A young institution founded in 1992, the University of Music and Theatre »Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy« Leipzig (Hochschule für Musik und Theater, or HMT) is the successor to Germany's oldest Academies of Music (1843) and Theatre (1953, itself the successor to the Leipzig Theatre School, founded in 1875-1876).
Our Alumni have had an immeasurable influence on the international cultural scene. Starting with Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy, on whose initiative the Leipzig Konservatorium der Musik was founded, a very brief selection of the countless renowned persons who taught or studied here might include Wilhelm Backhaus, Georg Christoph Biller, Sir Adrian Boult, Frederick Delius, Eberhard Esche, Götz Friedrich, Edvard Grieg, Ludwig Güttler, Leós Janácek, Sebastian Krumbiegel, Tobias Künzel, Harry Kupfer, Kurt Masur, Ulrich Mühe, Tom Pauls, Max Reger, Carl Reinecke, Karl Richter, Robert Schumann, Peter Sodann, Sir Arthur Sullivan, Klaus Tennstedt and Nadja Uhl.
The HMT Leipzig is dedicated to the professional training of musicians, music teachers and actors at the highest international level. Mendelssohn's first draft concept from 1840 explicitly addresses the dangers of narrow technical drill and emphasises the importance of comprehensive artistic education in forming thinking musicians. This principle is as central to the ideals and values of the HMT today as it was in Mendelssohn's day. Most recently it has informed two fundamental curricular reforms —in the 1990s following German reunification and since 2006 in response to the EU-wide introduction of Bachelor and Master degrees. As a result, our students benefit from focused curricula integrating an unusually wide range of relevant practical and theoretical disciplines.
The decade following the amalgamation of the Music and Theatre Academies in 1992 was a time of experimentation and gradual consolidation. This provided a number of opportunities to add new and innovative courses to the traditional canon. Great care was taken, however, to ensure that the foundation of new departments (Early Music and Dramaturgy), or the considerable expansion of existing ones (Jazz) was compatible with the HMT's mission. Conscious decisions were made not to establish subjects such as Music Marketing, Management, Gender Studies, Law, Music Medicine as specific departments within the HMT, or to establish an on-site Career Service. Instead, the University collaborates with other institutions and experts who demonstrate a high degree of competence in these fields.
The current leaders of the HMT are convinced that their predecessors were right to focus on providing the best possible practical and theoretical music and theatre training. We reject short-term or superficial attempts to expand beyond our core disciplines which divert human and material resources from the University's mission. Building on the HMT's superlative 170-year tradition today requires the same dedication and focus demonstrated by Mendelssohn in the 1840s.