The Tübingen University of Sacred Music of the Protestant Church of Württemberg emerged in 1998 from the University of Sacred Music in Esslingen am Neckar, which had been founded as early as 1945 as a School of Sacred Music. At this University choral conductors, organists and church music directors were trained, primarily for church employment. As a rule the courses led to the A-Diploma in Sacred Music, the B-Diploma and to other equivalent qualifications.
The Esslingen School of Sacred Music was upgraded to a University (Hochschule) of Sacred Music in 1989. In 1995 it became the first University in Germany to incorporate Popular Music as a subject into the Sacred Music curriculum. It relocated to Tübingen in autumn 1998 and became a state-recognized University (Hochschule), run by the Church of Württemberg, in 2009.
Since the move to Tübingen the new quarters have been the “Schwabenhaus“, a building right by the River Neckar, which is listed as a protected historic monument. It was built in 1899 by the Student Fraternity “Suevia” in the style of Historism with elements of Art Nouveau. Hans-Arnold Metzger, Karl Gerok, Helmut Bornefeld and Hermann Stern were some of the better known teachers from the founding period.
The University currently offers an undergraduate “Bachelor of Protestant Sacred Music” „B“ (with three different profiles – General Profile, Popular Music Profile and Pedagogical Profile) and a Master of Protestant Sacred Music „A“. In addition there are a Master’s Programme „Sacred Popular Music“, introduced in 2015, and further postgraduate courses in Organ Literature Playing and Organ Improvisation.
The University works together with the Catholic University of Sacred Music in neighbouring Rottenburg in close partnership, in a model which is unique Germany-wide. There are joint classes, a joint University Choir and the option of an inter-university change of teachers. Further partnerships exist, in part with close ties, with the Heidelberg University of Sacred Music, with the tradition-steeped Tübingen Protestant Collegiate (the training institution for theology in Württemberg), and with the Tübingen Collegiate Church Parish. Similar contacts are cultivated to the local University, especially to the Department of Theology, which, among other things, lead to joint worship services or classes.
With its over 70 000 media items, the University of Sacred Music hosts the “Central Sacred Music Library”, one of the largest Sacred Music collections of music, books and CDs in Germany.
„Nowhere else have I found a more vibrant rhythm than in the streets of Tübingen”
(Isolde Kurz, writer, 1853-1944)