The Faculty of Music in Belgrade was founded as Music Academy on March 31st 1937 by the decree of the Ministry of Education, while the opening and inauguration ceremony on November 21st 1937 marked the beginning of its activity. The establishment of the Faculty of Music as the highest state institution, along with the Music High School, rounded the music education system for the first time in the national context.
Setting the structure of the institution was entrusted to the expert committee comprised of composer and musicologist Kosta Manojlović, subsequent first rector of the Academy, composer and conductor Stevan Hristić, and violinist and composer Petar Stojanović, while composer and conductor Jovan Bandur acted as the administrative director. They made study teaching plans and programs on seven departments: composition and conducting, voice, piano, violin, violoncello, theater and music teaching. The first teaching staff was composed of nine Academy professors and nine High School teachers. The basic requirements and conditions were also provided. Particularly impressive is the information that the Library fund of those first years of Academy’s existence incorporated over seven thousand publications gathered by donations. Among main donators were France, Turkey, Estonia, Great Britain, Library of Congress from Washington DC, Association of Composers from Moscow (Russia), a number of institutions from all over Kingdom of Yugoslavia, but the most generous was donation of the Brussels Committee with 4902 items. At the fall term of year 1937 the first generation of 38 students started their studies at the Music Academy.
The first years of Academy’s activity were marked by increase of the number of students and teaching staff, first public student recitals, along with the more distinct formatting of some of the departments.
From the Second World War on, Faculty of Music history was to great respect shaped by numerous changes of the educational system and culture politics which led to frequent establishment/abolishment of the departments, and adjustments of the structure, organization of work and teaching plans. Some of the most significant changes of this period were the introductions of some of the wind instruments in the teaching plans, since until then they were only available for learning in the military high schools; thus, Wind Instruments Department came to action. Also, in this period the Department of music history and musical folklore (1948) was established, initiating the research of Yugoslavian and world music history, while the new impulses were injected to the exploration of the rich national folklore tradition.
The postgraduate studies were introduced to the Music Academy in 1957, thus creating the possibility for the best students to expend their proficiency by obtaining the titles of Master of Music Art and Master of Music Sciences.
Further Faculty advancement concerned the increase of the students and staff members and inauguration of the new departments and first-degree studies in other cities (Novi Sad and Niš, 1962), which had built the foundation of further music high education development in other significant national cultural centers.
In 1957 the Music Academy, enrolled the association of other high schools for the arts as Art Academy.
In 1973 the Music Academy changed its name into Faculty of Music, alongside other art schools and their association, which gained the status of independent University of Arts in Belgrade.
The number of instruments thought at the Faculty expanded over time by opening of organ, guitar, harpsichord, double bass, percussions and chamber music classes. The new quality of wind instruments studies was obtained by introduction of learning the alternative instruments on the third year of the studies (piccolo, alto flute, E-flat clarinet, bass clarinet, cor anglaise, double bassoon, alto trombone), while tuba gained the status of principal subject. Ethnomusicology studies were widened by encouraging studies of dance tradition, while the collecting, preserving and research of national folklore and artistic tradition became the task of the phono-archive based at the Department of ethnomusicology. Training at the Department of Composition was improved with the inauguration of the Electronic studio.
The postgraduate doctoral studies were introduced in 1985 enabling obtaining PhD titles in musicology, ethnomusicology, music theory and music pedagogy.
Latest expansions of the Faculties studies include institution of the Poly-instrumental Department in 1993, and Popular music and Jazz Department in 2012.
In academic year 1998/1999 in Kragujevac was inaugurated an outpost of the Faculty of Music, which in 2002/2003 outgrew in the independent Faculty of Philology and Arts.
Currently, undergraduate studies at the Faculty of Music are organized into thirteen departments: composition, conducting, singing, the piano, the string instruments (the violin, the viola, the violoncello, the double bass), the wind instruments (the flute, the oboe, the clarinet, the bassoon, the horn, the trumpet, the trombone, the tuba), musicology, ethnomusicology, music pedagogy, music theory, chamber music, jazz and popular music and the poly instrumental department (the harpsichord, the harp, the organ, the guitar, the percussions). Master studies include three study programs: composition, performing arts and music sciences. PhD studies include six study programs: composition, performing arts, chamber music, musicology, ethnomusicology and music sciences (music education and music theory).
Teaching is organized in the form of individual or group classes, and since 2006/2007 the Faculty’s work has been adjusted to the standards of the Bologna Convention.
Since 1941, 7431 students graduated from the Faculty of music, while 503 teachers worked at it.
In 2019, the Faculty of Music underwent an institutional quality enhancement review MusiQuE – Music Quality Enhancement, European independent accreditation and external evaluation body for music, affiliate of European Association for Quality Assurance in Higher Education – ENQA and registered on the European Quality Assurance Register (EQAR). As a result, the Faculty of Music in Belgrade has become the only higher education institution in country and region reviewed positively by MusiQuE, confirming in such a way high level of alignment with European standards of higher music education.
Faculty of Music in Belgrade is the first high educational music institution in the country which, with decades of activity and results, today represents a true leader in the fields of music artistry, interpretation and education, as well as an aspiring and inspirational artistic partner of numerous prestigious institutions all over the world. The guiding idea of the first professors and founders of the Faculty was directed to the formation of the generations of artists and pedagogues who would, through their concert and teaching activities, not only musically train talented individuals, but create a specific artistic awareness that would influence, change and ennoble wider social community. This developing artistic process is carried out with the same passion by the current generations of professors.