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From Conservatory to University

The history of the Wuppertal campus begins in 1945.

What began as the Kreiskonservatorium für Musik in the city of Haan became the Bergisches Landeskonservatorium in 1948. The conservatory was sponsored by the cities of Wuppertal, Remscheid, and Solingen.

When the conservatory opened in Wuppertal in 1955, it did so with a new pedagogical concept. It is this concept that is the foundation of the longstanding tradition and present focus of the Wuppertal campus. From then on, enthusiasts of the performing arts and professional training including music for young people and vocal classes were to be the backbone of education in Wuppertal. At that time, this was a completely new, forward-thinking approach.

Following the closure of the conservatory in Haan for financial reasons, Wuppertal became the conservatory’s sole location.

In 1966, Ingo Schmitt began the integration of a city-sponsored music school that he supervised as the director of the Bergisches Landeskonservatorium. In 1968, these two institutions became the Bergisches Landeskonservatorium e.V., an association under the trusteeship of the City of Wuppertal.

A noteworthy sign of things to come was the early inclusion of the class “Modellversuch Musikalische Früherziehung” because it is one of the subjects that constitute the educational focus at the Wuppertal campus.

Following the closure of all the conservatories in North Rhine-Westphalia, music vocational training was handed over to the academic music institutions. The Bergisches Landeskonservatorium e.V. was subsequently split up, with the vocational school Institut Wuppertal being integrated into the newly-formed association, Staatliche Hochschule für Musik Rheinland. The Hochschule für Musik und Tanz Köln and the institutes in Wuppertal, Aachen, and Düsseldorf became a part of this new association. The first dean was the former director of the conservatory, Prof. Ingo Schmitt.

The former President of Germany and long-time Premier of North Rhine-Westphalia, Johannes Rau, was then the Minister of Science and responsible for founding the Institut Wuppertal. Rau had close ties to the institute and always showed a keen interest in its development.

After 36 years at its address on Friedrich-Ebert-Strasse in Wuppertal-Elberfeld, the Wuppertal campus moved to a new, prestigious, and forward thinking building in Wuppertal-Barmen. The building is a historic monument that lies in the center of Wuppertal-Barmen and is easy to reach from the city.

Currently, Prof. Dr. Lutz-Werner Hesse is the Managing Director at the Wuppertal campus. With approximately 200 students, the Wuppertal campus is one of three campuses along with the Aachen and Cologne campuses that belong to the Hochschule für Musik und Tanz Köln.