An academy, a music school, a jazz club, a meeting place, and a building complex unique in Europe: the Jazzcampus of the Musik-Akademie Basel and the University of Applied Sciences and Arts Northwestern Switzerland FHNW is all this and much more. It is a place for jazz, for musicians, for culture lovers in Basel, for the region and for jazz enthusiasts from Switzerland and from all over the world. A magnet for a relatively young music genre that is alive here and that is supported and propagated in and for Basel and beyond.
The grand opening of the Jazzcampus in September 2014 represents a further milestone in the nearly 150 years of existence of the Musik-Akademie Basel. The Jazzcampus is also one of four recently completed campuses belonging to the University of Applied Sciences and Arts Northwestern Switzerland FHNW, in the cantons of Aargau, Basel-Landschaft, Basel-Stadt and Solothurn.
The roots of the youngest member of the Musik-Akademie Basel go back to 1986. At the Sommercasino (musical meeting place for young people), Bernhard Ley, the current Head of the Jazz Department, founded the Jazzcasino consisting of two classrooms and an office in the basement as well as a handful of (jazz) musicians, supported by the Basel Freizeitaktion, an organization dedicated to youth work.
In 1991, the Jazzschool Basel was recognized by the cantonal school agreement (Kantonales Schulabkommen) and the Swiss Society of Musical Pedagogy SMPV. This was followed by the move to Reinacherstrasse in 1996, financially supported by the Merian Foundation amongst others.
Subsidized by the canton, the vocational school was renamed Jazz Department and was included in the School of Music of the Musik-Akademie.
In 2007, the Jazz school was integrated in the Music School of the Musik-Akademie. And finally, in summer 2014, the Jazzcampus opened its doors.
Today the Jazzcampus counts more than 200 pupils and over 60 students, being taught by internationally renowned teachers and lecturers and learning all about the subtleties and nuances of jazz.
The building was financed by the Habitat Foundation, the fitting out for the Jazz School by the Levedo Foundation. The architects Buol & Zünd have united the historical substance of the building with modern architecture, and they have scrupulously integrated the Jazzcampus in the context of its surroundings. The Musik-Akademie Basel and the University of Applied Sciences and Arts Northwestern Switzerland FHNW are contractually committed to the maintenance of the building. With this Jazzcampus, the city and region of Basel are being given a new beacon of music and education: a meeting place for music enthusiasts in the midst of the old city.