History of Studying at Academy of Music
The Academy of Music of the University of Ljubljana is the only musical arts institute of higher education in Slovenia and an establishment of special national significance. It is the alma mater of many outstanding musicians, among them two honorary doctors of the University of Ljubljana, Irena Grafenauer and Igor Ozim.
In 1975, the Academy of Music became a member of the University of Ljubljana. The number of students has been constantly increasing and currently stands at just above 400. Students can choose among 26 principal studies of the Musical Arts programme or the Music Education programme.
Many excellent performances of the Academy’s symphony orchestra abroad during the last decade have established its reputation as one of the leading European youth orchestras and confirm the quality of work. Moreover, students regularly collaborate with numerous international orchestras. Other large ensembles – chamber, female, mixed and choral choirs, string, wind, brass, guitar and accordion orchestras and the Big Band – have also been very successful. Students audition to perform as soloists with professional orchestras on concert and opera stages or are given a chance to present themselves in many other concert series – all this gives the Academy the edge over related institutions abroad. The graduates of the Academy of Music have a high employment rate and present the majority of staff in national professional ensembles and music schools. Some graduates have become members of the world’s most prestigious orchestras, such as the Vienna and Berlin Philharmonics. In the last six years alone, students have won around 100 awards and prizes in national and international competitions.
Conservatorium of Glasbena Matica (1919-1926)
The first initiative to establish an institution for higher music education in the region of Slovenia came in 1872 when the music and cultural society Glasbena matica of Ljubljana was founded. Its managing committee was aware of the importance of music education at higher level and on national scale. Nevertheless, the year-long endeavors of the Glasbena matica were not realized until a new state was formed, and in 1919 the Yugoslavian Conservatorium of the Glasbena Matica was established in Ljubljana, providing elementary, secondary and higher level of music education. The Conservatorium meant a significant breakthrough in efforts to systematically educate Slovenian musical talents. The lack of competent teaching staff was progressively reducing as the Conservatorium offered education for instrumentalists, singers and teachers. The most successful students received a grant from the Glasbena matica to continue their studies in Prague, Vienna, or at important European institutions for higher education. After finishing their studies, most of them returned to Ljubljana and became teachers at the Conservatorium. Josip Mantuani, Lucijan Marija Škerjanc, Slavko Osterc, Janko Ravnik, Anton Ravnik, Anton Trost, Julij Betetto, Marijan Lipovšek, Pavel Šivic, and others considerably raised the level of education in Slovenia, and, following the renowned European institutions, brought up-to-date curricula and teaching methods. Success was achieved, and it was evident from school performances, recitals, chamber and orchestral concerts that the artistic and technical level of playing was constantly progressing. The Orchestral Society, founded by the Glasbena matica in 1919, contributed towards achieving educational and artistic goals. The Society tried to take up the work of the Slovenian Philharmonics from the beginning of the century (1908-1913), which was infamously closed down due to social and political gaps. Because of the chronic lack of competent instrumentalists, it failed to reach its level, but it did revive and intensify the performance of new and older orchestral works by Slovenian composers. Students of the Conservatorium also played in the orchestra of the Society. Already in the 1920s, some knowledgeable people were aware that the scope of music education had to be expanded to cover scientific disciplines. In this way, Josip Mantuani, an art historian who intensively studied Slovenian music history, urged the establishment of the department of musicology in 1922, but he failed to realize his plans. Scientific disciplines were not introduced until 1945 when the Scientific Department, covering music history, music education, and folk music, was established at the Academy of Music. Musicology became its own department at the Ljubljana Faculty of Arts in 1962. The Glasbena matica of Ljubljana tried from the establishment of the Conservatorium on to be nationalized, as financial burdens were too heavy. The efforts bore fruit in 1926 when the State Conservatorium was established.
State Conservatorium (1926-1939)
The education standards did not change at the nationalized institution, but possibilities for development opened up. The State Conservatorium offered three levels of education: elementary, secondary, and two-year further education. Additionally, the institution included the Conducting School, Opera School, and Department of Education. The faculty was composed of the principal Matej Hubad, later Julij Betetto, and the teachers Janko Ravnik, Anton Ravnik, Jan Šlajs, Slavko Osterc, Lucijan Marija Škerjanc, Angela Trost, Emerik Beran, Avgust Ivančič, Vida Jeraj Hribar, Ivan Noč, Josip Pavčič, Josip Mantuani, Stanko Premrl, Marijan Lipovšek, and Danilo Švara, among others. The number of pupils ranged between 130 and 230, about 10 of them studying at the higher level. The institution organized national music examination that had to be passed in order to teach music at various schools, such as civil or technical. Notable graduates of the time included Blaž Arnič (organ), Janko Gregorc (clarinet), Vida Jeraj (violin), Pavel Rančigaj (organ), Zora Zarnik (piano), Karlo Rupel (violin), and Pavel Šivic (piano and composition). Even though some programs corresponded to a 4-year higher education level, it could not be compared to other European higher institutions, despite the fact that the curricula was made on the model of those of Vienna and Prague. The Conservatorium tried hard to obtain the status of a higher education institute, and after long negotiations with the authorities in Belgrade, this was accomplished in 1939 with the establishment of the Music Academy in Ljubljana.
