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The Tallinn Higher Music School opened on September 28, 1919. In 1923 the educational institution was renamed Tallinn Conservatoire. The first class of young music artists graduated in 1925. Originally, a private institution, the Conservatoire became nationalized in 1935.

Beginning in 1940, the musical education system was brought into line with the prevailing views of the Soviet Union: church music as a specialization was eliminated and the teaching of political subjects commenced. War considerably hampered instruction. During the March 9, 1944 air raid, the building of the Conservatoire, as well as most of its equipment, was almost completely destroyed. In November 1944, the Conservatoire was reopened.

The Conservatoire’s creative environment began to see revival in the mid-1950s. A few former instructors returned to the institution and a Drama Department was created. During the 1970s the organ class, which had been terminated in 1950, was reopened. The number of students attending the Conservatoire considerably increased. In 1989 its former name — the “Tallinn Conservatoire” — was restored. However, just four years later, the school was renamed the “Estonian Academy of Music” (Eesti Muusikaakadeemia).

In 1999 the Estonian Academy of Music was granted what it had been awaiting 55 years — its own building in the centre of Tallinn. Now it is one of the best and most modern conservatoire buildings in the world.

The most prominent graduates of the Academy include Arvo Pärt, Eri Klas.