Zurich University of the Arts

  (Redirected from Zürcher Hochschule der Künste)

Zurich University of the Arts (ZHdK, German: Zürcher Hochschule der Künste) has approximately 2,500 students,[3] which makes it the largest arts university in Switzerland.[4] The university was established in 2007, following the merger between Zurich's School of Art and Design (HGKZ) and the School of Music, Drama, and Dance (HMT). ZHdK is one of four universities affiliated to Zürcher Fachhochschule.

Zurich University of the Arts - ZHdK
Zürcher Hochschule der Künste ZHdK Part of Zürcher Fachhochschule
ZHdK Logo.svg
TypePublic University
Established1878, 2007
PresidentThomas D. Meier
Administrative staff
1310 [1]
Location, ,

ZHdK offers Bachelor's and master's degree courses and further education programmes in art, design, music, art education, theatre, film, dance, transdisciplinary studies as well as PhD programmes in collaboration with different international Art Uniuversities and with ETH Zurich. ZHdK holds an active role in research, especially in artistic research and design research.[5]

Affiliated to ZHdK are the Museum of Design, Zurich, the Theater der Künste (Theatre of the Arts), the Mehrspur Music Club, and the Media and Information Centre (MIZ).


Established on 1 August 2007, Zurich University of the Arts (ZHdK) resulted from the merger between the Hochschule für Gestaltung und Kunst Zürich (HGKZ), which had arisen from the Kunstgewerbeschule Zürich (founded in 1878), and the School of Drama, music, and Dance (HMT).[6] The founding president of the new arts university was Professor Hans-Peter Schwarz. Since November 2009, Professor Thomas D. Meier has been president of ZHdK.

The Hochschule für Gestaltung und Kunst Zürich (HGKZ) arose from the Kunstgewerbeschule Zürich (founded in 1878). It was located in a building constructed by architects Adolf Steger and Karl Egender, which today also houses the Museum of Design, Zurich.

The School of Music, Drama, and Dance (HMT) was the result of a merger in 1999 between Winterthur and Zurich conservatories of music, Zurich's Jazz School, Zurich's Theatre and Acting Academy, and the Swiss Professional Ballet School. ZHdK's programme in Theatre Studies (affiliated to the Department of Performing Arts and Film) was originally established in 1937, in the context of the Schauspielhaus Zürich (the city's principal theatre), and known as the Bühnenstudio Zürich. It was renamed Schauspiel-Akademie Zürich in the early 1970s.

Following the 2007 school merger, ZHdK occupies 35 sites, spread across the cities of Zurich (Ausstellungsstrasse, Florhof, Mediacampus, Gessnerallee) and Winterthur. In the autumn of 2014, ZHdK will be relocating to its new campus: the Toni Areal (under construction) in the city's thriving western district (Zurich West). With the exception of its Gessnerallee annex, ZHdK will be leaving all other sites to unite the arts under one roof. The Museum of Design, Zurich and the Bellerive Museum will remain at their current locations.

Teaching and researchEdit

ZHdK offers taught Bachelor's and master's degree courses, which have replaced the former diploma courses in the wake of the Bologna Process. Places on all degree courses are limited. The university also offers a foundation course in art and design and various further educating courses, leading either to a Certificate of Advanced Studies (CAS) or a Master of Advanced Studies (MAS).

With research becoming more firmly established at universities of applied sciences, ZHdK has significantly intensified its research activities. Its seven research institutes and two centres of excellence focus on artistic research in particular. Research is also undertaken in the fields of design, art history, art education, and musicology. And, ZhdK is also running several joint PhD programmes in cooperation with national and international universities.


ZHdK has five departments:

The Department of Music is the largest department at ZHdK. It provides instrumental and voice training in Classical, Jazz, and Popular Music, as well as programmes in conducting and composition. The department also includes the Institute for Computer Music and Sound Technology (ICST) and undertakes specialised research in music interpretation. The department has its own record label, ZHdK Records, through which first-class in-house productions are released. CDs are distributed by Phonag Records.

The Department of Performing Arts and Film offers taught degrees and professional training in theatre (acting, directing, dramaturgy, scenography, theatre education), film, and dance. The department also includes the Institute for Performing Arts and Film (IPF).