Music Academy (1939-1945)
First concrete proposals to found an academy came from the Glasbena matica and the State Conservatorium in 1937. One of the key initiators were the president of the Glasbena matica, Dr Vladimir Ravnihar, and the principal of the Conservatorium, Julij Betetto, joined by the Society of the Music Academy, led by Dr Ivan Tavčar, a priest of Ljubljana. Among the patrons of the Society were the most notable representatives of the Slovenian nation, including Dr Anton Korošec. The year-long aspirations were realized in August 1939 when the Ministry of Education in Belgrade issued a decree to establish a higher level music academy in Ljubljana, which would also provide certified education at the secondary level. Its first rector became the internationally acclaimed pianist and teacher Anton Trost, and was replaced in 1942 by Julij Betetto. There were eight departments at the higher level: I Composition and Conducting, II Concert and Opera Singing, III Piano, IV Violin, V Violoncello, VI Organ, VII Theater and Opera Art, and VIII Music Education. Its first full-time professors included internationally acclaimed singer and year-long principle of the Ljubljana Conservatorium Julij Betetto, composer and organist Stanko Premrl, and pianist Anton Trost. Marijan Lipovšek and Pavel Šivic, both pianists and composers, violinist Karlo Rupel, and others also gave classes. Collectively, there were 20 professors teaching at the higher level. The Academy was functioning even during the war. In order to survive, it tried to adapt to changing political conditions, as it was decided on the suggestion of Professor Dr Fran Ramovš by the cultural society Slovenska matica, the Academy of Sciences and Arts, the National Gallery, and the Glasbena matica, which worked under the Central Cultural Council, and along them the Music Academy.
The new government provided necessary funds for the Academy, and from it requested loyalty, performance of Italian and, after September 1943, German composers, as well as indifference toward composers of other Slavic nations. Despite war conditions, or perhaps because of them, the youth studied hard, as if studying was a shelter from the reality. During the war, there were about 40 students yearly at the Music Academy. Annual reports show great progress at higher and secondary level, and the achievements at concerts and diploma recitals only confirm that. Among those who stood out were Zorka Bradač, Bojan Adamič, Samo Hubad, Jurij Gregorc, Ciril Cvetko, Nada Stritar, and Rudolf Francl, among others. The Academy functioned successfully on all fields until 1944 when war conditions deteriorated. Then, the educational process was occasionally interrupted, but it had never stopped. The continuous work during war years contributed to the fact that, immediately after the independence, there were enough competent musicians in Slovenia to continue educating future artists and music teachers with even greater enthusiasm, at both secondary and higher level.
Academy of Music (1945-1991)
After the World War II, the Music Academy was renamed the Academy of Music. The first rector became Lucijan Marija Škerjanc, while the administration was led by violinist and composer Matija Bravničar. Secondary and higher level continued to function under the institution. In addition to artistic departments, the aforementioned Scientific Department was established, which was engaged in music history, music education, and folk music. After reorganization in 1948, the Academy had the following departments: Composition and Conducting, Singing, Piano, Violin, Violoncello, Double Bass, Organ, Harp, Wind Instruments, Brass Instruments, and the Department of History and Folklore, which was later renamed the History Department and given up in 1962 when the Department of Musicology was established at the Faculty of Arts. In 1953, the secondary music school separated from the Academy and became an independent institution, called the Secondary Music School of Ljubljana. After Lucijan Marija Škerjanc, the Academy was headed by Janko Ravnik, Franjo Šefrer, Karlo Rupel, Marijan Lipovšek, Leon Pfeifer, Mihael Gunzek, Danijel Škerl, and Marijan Gabrijelčič, respectively. The number of students continued to grow through the years. Therefore, new, enhanced, and revised study programs were needed. Postgraduate studies were first introduced for artistic departments, and the first graduates finished in 1965. Next year, the Department of Music Education was established at the initiative of Pavel Šivic. Under the guidance of Pavel Šivic and his successors Dr Breda Oblak and Dr Primož Kuret, the education of music teachers for public and music schools at the Academy of Music has reached wide recognition. Today, the Academy is the leading Slovenian institution in the field, and its professors can be given much credit for its progress. The development of music education and the didactics of music prompted establishment of postgraduate studies, which was realized in 1979, first only as a master’s degree, later also as a doctorate, and the first PhD was awarded in 1987. In 1972, revised programs at the two-year further education, the four-year higher and the postgraduate level were introduced. The Academy of Music joined the University of Ljubljana as an equal member in 1975. Under the University, the Academy has continued with its successful educational and artistic work, and since 1978 its most outstanding students have been receiving Students’ Prešeren Awards, the highest award given by the University and its members.
