DNA of Music

The Danish National Academy of Music is a higher educational institution under the Ministry of Culture Denmark offering music and music educational study programmes at the highest level. Furthermore, SDMK is tasked with developing and promoting its artistic area and the associated cultural life, among other things through artistic and pedagogical innovation.

From its bases in Odense and Esbjerg, respectively, the Danish National Academy of Music constitutes a main cultural actor in southern Denmark – both as a place of study and as a cultural institution, but also very much as an active contributor to the region’s musical growth segment and professional music scene. Finally, SDMK, due to the approx. 200 concerts it organises each year, is one of the leading providers of musical events for citizens in the region. In addition to their studies, the academy’s approx. 260 students play a significant and active role in the region’s cultural life – both as performing musicians, organisers and instructors.

Campus Esbjerg

In Esbjerg the academy has 110 students in a series of programmes, including rhythmic and classical music, electronic music and sound art, folk music and film scoring.

The institution is housed in the city’s old power station in Kirkegade. The unique building on the corner of H.C. Ørstedsgade and Kirkegade built in the New Classicist style is not only the city’s oldest and most well-preserved, it is also a great example of a fine, historic building clearly inspired by Antiquity and the interesting mix of Jugend and Classicist styles found in Viennese architechture. In other words, it is an architectural gem from a time when spending resources and money on industrial buildings was considered good form.

Concert Hall

The house’s concert hall with 198 seats is considered among the best in Europe for chamber music due to its outstanding acoustics. Aside from concerts, the facilities are used for conferences, meetings etc. by the academy staff as well as by other cultural institutions and collaborators. The hall is also remarkable for its impressive 44-voice concert organ. The organ, which is a delight not only to the ear, but also to the eye, was custom-built for the hall and its variety of art and quirky décor.

Café Ørsted

Café Ørsted is used by students, teachers and other staff as a canteen, but also – which is quite unique compared to other Danish educational institutions – by the local citizens, tourists and others.

The café, which is named after the Danish physicist H.C. Ørsted, is also a likely and well-suited forum for many of the academy’s musicians. They regularly entertain the guests in the café with small- or large-scale concerts – e.g. the Thursday Cafés, where students of rhythmic music offer the guests a musical taste of their capabilities. 

Inspection report

H.C. Ørsted House

The Danish National Academy of Music in Esbjerg offers its students a unique opportunity – namely to live right next to the academy. The H.C. Ørsted House aims – in addition to providing students of music with good living conditions – to help make Esbjerg town centre come to life as a natural gathering point for students from the various educational institutions in town.

The house consists of 20 two-room flats (54.6 m2 with a private kitchen and bath) and four one-room flats (39.5 m2 with a private kitchenette and bath). In addition to this, there are three small rooms for practising – one on each floor – plus an office and IT room on the ground floor. Finally, there are four small storage rooms in the basement and a shared laundry room.

Arbejdernes Boligforening (AB) manages the H.C. Ørsted House, and we therefore ask you to direct all questions concerning flats, waiting lists etc. to:

Arbejdernes Boligforening
Kirkegade 55
6700 Esbjerg
Phone: +45 75 12 85 44    
Fax: +45 75 12 57 12
Email: post@abesbjerg.dk

You can claim housing benefit for both types of flats (depending on your income). Please contact Esbjerg Municipality for more information.

Campus Odense

The Danish National Academy of Music in Odense has approx. 150 students in classical or rhythmic music. The academy is housed in the culture and conference venue Odeon in the centre of Odense and cooperates with a number of the city’s main cultural institutions, including Odense Symphony Orchestra, the venue Dexter, Odense Music Library, TipToe BigBand and Student House Odense.


The Funen Music Academy was established in 1929 by the violinist Martin Andersen (1886-1987), who also ran the school up until 1963. But it was not in the cards that Martin Andersen would become head of the city’s music academy. On the contrary.

Martin Andersen was born in a smallholding in Aunslev Mark by Bovense close to Nyborg. As a young man he passed his life as a herdsman, agricultural worker and unskilled labourer, but eventually turned to music. His maternal grandmother gave him a violin when he was 10 years old, and that paved the way for his musical career. Martin Andersen brought the violin with him into the field, where he found his first audience.

Martin Andersen’s parents moved around quite a lot, and for a period of time they lived in Odense, where the young violinist met Conductor Gade, who conducted the music at parties in Fruens Bøge and Næsbyhoved Skov. Gade was the first to give Martin Andersen music lessons. The family eventually left Odense, and Martin found new teachers.

After his confirmation, Martin Andersen went into service, but he was attracted to the city and found an apprenticeship with Thomas B. Thrige, while continuing his studies at some of the city’s music teachers. And with the help of good friends, he travelled to Copenhagen to receive instruction from some of the best musicians in the country. And that was when his music career really picked up speed.

Gradually, the musician Martin Andersen became a household name, but he also dreamt of giving Funen and Odense a music academy. His idea met some resistance, but Martin Andersen did not give up.

The Funen Music Academy was established as a privately owned institution in rented rooms in 5 Albanigade, and initially it had 11 students and six teachers. 15 years later, in 1944, the academy was converted into a self-governing institution.

In 1954 the facilities in Albanigade became too cramped, and the academy moved to a luxury villa in 19 Kronprinsensgade. It also rented rooms in the cathedral school, the School of Engineering (Odense Teknikum) and soon also at the newly established music library.

In 1963 the music academy became a public educational institution, and in 1972 the state took over. At the time, the school had 77 students and 53 teachers. The state acquisition was a bit of a victory for the Funen Music Academy and its strong-willed founder, Martin Andersen, who had long struggled to convert the school into a regional academy.

In 1976 the music academy moved to a former shirt factory in 2 Islandsgade, and the buildings have subsequently been enlarged.

Cathedral Organist Poul Børch succeeded Martin Andersen in 1963 as rector of the academy and was later succeeded by Sven Erik Werner and Bertel Krarup, among others. Today, after merging with the academy in Esbjerg, the Odense academy is part of the Danish National Academy of Music (SDMK).

(Text borrowed from Jørgen Thomsen and Johnny Wøllekær with permission from Historiens Hus Odense).

Concert Hall

The academy’s concert hall in Odeon is well-suited for both lectures and concerts. The hall is big enough for small symphony/chamber orchestras and can seat 198 guests. The hall can be accessed both from the ground floor, suitable for wheelchair users, and from the upper foyer on the first floor. The hall and upper foyer are available for hire when SDMK does not use them.