Improvisation is probably the most widely practiced and surely the most ancient type of music making around the world. If music has the magical powers to break barriers between peoples, then improvisation can spark that magic. Participating in a musical improvisation, whether as listeners or improvisers, enhances the meaning of ‘live’ performance in the true sense of the word: the music is being created in real time. Process and result are merged. We experience both at once.
Master's Degree in Piano Improvisation
Professor Noam Sivan and the University of Music and Performing Arts Stuttgart, Germany (HMDK Stuttgart), invite you to apply for a Master's degree in Piano Improvisation.
This is one of the first such programs worldwide offered for classically trained pianists!
The two-year Master’s program enables pianists to improvise in a wide range of solo styles – baroque, classical, romantic, impressionistic, and various 20th- and 21st-century styles, as well as to develop their own personal voice. Additionally, they will participate in chamber improvisations and interdisciplinary collaborations with performing artists in other fields, which can include drama, dance, voice, puppet theater, and more.
Learning to improvise in different solo styles brings those musical languages to life in a most vivid way. The improvising pianist develops creativity, imagination, knowledge of diverse styles, compositional skills, stronger pianistic control, confidence, stage presence, memory, and a higher level of artistic personality. Later on these improvisations can be performed in piano recitals alongside established compositions, thus presenting a refreshing version of the piano recital in the 21st century, with links to previous centuries – when improvisation was presented regularly in public performances – combined with an innovative approach.
Learning to improvise in chamber and interdisciplinary settings develops musical listening, collaborative skills, organizational and entrepreneurial skills, compositional planning skills, a creative mindset for initiating a project and bringing it to fulfillment, and an understanding of the relationship between music and other performing arts.
Application due dates:
April 1st for Winter Semester
November 1st for Summer Semester
Entrance exam requirements in English
Entrance exam requirements in German
Program page on HMDK website in English
Program page on HMDK website in German
Application information on HMDK website
Application questions and answers in English
In recent decades there has been a steady rise in the number of improvisation programs in universities and music conservatories. In addition to well-established fields of jazz improvisation and organ improvisation, new improvisation programs have emerged that deal with baroque or contemporary styles, as well as multi-stylistic programs addressed to classically trained musicians, including collaborations with other performing artists. Examples include the Schola Cantorum Basiliensis – Baroque Improvisation, Guildhall School of Music and Drama in London – Centre for Creative Performance and Classical Improvisation, New England Conservatory in Boston – Contemporary Improvisation, University of Michigan – Jazz and Contemporary Improvisation, University of Applied Sciences and Arts Northwestern Switzerland – Free improvisation, Estonian Academy of Music and Theatre in Tallinn – Contemporary Music and Improvisation, Conservatoire National Supérieur de Musique et de Danse de Paris – Keyboard Improvisation, Hochschule für Musik Carl Maria von Weber Dresden – Keyboard Improvisation, Hochschule für Musik und Theater "Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy" Leipzig – Improvisation, and the European initiative Metric-Improv that invites collaboration between improvisers and improvisation teachers from different countries and institutions.
In this context, the new Master’s in Piano Improvisation at HMDK Stuttgart is addressed specifically to classically trained pianists, and aims to advance both historical and contemporary styles. Graduates of the program will emerge with valuable practical experience, and a clear vision for the role of improvisation in their music making and in our society. They will truly be ambassadors of improvisation in the world.
Improvisation in Music and Life
This is the first of six video lessons in the series Introduction to Improvisation, taught by Noam Sivan