Academy of Music in Independent Republic of Slovenia (since 1991)
From 1991 to 2009, the institution was headed by the deans Dejan Bravničar and Pavel Mihelčič, and since 2009 by Andrej Grafenauer. Since Slovenia’s independence, some new academic programs and courses have been introduced: Church Music (established in 1992, later renamed Sacred Music), Guitar (1996), and Saxophone (1998). The Bologna process has brought major changes in all programs, and, with it, four new courses have been added: Choral Conducting, Recorder, Harpsichord, and Accordion. The study in accordance with the Bologna process has gradually been introduced since the study year 2009-10 and has currently been implemented for the first and the third cycle, while the master’s degree program is waiting to be accredited and will begin in the study year 2012-13.
Currently, jazz music is only available as an elective course in the bachelor’s degree program of Musical Art, but the Academy of Music is planning to set up an independent program of jazz studies.
Today, there are the following departments at the Academy: Composition and Music Theory, Conducting, Singing, Keyboard Instruments, String Instruments, Wind Instruments, Brass Instruments, Percussion Instruments, and the Department of Music Education and Sacred Music. Furthermore, there are four interdepartmental divisions at the institution, joining staff from different departments: the Division of Ensemble and Chamber Performance, the Division of Music Theory Subjects, the Division of Music History and Literature, and the Division of Education. In addition, the Academy is planning to establish the Divisions of Early Music and Jazz. In recent years, there have been around 360 full-time, 50 part-time, and 10 doctoral students. Before the implementation of Bologna programs, there were around 30 postgraduate students, either pursuing master’s degree or specialization.
Scientific researches in the field of music history encouraged Dr Primož Kuret and Dr Edo Škulj to prompt organization of musicological conferences, which were at first organized by the Academy of Music and the Faculty of Theology, and since 2005 by the Division of Music History and Literature. The result of the researches and annual conferences on different Slovenian composers, attended by notable Slovenian and international experts, are published in thematic issues of The Journal of Music Education of the Academy of Music of Ljubljana (the editor of the thematic issues is Dr Darja Koter). The publication makes an important contribution to the musicological studies in Slovenia. The Journal of Music Education, the Academy’s scientific magazine, was first published in 1995 and deals with the fields of music education, didactics, and history. Its editor is Dr Branka Rotar Pance. Since 2008, the Academy has been registered with the Slovenian Research Agency as a research organization with its own research group. The Academy hosts a public university library, holding around 30,116 units of books and sheet music.
As the Academy of Music is primarily an educational and artistic institution, it tries to offer its students many opportunities to perform, for this is inseparable part of education for artistic professions. In this way, it organizes various concert series, where its best students can play as soloists with professional orchestra, give recitals, or perform in chamber groups. There are several musical ensembles at the Academy, namely symphony, wind, string, guitar, baroque, and accordion orchestras, mixed, female, chamber and choral choirs, as well as numerous chamber groups, in recent years, also a big band. Some soloists, chamber musicians, young composers, and conductors receive acclamation even before finishing their studies and confirm that they are have become mature artists, and, with their international performances, some chamber groups have proven to be among the best such ensembles in Europe.
Many years, the institution was situated in the premises of the Glasbena matica at the Gosposka ulica street, Ljubljana. In 1985, it has moved to its current location, the Stična Mansion, at 34 Stari trg, in the heart of Ljubljana. Due to lack of space, the Academy has to use other locations. Until the study year 2010-11, it rented premises in St Stanislav’s Institution in Šentvid, on the outskirts Ljubljana, in the Secondary Music and Ballet School of Ljubljana (since 2009 renamed the Conservatory for Music and Ballet), and the Hall of St Jacobs, among others. Today, a major part of its activities again take place in the premises of the Glasbena matica at 8 Vegova ulica and 10 Gosposka ulica, Ljubljana.
The Academy of Music collaborates with numerous related institutions across Europe and the USA, and, in this way, successfully manages globalization, which demands intensive connection with the rest of the world, and, from teachers and students, constant control of quality and nourishing of national culture.