The Lithuanian Academy of Music and Theatre is Lithuania’s main higher education institution that trains professionals of the performing arts. The Academy was founded in 1933 and its history is inseparable from the origins of professional music education of the times of the independent Lithuania (the independence was declared in 1918). These include the first official music school in Kaunas established by composer Juozas Naujalis in 1919 and a music school in Klaipeda founded by composer Juozas Šimkus in 1923. Later, annexed by Poland, Vilnius hosted the Mieczysław Karlowicz Conservatory of Music which operated until 1940 and the Jewish Music Institute.
In the 1930s and 1940s, as the number of professional musicians in Lithuania who had obtained education in cultural hubs of Europe was growing, Lithuania gradually developed a need for a higher education institution in music and such a school was founded on 7 February 1933 by reorganising the Kaunas Music School, then managed by composer Juozas Gruodis, into Conservatory. In 1940, after Lithuania regained Vilnius, its music schools and private music courses were all merged to serve as a basis for establishing the Vilnius Music School which five years later, in 1945, was reorganised into Vilnius Conservatory directed by composer and musicologist Jonas Bendorius. So, for several years, Lithuania had two higher music education institutions – in Kaunas and Vilnius – that in 1949 were merged into the Lithuanian State Conservatory. In addition to the music education, from 1952, the Conservatory launched studies for theatre professionals, and from 1970 – for TV filmmakers (the Film and TV Department was founded in 1993). The first Rector of the Lithuanian State Conservatory was pianist Prof. Jurgis Karnavičius; from 1983, the school was led by composer Prof. Vytautas Laurušas, and from 1994 to 2005 – by musicologist Prof. Dr. Juozas Antanavičius.
In 1975, Klaipeda Music Faculties – a subsidiary of Šiauliai Pedagogical University offering studies to music teachers, choreographers and amateur theatre directors – joined the State Conservatory. In 1989, the Kaunas Faculty of the Conservatory was established to train music performers and music teachers; in 1997, however, the Klaipeda Faculty joined Klaipeda University while the Kaunas Faculty merged with Vytautas Magnus University in 2011.
In 1992, the Lithuanian State Conservatory was renamed the Lithuanian Music Academy (LMA) and in 2004 – the Lithuanian Academy of Music and Theatre (LMTA). In 2005, accordionist Prof. Eduardas Gabnys became the rector, and since 2011, LMTA has been led by pianist Prof. Zbignevas Ibelgauptas.
The year 2011 saw reorganisation of the Academy that resulted in two Vilnius-based faculties – the Faculty of Music and the Faculty of Theatre and Film established back in 1991. The latter provides studies for theatre, film and dance (the Department of Dance and Movement was founded in 1998) professionals. In addition to these, LMTA trains specialists of cultural management.
In 2018, as a result of the integration of the Academy of Arts of Klaipeda University (KU), the Academy regained the Klaipeda Faculty. Presently, LMTA has three faculties: the Faculty of Music, the Faculty of Theatre and Film, and the Klaipeda Faculty. LMTA intends to erect a new and modern LMTA campus in Vilnius. The construction of the Faculty of Theatre and Film and the Small Block of Halls are planned to be completed in 2023 (the project also includes the Faculty of Music, the Grand Block of Halls, buildings for theory classes and administration, the Library, and the Student Dormitory). The project is partially financed by the European Regional Development Fund. We expect this common area shared by music, theatre, film and dance students to yield amazing artistic and research projects and trends.
In 2021, musicologist Assoc. Prof. Dr. Judita Žukienė became the rector of the LMTA.
1933. Founding. Kaunas
Vilnius Conservatory, Lithuanian State Conservatory
Theatre and Music
First M. K. Čiurlionis Competition
Klaipėda Music Faculties
Postgraduate Studies, Kaunas Faculty
Lithuanian Music Academy; Film and Television
Lithuanian Academy of Music and Theatre
In 2011, reorganisation of the LMTA took place, after which two Faculties were formed: Faculty of Music and Faculty of Theatre and Film.
In 2011, pianist Prof. Zbignevas Ibelgauptas became the rector.
In 2014, Music Innovation Studies Center (MISC) was opened; in 2016, the name of famous Lithuanian composer Julius Juzeliūnas (1916-2001) was given to the MISC.
In 2017, the 5th International Jascha Heifetz Competition for Violinist and the 1st International Virgilijus Noreika Competition for Singers took place.
In 2018, as a result of the integration of the Academy of Arts of Klaipėda University (KU), the Academy regained the Klaipėda Faculty. Presently, LMTA has three faculties: the Faculty of Music, the Faculty of Theatre and Film, and the Klaipeda Faculty.
LMTA intends to erect a new and modern LMTA campus in Vilnius. The construction of the Faculty of Theatre and Film and the Small Block of Halls are planned to be completed in 2023 (the project also includes the Faculty of Music, the Grand Block of Halls, buildings for theory classes and administration, the Library, and the Student Dormitory). The project is partially financed by the European Regional Development Fund.
Since 2021, LMTA has been led by musicologist Assoc. Prof. Dr. Judita Žukienė.