Institute of Early Music and Performance Practice

Since the foundation of Institute 15, the early music Institute of the University of the Arts Graz by Vera Schwarz in 1967, a distinct connection that links musicological research and musical performance in one unified organisation has been providing the ideal departure point for exploring and developing historically informed performance practice in a university situation, through up-to-date, reflective learning.

Since 2019 the commencement of a new, specialised degree in early music reflects the combined approach of practice and knowledge, offering a forward-looking education to both undergraduate and graduate students of harpsichord and basso continuo, recorder, historical violin instruments and historical oboe. With choice from a wide range of subjects in performance practice, each student has the opportunity to shape their own course plan, promoting further artistic development and historical research.

Many of the subjects have strong artistic and academic research qualities, in particular the compulsory course in Early Music Theory, as well as the requisite topics taught alongside main instrumental studies. The musicologists of the Institute maintain a progressive way of  teaching drawing on their own and other current research. High-level instruction in secondary instruments is also a significant part of the department, with students from both the early music institute as well as from other areas of the university developing an excellent instrumental standard while expanding their understanding of performance practice.

Projects/Events/Symposia

Students have a unique opportunity to work together with their teachers in the many diverse events that take place, including opera and orchestra productions, chamber music courses and project days, in the popular lunch concert series, and through collaborations with international institutions. The biannual Symposium in Musicology, presented by the institute’s eminent musicologists, is world renowned, as is the department’s own series of publications. Collaborations exist with other institutes at the university, including jazz, contemporary music, music aesthetics, music pedagogy and the drama department. The field of instrument research is constantly broadening, as can be seen in the extensive Instrumentarium of the Institute. Aside from core genres of the 17th and 18th centuries a strong interest in Renaissance music is cultivated, as well as in repertoire of the Classical period, in particular Harmoniemusik.

Early Music Summer Course

Each year the Summer Academy is held in the beautiful Vorau Abbey in Styria, where members of the Institute together with guests including Emma Kirkby (historical voice) and Anabelle Blanc (historical dance) present a stimulating week long course, open to the public.