Collegium Musicum

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The Collegium Musicum was one of several types of musical societies that arose in German and German-Swiss cities and towns during the Reformation and thrived into the mid-18th century.


Generally, while societies such as the Kantorei  [ de ] (chorale) cultivated vocal music for church performance and the convivium musicum discussed musical philosophy over a banquet, the collegia musica performed both vocal and instrumental music for pleasure; they focused on instrumental music as it rose in stature during the Baroque era. Though closed amateur societies in concept, collegia frequently included professionals to fill out the music and admitted non-members to performances. Moreover, they often provided music for church, state, and academic occasions and gained the patronage of leading citizens. From the 1660s, their functions largely constituted the beginnings of public concert life in Germany.


Leipzig collegia musica, consisting mostly of university students, enjoyed a succession of particularly illustrious directors, including Johann Kuhnau (1688), refounded by Telemann (1702), [1] and Bach (1729–1737), who composed several concertos and dramme per musica for weekly performances at Café Zimmermann, Gottfried Zimmerman's coffeehouse, and for "extraordinary" concerts. Telemann went on to promote professional concerts by Frankfurt and Hamburg collegia in the late 1720s, thus fostering the emergence of public subscription concerts in Germany. With the Moravian emigration, American collegia sprang up beginning in 1744 in Pennsylvania, Maryland, Ohio, and the Carolinas.

In 1909, Hugo Riemann refounded the Leipzig collegium within the University, initiating a widespread modern trend in German and American universities to foster the performance of early music on original instruments or replicas. The term collegium musicum has thus come to be associated in large measure with university ensembles that perform early music, though from a historical perspective, the term need not imply any restriction in repertory.

Other cities

Although the Collegium Musicum (Leipzig)  [ de ] became the most famous, due to its association with Bach, other cities had similar institutions. The Collegium Musicum (Hamburg) was an amateur musical ensemble founded in Hamburg in the 17th century by Matthias Weckmann, as a complement to the professional Hamburger Ratsmusik.

Modern ensembles

Various modern ensembles have taken the name, including:

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  1. Bruce Haynes - The eloquent oboe: a history of the hautboy 1640-1760 Page 364 2001 "Telemann became director in 1702, and members of the Collegium Musicum he founded in that year supplied many of the musicians. The Collegium Musicum was one of a number of concert series in Leipzig, a city with a large music-loving "
  2. "Collegium Musicum". Retrieved 14 October 2019.
  3. "Collegium Musicum | School of Creative and Performing Arts | University of Calgary". Retrieved 14 October 2019.
  4. "Collegium Musicum | UConn Music | School of Fine Arts". 14 August 2013. Retrieved 14 October 2019.
  5. "COLLEGIUM MUSICUM - chór kameralny Uniwersytetu Warszawskiego". Retrieved 14 October 2019.