Five universities of fine arts
The Free State of Saxony can boast of five prestigious universities of fine arts: the University of Music Carl Maria von Weber Dresden, the University of Music and Theatre »Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy« Leipzig, the Academy of Fine Arts Leipzig, the Dresden Academy of Fine Arts and the Palucca University of Dance Dresden. The courses of study at any of these training facilities are distinguished by exciting contrasts between artistic traditions and modern techniques. They require creative, manual and scientific skills and abilities. As a rule, aptitude tests are necessary for admission to courses. Another integral part of this training is the cooperation of universities of fine arts with well-known orchestras, theatres, opera houses and art collections in the Free State of Saxony.
The University of Music and Theatre «Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy« Leipzig (HMT Leipzig) offers a broad and practical range of training courses in Classical Music, Early Music, Jazz/Popular Music, Drama and Dramaturgy, Music Education, Music Pedagogy, Musicology and Church Music. The HMT Leipzig is dedicated to the professional training of professional musicians, music teachers and professional actors at the highest international level. The foundation of comprehensive musical education is evident as early as in Mendelssohn’s founding concept (1840); to this day, the HMT Leipzig stands for innovative and future-oriented teaching and learning. It provides sufficient scope for individual development and sees the personal profile of its students as an important goal of artistic education. The study programmes are coordinated in theory and practice and offer a high degree of study quality from an artistic, research and pedagogical point of view.
HMT maintains close contacts and collaborations with numerous partners: together with the Gewandhaus Orchestra, it has founded the Mendelssohn-Orchesterakademie, which provides practical experience to young musicians. The close dovetailing of both institutes is a unique feature.
1,100 students study at the HMT.
The University of Music Dresden views itself as a place for cultivating a music culture in which art, science and instruction are interlinked in theory and practice. There is a lively exchange between tradition and renovation, continuity and experiment. Freedom to experiment, new working methods and artistic research are elements of everyday life at the university.
The history of the University of Music Carl Maria von Weber Dresden dates back to the 19th century. Founded in 1856 as a private conservatory, today it is a university level state institution.
The University of Music Dresden is known for its exceptionally broad spectrum of study opportunities at an outstanding level. Both faculties offer both classical and pedagogical training. In addition to the artistic study programmes leading to a Bachelor’s and Master’s degree, the university also offers special study programmes to prepare for the teaching profession. Apart from the classical teacher training, in which the school subject of Music is supplemented by a further subject, one can also study the so-called double subject of Music, where it is possible to choose another musical subject.
The college currently has over 700 enrolled students from all over the world. First-class, internationally renowned lecturers offer students practical education. Modern classrooms, an excellent concert hall and a multifunctional rehearsal stage are available for this purpose.
Founded by Friedrich Christian, the Prince-Elector of Saxony, as an academy of drawing, painting and architecture together with the Dresden Academy and a drawing school at the Porzellan-Manufaktur Meissen, the Academy of Fine Arts Leipzig (HGB) is one of the oldest European universities of fine arts. The academy has been providing art and design education at the highest level for more than 250 years. It owes its excellent reputation to the numerous graduates, who play a key role in shaping the areas of contemporary fine arts and graphic design, as well as to the well-known personalities who have worked and who work as professors and employees at the HGB.
The academy has 500 students and is committed to its artistic and design history, but is aggressively pushing ahead with the expansion of its discourses and teaching practices in new media fields. It wants to further intensify the overlap between artistic, design and theoretical practice. It therefore promotes mutual penetration and openness towards other disciplines and knowledge-oriented areas of society not only within its study programmes but also in cooperation with other institutions and disciplines outside the academy.
It lives up to the demands of innovation and tradition with its very well-equipped workshops for woodcut, artistic offset printing, lithography, etching, screen printing, book printing, book binding and manual typesetting as well as with the audiovisual and 3D laboratories. The university’s Institute for Book Design comes out with extensive and extraordinary publications, which regularly bag awards in national and international competitions.
The Dresden University of Fine Arts (HfBK) with around 550 students is intensively and practically connected to the cosmos of contemporary fine arts, theatre life, conservation of cultural assets and the interfaces between art and social issues.
The degree programme of Fine Arts has a great tradition and at the same time aspires to be relevant for the present and the future. The degree programme of Art Technology, Preservation and Restoration of Artistic and Cultural Assets is dedicated primarily to preserving the artistic works of the past. The degree programmes of Stage Setting and Costume Design and Theatre Setting on the other hand work for the transient moment of action in theatre or other productions that are temporary in nature. The postgraduate programme of Art Therapy combines artistic and therapeutic approaches.
The academy – founded in 1764 – has undergone many changes throughout its long history, to which numerous famous artists have contributed. The special mix of study programmes gives rise to an inimitable atmosphere today. The academy buildings that are spread over three locations form another element of the genius loci, a term that paraphrases the unique atmosphere of the academy. Anyone who visits the imposing building on Brühlsche Terrasse and takes a look at the remarkable Oktogon exhibition hall will get a feel of this special atmosphere. This is also true for the university block on Güntzstrasse that was renovated a few years ago or the light-flooded studios and workshops for sculptors on Pfotenhauerstrasse.
Building on a tradition of more than 85 years, the Palucca University of Dance Dresden offers interdisciplinary dance training at the highest level. The guiding principle of the university is to enable creative learning and to encourage all students, be it students who are training as dancers, dance teachers or choreographers, to find their own artistic language.
Gret Palucca founded her own school in Dresden in 1925. She first taught in her apartment and later in rented premises. In the time of National Socialism after 1936, she was not allowed to teach free dance any more. Her school was closed in 1939. Shortly after the war ended, Palucca reopened her school in Dresden in July 1945. It was nationalised in 1949 and given the status of a technical school for artistic dance. Gret Palucca designed the subject of New Artistic Dance in order to keep her own special style as a subject in the school curriculum. Classical Russian-style dance was predominantly taught in the new school building of the Palucca School, which was built in Dresden in 1957. It was after 1989 that the school began to refocus on their own tradition. Equal training in the three pillars of classical dance, contemporary dance and improvisation became an integral part of the university’s profile and is its unique feature.
Around 180 students study at the university.