often over 80 performers) "and all the dancers are trained here.” (Gothaer Theatre Calendar 1777).

The cultural tradition of the Electoral Palatinate remains of great importance for the Mannheim city of music to this very day. The Mannheim University of Music and Performing Arts is a key player in its upkeep.

The work of the "Tonschule" and the "Academie de Danse" was continued by the Mannheim Conservatoire and later by the Mannheim University for Music and Theatre. The Heidelberg Conservatoire was founded in 1894 and was then integrated into the Mannheim University in 1971.

Lecturers that have taught here include Wilhelm Furtwängler, Max Pauer, Ernst Toch, Richard Laugs, Friedrich Wührer, Karl Heinrich Wörner, Erika Köth, Heinz Hoppe and Hans Vogt.

After a new building was completed in 1999, all study institutions were then transferred to Mannheim. The University of Music is now equipped with state of the art teaching rooms and has developed into the second largest institution of its kind in Baden-Württemberg
‑ which is also thanks to its advantageous geographical location and transport connections‑.


International Contacts

The University acts as link between the cultural area of the Rhine Neckar triangle (Electoral Palatinate) and other important cultural regions through close partner relations with leading universities throughout the world. Two of the most important include Yale University (USA) and Seoul National University (South Korea).

In addition to the individual exchange between professors and students, large-scale events are held on a regular basis, for example the United Student Orchestra Tour of Seoul National University and the Mannheim University of Music and Performing Arts in Germany and the USA (Carnegie Hall / New York, Yale University / New Haven).

Furthermore, there are numerous Erasmus programmes with partner universities, e.g. the Accademia del Teatro alla Scala, Milano (Italy). The Mannheim University of Music and Performing Arts also participates in the joint summer school project with the new Chinese music universities. In addition, there are further partnership arrangements with universities outside of Europe in the field of Jazz / Popular Music, above all with universities in South America.



Main subjects that are taught at the University include: orchestral instruments, keyboard instruments, voice (concert and opera) and conducting (orchestra and choir). These subjects can be chosen in the degree programmes Artistic Training (10 semesters) and Music Teacher Studies (for music school teachers and freelance teachers, 8 semesters) as well as in the postgraduate courses Soloist Training (4 semesters) and part-time Soloist Training (8 semesters). Additionally, they can also be taken as a specialist subject in the School Music study course (teacher training for grammar school education, 9 semesters).

Composition as a main subject is only offered in the course Artistic Training. The main subjects of Music Theory, Aural Training and Elementary Music Pedagogy are only offered in the Music Teacher course of studies. In the postgraduate Additional Studies course (4 semesters), students are able to extend their experience in the areas of orchestral solo work, chamber music, song interpretation and accompaniment.

In the area of Jazz / Popular Music (8 or 10 semesters), the main subjects of composition / arrangement, voice , jazz piano, saxophone, trumpet, trombone, jazz drums, percussion (the only professor of this kind in Germany), guitar, double-bass, electric bass and mallet instruments are offered. In Baden-Württemberg, this course of studies is only available in Stuttgart and Mannheim.

The Academy of Dance is the only institute of higher education in Baden-Württemberg that trains dancers. Study courses that are offered include Dance and Children's Dance Pedagogy (6 semesters) as well as the postgraduate study courses Artistic Training Dance / Stage Practice and Dance Pedagogy for Professional Dancers (2 semesters).

The subjects Musicology and Music Pedagogy offer students the option of gaining a doctorate.

Some 500 events organised by the University every year not only enrich the range of cultural events held in the Rhine Neckar area and provide the public with comprehensive information about our work but also give our students experience with audiences at an early stage. In addition to concerts and theatre performances, academic conferences and symposiums are of vital importance as well as master classes held by international artists and teachers. Furthermore, the University holds regular competitions and the students also make many of their own CD productions.

Joint events are frequently held together with other universities, theatres, orchestras, music schools, concert organizers and other cultural institutions. This includes joint performances in all areas as well as numerous internships by students that enable them to seamlessly make the transition as graduates into their professional life. Together with four professional orchestras from the region (Rhineland Pfalz State Philharmonic Orchestra, Mannheim National Theatre, Heidelberg Philharmonic Orchestra, Palatinate Chamber Orchestra), the University founded the "Rhine Neckar Orchestra Academy". This is the first orchestral academy to be jointly maintained by a university and orchestras.

An issue of particular importance is the encouragement of highly talented young people. To this end, the University has founded the Amadé network, which is the only one of its kind in Germany.

The high quality of the education and training received at the Mannheim University of Music and Performing Arts is reflected in the numerous stories of success from our students and graduates as well as through the international prizes that the University has secured in competitions (e.g. ARD competitions), leading positions held by our graduates in renowned orchestras (e.g. the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra) and the appearance of vocal soloists at prestigious establishments (e.g. Bayreuther Festspiele).