The Department of Art & Media offers various taught degrees in fine arts, with focuses on painting/drawing, photography, installation/sculpture, video/moving images, sound, performance, language,digitality, and practices of aesthetic theory in its BFA programme and focuses in Fine Arts, Language, Curating and Aesthetic Theory in its MFA programme The department includes the Institute for Contemporary Art Research (IFCAR) and the Public City Centre of Excellence as well as a PhD programme (in collaboration with Kunstuniversität Linz/Austria).

The Department of Cultural Analysis provides training for future drawing teachers, cultural journalists, exhibition-makers, and adult education specialists. The department also offers a Master of Arts in Transdisciplinary Studies and has several affiliated research institutes —Institute for Theory (ith), Institute for Art Education (IAE), and Institute for Cultural Studies in the Arts (ICS). Among others, research focuses on transdisciplinarity.

The Department of Design offers degree programs in Cast/Audiovisual Media, Game Design, Industrial Design, Interaction Design, Trends & Identity, Knowledge Visualization and Visual Communication. The department also includes the Institute for Design Research.[7]

Notable alumniEdit

ZHdK and its various precursor institutions (School of Applied Art/HGKZ; Music Conservatory; Theatre Academy) have brought forth a considerable number of acclaimed artists, designers, musicians, and actors:

Theatre and filmEdit


Fine artsEdit

Design and typographyEdit


Notable facultyEdit

Many former graduates have returned to teach at ZHdK. Teaching faculty has included and includes a number of well-known people:

  • Sophie Taeuber-Arp, head of the textile class, 1916–1929
  • Johannes Itten, director, 1938–1943
  • Volkmar Andreae, head of the Tonhalle Orchestra (1906–1949) and the Conservatory of Music (1914–1939)
  • Serge Stauffer co-directed the F+F class for experimental art from 1965 to 1970
  • Florian Dombois has been head of the research focus in transdisciplinary studies since autumn 2011
  • Irwin Gage ran a class for Lied interpretation
  • Ria Ginster, soprano, from 1938 until she had to emigrate
  • Isabel Mundry, Professor of Composition
  • Zakhar Bron has been teaching violin and chamber music
  • Rudolf Koelman, violin and chamber music Professor since 1987(HMT-ZHdK) former concertmaster of the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra (1996-1999)
  • Raphael Wallfisch has been teaching cello and chamber music
  • Konstantin Scherbakov is Professor of Piano
  • Giaco Schiesser, Professor for media and culture theories, founded the New Media / Media Arts programme (1997) and was Head of the Departement of Art & Media (2002-2017)

Further readingEdit

  • Dominique Spirgi, Christine Wyss (2005). "Theaterhochschule Zürich, Zürich ZH". In Andreas Kotte (ed.). Theaterlexikon der Schweiz (TLS) / Dictionnaire du théâtre en Suisse (DTS) / Dizionario Teatrale Svizzero / Lexicon da teater svizzer [Theater Dictionary of Switzerland] (in German). 3. Zürich: Chronos. pp. 1871–1873. ISBN 978-3-0340-0715-3. LCCN 2007423414. OCLC 62309181.


  1. ^ "Jahresbericht Zürcher Hochschule der Künste – 2011". epaper.zhdk.ch.
  2. ^ "Jahresbericht Zürcher Hochschule der Künste – 2011". epaper.zhdk.ch.
  3. ^ "Zurich University of the Arts (ZHdK)". cumulusassociation.org. Archived from the original on 2014-12-09. Retrieved 2014-04-04.
  4. ^ "Departement Design & Art Education Zurich University of the Arts". cumulusassociation.org. Archived from the original on 2014-12-09. Retrieved 2014-04-04.
  5. ^ "Zürcher Hochschule der Künste". eenc.info.
  6. ^ "Zurich University of the Arts Universities Handbook". universitieshandbook.com. Archived from the original on May 1, 2013.
  7. ^ "Zurich University of the Arts". sharenetwork.eu.

External linksEdit

Coordinates: 47°22′58″N 8°32′08″E / 47.38278°N 8.53556°E / 47.38278; 8.53556