At the University of Sacred Music (HKM) in Tübingen students experience a wide-ranging training towards becoming a complete artist personality, which has its eye not only on nurturing all manner of musical skills but also focuses on those of pedagogy and the worship service.
The University is housed in the Schwabenhaus, famous in Tübingen for miles around, in Gartenstraße, right by the River Neckar. Built in 1899 in the styles of Historism and Art Nouveau, the "Schwabenhaus" initially served a student fraternity of the same name, then subsequently the Max-Planck-Institute, a youth club centre and finally an adult education centre. From 1998 onwards it has been the site of the University, which was founded in Esslingen in 1945 and was located there until 1998.
The proximity to the large Eberhard-Karls-University provides all manner of opportunities, particularly contacts and cooperation with the Institute of Musicology and the Theological Faculties, with the University Music Director and his ensembles, as well as with the Protestant Collegiate, the training institution for Theologians of the Church of Württemberg, which is also the HKM’s governing body.
The students of the University of Sacred Music make use of the range of lectures offered by the Institute of Musicology and the Department of Protestant Theology. Reciprocally guest students attend the seminars and lectures of the HKM – theology students or Church Music Directors from near and far use the University for their personal ongoing education.
The cooperation with the Protestant Collegiate Church Parish is exceptionally enriching, whose renowned Saturday evening concert cycle Tübinger Motette frequently features instrumental and vocal soloists alongside the University Choir. Furthermore the HKM takes part in a host of recitals (including those of the eminently hospitable Catholic Church of St. John in Tübingen) and in the “Tübingen Organ Summer" cycle.
The University has its own concert series, 8 past 8, featuring concerts, lectures and foyer dialogues.
Every two years on May 1st, „Open Days“ attract hundreds of visitors and enable them to get their own idea of the musical and spatial resources of the still young Tübingen University.
In May 2000 the Circle of Friends of the University was founded. The current chairperson is Ex-State Church Music Director Prof. Siegfried Bauer. The Circle of Friends has gained about 50 members up to now and sees its main purpose in supporting the University’s students.
Since March 2001 the Collegiate Church Parish, the Jakobus Parish and the University have joined together to form a joint inner-city children’s choir. Under its new name Tübinger Neckarschwalben around 60 children currently sing in age-appropriate groups. The choir sees its function both in singing during worship and in its own children’s choir concerts. In addition this choir is directed in rehearsals by University students, whose range of subjects includes two semesters of Children’s Choral Conducting.
The partnership with the Rottenburg University of Catholic Sacred Music and the vibrant University Town of Tübingen offer prospective Church Music Directors manifold opportunities in their training. Time and again we witness, what the writer Isolde Kurz (1853-1944) put like this:
"Still today, when I build an ideal town in my mind, with such bold terraces, such overlapping rooftops, it descends towards the silent river. Nowhere have I found a more vibrant rhythm than in the streets of Tübingen.”