The Academy was set up in a historical building, a national monument of BiH which had previously housed the Institute of St. Augustine and is only about 150 meters from Sarajevo Cathedral. In those days, the street was known as Svetozara Markovića St. and it now bears the name of the first Archbishop of Vrhbosna, Josip Štadler.
This magnificent building was built in 1882, in the Neo-Gothic style, and was designed by the famous architect, Josip Vancaš, at a time when the development of an Austro-Hungarian Sarajevo was in full swing.
After construction was completed, the religious congregation, Daughters of Divine Love, took up residence here, at the behest of Archbishop Štadler. Their mission was to teach music and general culture to girls of all faiths, so one could hear music in this part of Sarajevo long before the actual Academy was even founded.
After WWII, the Daughters were moved out of the building by the “people’s government”, and the building was re-adapted to serve as a Primary Music School, High School of Music, Music Academy and Institute of Musicology, all of which are still housed here to this day.
The famous ethnomusicologist and academic, Cvjetko Rihtman, was elected as the first rector of the Academy (1955-1960). We certainly owe him a debt of gratitude for the work he did on collecting, researching and modernizing the transcription of folk songs from BiH and Yugoslavia.
The opening of the Music Academy in Sarajevo was a great stimulus for creative work in BiH. Young and talented people were able to acquire knowledge and diplomas in their own city, and the Academy soon became a second home for musicians from all over Yugoslavia, many of whom would later become quite famous.
To date, over 3,500 students have graduated from the Academy, more than 5,000 concerts have been organized and partnerships have been established with many prestigious educational institutions from around the world, such as the Royal Academy of Music in Stockholm and the Karlsruhe Music Academy.
The Sarajevo Music Academy can also be proud of organizing the acclaimed Sarajevo Chamber Music Festival, in cooperation with the famous Manhattan String Quartet.
Today this prestigious institution offers programs in music pedagogy, as well as artistic and scientiifc subjects. The Academy has more than 80 professors teaching within its eight departments and provides instruction for over 300 students.