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Music and Arts University of the City of Vienna: Educating Artists with modern methodes

Music and Arts University of the City of Vienna

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The pursuit of fields like music and performing arts has emerged as profoundly beneficial in a world defined by academic competition. Along with educational profit, music and arts contribute to the cognitive development of students. With numerous educational institutes around the world, only a handful have managed to bring out the underlying artistic qualities of students through distinctive approaches.

Standing out as one of the leading universities with its artistic-oriented curriculum, the Music and Arts University of the City of Vienna (MUK) is committed to the further development of music and the performing arts as well as their freedom. Being an autonomous university for music and performing arts, the MUK is a place for the practice of arts and education and offers artistic, artistic-scientific, and artistic-pedagogical studies and courses. It also engages in active dialogue with society on relevant issues and current challenges.

The MUK’s establishment dates back to the 1920s. Several private stakeholders and the public administration of Vienna put efforts to provide access to high standards of art and music education to people of varied backgrounds on artistic and educational levels. In 2005, the MUK received its accreditation with the City of Vienna being its sole owner. This has made it possible for many students from around the globe to access artistic education which is not only contemporary and highly demanding on an international level, but also financially viable and in accordance with the principles of the Bologna Declaration of the European Union.

An Insightful Curriculum

The MUK follows a distinctive strategic curriculum which focuses on two crucial aspects:

Development and exploration of the arts as a core mission

The MUK develops and explores both the traditional and contemporary art forms while developing innovative concepts for arts education. The contemporary artistic trends are equivalent to the focus of teaching and research as historical-artistic practice and theory. One of the central concerns of the university is complementing discipline-specific education with interdisciplinary, cross-faculty work and transdisciplinary projects. Teaching and art development encompasses the areas of interpretation and creation, scholarship and research, as well as mediation and participation. Additionally, researchers from the fields of music, theatre, and dance studios as well as pedagogy contribute to the generation and dissemination of knowledge in many forms on an international level, and as a part of an academic community which is excellence-oriented.

Focus on talents and competencies

For students and teachers, access to the MUK is based on criteria of excellence in terms of both artistic talent and professional aptitude. To achieve this, the comprehensive education and development of the independent artistic personality of students and teachers at the MUK is of central importance. In all the art forms represented, the MUK sets itself the standard of international artistic competitiveness and presents these to a critical public in regular events.

An Array of Study Programs

The MUK offers the following courses and programs:

  • Conducting and Composition (Bachelor’s / Master’s Program)
  • Keyboard Instruments (Preparatory Course / Bachelor’s / Master’s Program)
  • String Instruments (Preparatory Course / Bachelor’s / Master’s Program)
  • Wind and Percussion Instruments (Preparatory Course / Bachelor’s / Master’s Program)
  • Jazz (Bachelor’s / Master’s Program)
  • Early Music (Bachelor’s / Master’s Program)
  • Voice and Opera (Bachelor’s / Master’s Program)
  • Musical Theatre (Bachelor’s Program)
  • Drama (Bachelor’s Program)
  • Dance (Preparatory Course / Bachelor’s / Master’s Program)
  • Cross-faculty program: Master of Arts Education (MAE)

The study programs encompass over 30 Bologna-compatible bachelor’s and master’s programs in music, musical theater, dance, and drama, along with preparatory courses (for exceptional young talents) and non-degree University courses (extra-occupational education focusing on one area of expertise). Additionally, the Certificate of Performance’ offers tailored, high-level professional training to musicians who are looking to acquire an additional qualification suited to their needs.

Currently, many students are provided the opportunity to develop artistically within the university framework along with over 300 professors, lecturers, and administrative staff. More than half of the students come from abroad and no more than 150  200 out of 1500 applicants are admitted to the university. These students are assessed on the basis of technical and artistic aptitudes during the rigorous admission process. Approximately 850 students from over 50 countries come together in Vienna and create an open-minded and progressive atmosphere. The MUK offers international students a campus flair at three locations in the heart of Vienna.

Robust Members at the Core

The MUK faculty is distinguished into the ‘Faculty of Music’ (comprising reputable soloists, orchestra musicians, and many more), and the ‘Faculty of Performing Arts’. Owing to the university’s international partnerships and connections, the students can avail regular opportunities to participate in exchange projects and concert tours in major countries such as the USA, China, and many more.

Along with 280 lecturers – including many who enjoy the highest artistic and academic reputation beyond their teaching profession – young artists are a part of the MUK community of competence and innovative strength. This is constantly driven forward through the individual promotion of teaching and through intensive research.

The management team, small yet efficient, provides administrative support incorporating the latest technological developments. It is actively involved in the development of educational formats – comprising 450 public events annually among other things.

The close consultation between the university leadership and the lecturers, students, and administrative staff, has seen that a new structure is developed for the young university. This will, in particular, reposition the master’s degrees in terms of future artistic and academic requirements. Furthermore, the contemporary artwork forms the thematic reference point – completing the circle of the founding ideals of the past.

A Plethora of Additionalities

The MUK offers programs that are based on current trends in music and art life. It also considers the current research conducted in the concerned area such as questions of historical performance practice or technical innovations in the field of (live) electronics. This characteristic has enabled the university to collaborate closely with renowned non-academic, as well as valuable cultural partners, and organizes regular workshops and masterclasses to complement its courses.

Effective Crisis Management

To prevent any further outbreak of COVID-19, the MUK transitioned to distance learning and online training until the lockdown was lifted from the City of Vienna. The teachers maintained constant contact with the students and supported them, while the university utilized the pandemic as an opportunity to improve on technical forefronts. It conducted online events and streamed performances for a large audience for the very first time since its establishment.

Adaptable Perspectives

The MUK supported the students according to their special talents and personal visions to help them develop professional identities on the basis of the competencies acquired during their studies. The student-centered education focuses – in addition to the established professional profiles in particular – on the individual development of the students in their respective artistic work. To achieve this goal in the best possible way, teachers and students work together in individual and group lessons, in teams and in ensembles, applying the principles of co-determination, co-creation, and co-responsibility.

Spearheading in the Present Time

The MUK assembles musicians, performing artists, and researchers from all over the world and offers them the opportunity for artistic and academic development in a cosmopolitan, appreciative, and innovative atmosphere. Regular cooperation with domestic and foreign partners is an integral part of its own self-image.

The university has made a virtue out of necessity and is currently even more digitally fit. It is confident about the future and plans to conduct both physical and online classes using cutting-edge technology, science, and its artistic professions. It plans to offer online applications for study places in the future (especially auditions), to streamline content for international students in particular.

Music and Arts University of the City of Vienna

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