Faculty of Music - Information about the faculty

Information about the faculty  

Faculty of music and music tradition of Brno

Brno is a town with long history - it arose on a mercantile site, which was situated on trade routes leading from the Alps to Northern Europe. Below Petrov Hill, where there is now the Brno Cathedral, there was a church and a castle as early as the 11th century. In 1243 King Vaclav I conferred on Brno its town rights. There were two language groups mingling together at the time - German and Czech, which coexisted side by side as recently as 1945.

Music has been performed in Brno since its ancient times. At the foot of Spilberk Hill plays and shows were given to entertain the nobility and burgesses. In the first half of the 14th century, when the former Queen Eliska Rejcka and her third husband Jindrich z Lipe had their residence in Brno, an important cultural centre was formed here. The foundation of the Starobrnenska fundace (Old Town Foundation) was very important for scientific and cultural development of Brno. For example J. G. Mendel or Leos Janacek were both active there.

In 1734, the Stadttheater was founded (the site of the future Reduta theatre). Well-known artists, such as Mozart, Liszt or Paganini, gave their concerts there. The ceremonial opening of the Besedni dum in 1872 gave foundations to Czech musical life in Brno. The Besedni dum has since provided the venue not only for many prestigious concerts of the State Philharmonic of Brno but also significant concerts of the Faculty of Music. The present-day Mahen Theatre, the first theatre in Europe with electric lights, opened in 1882. Brno has a rich and diverse range of theatre and concert halls. There is the National Theatre with four independent performing ensembles (drama, opera, ballet, and music theatre) and the City Theatre, which performs drama and musicals. The State Philharmonic of Brno performs in the above-mentioned Besedni dum and in the Janacek Theatre as well. In the 70s, the "Goose on the String" theatre followed the tradition of the avant-garde theatre, which was also later
followed by the HaDivadlo Theatre - two ensembles now at the Centre of Experimental Theatre. There is the puppet Radost Theatre, Polarka Theatre and generation theatre "71/2", founded by Theatre Faculty graduates several years ago. It is not surprising that, in a city of dynamic musical and theatrical activity and in the framework of the newly founded Art school - Janacek Academy of Music and Performing Arts - a Faculty of Music came into being.

The building of the Faculty of Music is an important example of historic architecture in Brno and forms part of the building history of Brno. It was built to meet the needs of the German grammar school according to the winning project by Viennese architects Eduard van der Nüll (1812-1868) and August Siccard von Siccardsburg (1813-1868) between the years 1860 and 1862. The architects belonged to leading representatives of the Viennese outer circle style or Franz Josef's I style.
They built for example the building of Arsenal and, above all, the Court Opera, the present-day State Opera (Staatsoper) in Vienna.

Nüll and Siccardsburg found inspiration for the grammar school building, at that time called "seedbed of science", in the Ancient Greece. Four monumental caryatid on portico, that allegorise classical education and imitate Erechtheion on the Acropolis of Athens, were made by the sculptor Josef Břenek. Medallions with relief busts of significant scientists come from the workshop of Adolf Loos sr., the father of the famous architect. Not only the exterior of the building but also its inner layout were remarkable. A spacious entrance hall with staircase is evidence of representative tendency accompanied by the sense of usefulness and lucidity in other rooms. In the entrance hall is a bust of Leos Janacek made by Jan Stursa (1880-1925), an important sculptor and founder of Czech modern sculpture, in 1924. The historical building has been
partly used by JAMU since 1949 and in full extent since 1965. It underwent a vast reconstruction in the middle nineties and has been exclusively used by the Faculty of Music since 1998.