Historical overview of the Estonian Academy of Music and Theatre

As in other European countries, music education in Estonia has historically been linked with the activity of universities and churches. Already at the end of the 19th century, there were several private music schools, providing specialised education in different instruments. The year of 1919, when two independent institutions of music education were established in Tallinn and Tartu, is considered to be the beginning of higher music education in Estonia. Over time, the Tartu Higher Music School became a strong secondary music education institution, now known as the Heino Eller Music School. The Tallinn Higher Music School is considered to be the predecessor of the current EAMT. The school, first established by the Music Department of the “Estonia” Society, was nationalised in 1935. Over time, depending on the political regime, it has had different names, including the Tallinn (National) Conservatoire and the Estonian Academy of Music. Although the Drama Faculty opened in the Conservatoire already in 1957, it is mentioned in the name of the academy – Estonian Academy of Music and Theatre – since 2007.


Today, EAMT can be considered an internationally strong and competitive learning and research facility. Most Estonian musicians have been involved with EAMT either through their own studies or through teaching activity. Among our best-known alumni, there are composers Arvo Pärt and Erkki-Sven Tüür, as well as conductors Eri Klas and Tõnu Kaljuste. Most of the actors and directors of Estonian theatres are also alumni of the Drama School of EAMT. The rectors of the Academy have included many distinguished musicians, such as French horn player Jaan Tamm, violinist Vladimir Alumäe, pianist Bruno Lukk, vocalists Georg Ots and Viktor Gurjev, composers Mihkel Lüdig, Eugen Kapp and Juhan Aavik, as well as choral conductors Riho Päts and Venno Laul. As of 1992, the Rector of EAMT is pianist, Professor Peep Lassmann.