Under the guiding principle of artistic excellence and social responsibility, the university is in a permanent process of creative reinvention and courageous further development, in a process that repeatedly pushes everyone involved to their limits, a process through which our University challenges the world with creative impetus and inventiveness.
Hochschule für Musik und Theater Hamburg was established in 1950 under the name “State University of Music”, and emerged from the private drama school of Annemarie Marks-Rocke and Eduard Marks. Its first director was the German composer Philipp Jarnach, one of the leading composers and representatives of modern music in the 1920s. The Hochschule was once known as the “enfant terrible” of German Music academies due to its innovative, and boundary breaking approach to music education with new foundations such as jazz, pop, cultural management and music therapy.
Today, the Hochschule für Musik und Theater (HfMT) is one of the most prominent cultural institutions in Hamburg, hosting hundreds of cultural events every year and boasting 83 classrooms, theatre, voice and dance studios, and a main concert venue which seats over 400 people.
The mission of the University is “Artistic excellence and social responsibility”, where the aim is to relate both aspects to each other in all its fields of work. For this reciprocal relationship between art and society, between excellence and responsibility, reflection on artistic processes is an indispensable prerequisite.
HfMT offers a vast selection of courses within musical, technical and interpretive education. There are courses for solo instruments, orchestra, chamber music, church music, jazz and pop as well as composition, music theory, music education and music therapy. The focus is on offering professional education at the highest level, something guaranteed by a highly qualified and internationally recognized staff.
With an aim to provide professional jazz training in Hamburg the jazz department was founded by professors Dieter Glawischnig and Hermann Rauhe in 1985, making it one of the first jazz educations in Germany.
«Exchange and friendly competition with different countries and cultures is the lifeblood of the university».(Prof. Elmar Lampson)
The University of Music and Theatre Hamburg and the ELBJAZZ Festival have been cooperating for as many years as the festival has existed. The jazz festival has been taking place in the port of Hamburg since 2010, and the "HfMT Young Talents Stage" which was initiated by a student project group from the Culture and Media Management course, enables Hamburg's up-and-coming artists to present themselves to an international audience at ELBJAZZ. Due to the young musicians’ willingness to experiment, new bands emerge every year. This makes the program very varied and turns the stage into a “premiere stage”. Every year, many projects specially designed for this evening are performed on here. All bands on the HfMT Young Talents Stage have a direct connection to and in the Hamburg jazz scene.
The jazz department is involved in many international cooperations and is one of the most influential factors to determine the direction of the jazz scene in the city of Hamburg. Through close cooperation with the NDR Bigband and lately as well with the Elbphilharmonie, “Large Ensemble” jazz became kind of a brand for the city of Hamburg.
As the only German institution the jazz education at the HfMT includes the same amount of classical training, with the same weekly hours on the main instrument with a jazz and a classical professor. So the idea of large ensemble beyond Bigband as well as conducting in a rhythmical music context is very close to the philosophy of the jazz education in Hamburg and it is necessary to reach out to other institutions to build up new modules needed to continue successfully on this path. The program of The Jazz Workshop is congruent with the school’s long term goals.