As one of the first music schools in Europe, the then Vienna Conservatory established a jazz department in 1968.
The study programme Jazz at the MUK is aimed at „the best of the best“ and is structured according to a unique concept. In the first four semesters, students receive a thorough education in Straight Ahead Jazz, for whose quality the study programme Jazz has been internationally renowned for many years. Building on this sound education in the tradition of jazz, students are encouraged to discover and sharpen their individual and distinctive musical profile. In addition to modern and contemporary trends in jazz and related styles, projects and collaborations in the fields of electronic music, new music and other courses of study at the MUK are also offered.
The Joe Zawinul Prize, dedicated to one of MUK's most famous alumni, is awarded annually and supports particularly creative, innovative or cross-border project ideas of MUK students in the form of a project scholarship.
By imparting practice-oriented knowledge in the music business (including profile building, grant acquisition, crowdfunding, marketing, social media platforms, etc.), music technology instruction (audio and video recordings, notation software, etc.), offers on the topic of musician‛s health, and regular professional studio productions, students are provided with the foundations for successful professional activity.
A wide range of individually combinable electives and master classes with renowned international guest lecturers complement the extraordinary curriculum of the study programme Jazz at the MUK.
Students also have the opportunity to perform on big stages — for example through a cooperation with the famous Jazz & Music Club Porgy & Bess, the MUK.jazz.afternoons and the annual MUK.jazz.festival held there, but also at events in major concert halls such as the traditional Musikverein in Vienna. In addition, there are the MUK.jazz.sessions at the Jazzcafé ZWE, regular concert evenings at the Bösendorfer Salon, innovative concert series at the Reaktor Wien and numerous other cooperations with institutions and organizers to gain performance experience and make contacts in a professional environment.
The study programme Jazz has two big bands: In the MUK.stageband under the direction of Johannes Herrlich, students gain extensive experience and repertoire knowledge in the most diverse styles of big band literature. The MUK.jazzorchestra under the direction of the head of the study programme Lars Seniuk, regularly performs major projects, carries out a joint project with a leading personality of the international jazz scene every year, produces CDs and goes on tour regularly.
The study programme Jazz at the MUK also offers a Bachelor’s degree in Instrumental and Voice Pedagogy (IGP), which combines the artistic education described above with a pedagogical one. Within the IGP programme, students acquire the teaching qualification and formal qualification in this field.