The history of music education at the Herzen University could be traced back to 1817 when a course in that field appeared in the curriculum
of The Imperial Educational House (such was the name of the institution from which the university evolved from).
Each year 10 musically advanced girls were singled out for the program which was intended to produce “good teachers of music”.
In 1854 a special music department was organized at The Educational House,
according to a plan by The Honored Patron, Count Mikhail Vijelgorsky.
Its graduates were assigned to positions in women’s educational institutions throughout the country and required to work there for at least 6 years.
The best students got jobs in St-Petersburg and Gatchina, an Imperial summer residence.
After The October Revolution music disappeared from the curriculum. However, by the 1980’s the humanities and fine arts had developed extensively at the A. I. Herzen Institute, which succeeded to The Imperial Educational House. So, it is no surprise, that the College of Music was opened in 1988. It was created and directed for 16 years by Prof. N. A. Terentieva, Doctor of Pedagogy and Associate Member of the Russian Academy of Education. Currently, the College of Music Dean is Professor Irina Avramkova, PhD, Honored Culture Worker of the Russian Federation and International Competition prize-winner. An outstanding contributor to the education of young talent (she prepared over 100 prize-winners of National and International competitions), Prof. Avramkova is a laureate of the special federal project “Children Prodigy” launched as a part of the President’s program “Children of Russia”. She has also been awarded a decoration by the Governor of St. Petersburg “For the Humanization of St-Petersburg School” as well as a number of international certificates.
Since the very moment of its foundation the College attracted musicians of great merit. As a result, its present faculty includes a large number of Full Doctors and PhDs (Russian academic system envisages two doctor’s degrees awarded in succession), members or Artistic associations and People’s and Honored Artists of Russia. Faculty members either pursue pedagogical and performing careers, giving recitals in the best concert halls of this country and abroad, or combine teaching with scholarly research, producing monographs, text-books and other materials for students. The College is proud to currently employ such brilliant personalities as People’s Artists of the USSR Elena Obraztsova and Larisa Shevtchenko; People’s Artists of Russia Alexey Stieblianko, Pavel Yegorov, Yekaterina Murina and David Goloshchokin, Honored Artists of Russia Oleg Malov, Alexander Kantorov and Alexander Morozov; and the head of the Union of Composers of St. Petersburg Grigory Kortchmar to name but a few.
The College currently consists of four departments: The Department of Music Education, The Department of Musical Instruments, The Choral Department and The Department of Solo Voice.
The Department of Music Education offers two doctoral programs: 13.00.02 Music Education (Theory &Methods) and 17.00.02 Music. The College established its Doctoral Dissertation Council in 2001.
Since 2000 the College has been actively developing a new concept of education to meet International standards of multi-level higher education. As a humanities and fine arts school, the College commits itself to the education of versatile musicians. In addition to thorough pedagogical training, the creative potential of the students is fostered either in the area of performance or scholarship. Students participate in various collegiate concerts and in Students’ Research Society. Symphony orchestra “Young Klassika”, Russian folk orchestra “Silver strings”, “Jazz-art” group and chamber choir “Euro-Asia” were established at the College and now regularly perform in St. Petersburg and elsewhere. The high level of coaching resulted in a great number of awards from National and International competitions. Contests are also organized by the College, including annual Departmental, Regional and International Competitions for Young Performers and for Teachers. Thus, the B. T. Shtokolov International Vocal Competition was established in 2008 (second edition, 2009) to commemorate the Great Russian bass, who taught at the Herzen University. Another major project of the sort is the International Competition “St. Petersburg reflected in World’s music culture” which has already become a tradition with its four editions so far (2002, 2007, 2008 and 2010). The Fifth D. B. Kabalevsky International Competition “Music Teacher XXI” proved another landmark of 2010.
The total number of students at the College of Music is now 652, including 90 international students.
Graduates have a variety of career opportunities; they work in Children’s music schools, secondary schools, vocational and higher education institutions as well as in choirs, orchestras, ensembles, opera theatres, etc.
The College has an extensive international partnership. Students benefit from the International Student Exchange Program with universities in the USA and Europe and participate in master-classes conducted by visiting artists. The considerable number of foreign undergraduate and graduate students reflects wide international reputation of the College.