The first official attempt to found a “Turkish Music Conservatory” under the Ministry of Education was initiated by the Minister of Education, Ali Naili Erdem in 1975. Following this attempt, Prof. Dr. Emin Bilgiç, the secretary of Culture of Ministry, requested the preparation of “Turkish Music Conservatory Foundation Act” from Ercüment Berker consisting the following items:
The preparation of the curriculum for the Turkish Music State Conservatory so that it can start admissions in 1975
The determination of the educational sections
Recruiting the academic staff
The preparation of the first draft of “Turkish Music Conservatory Foundation Act” so the foundation could be legalized and the school function could be executed.
As a result of these preparations after this request, the conservatory was founded and it started its education in1976 under the chairmanship of Ercümend Berker. In 1978 the political administration of the country changed and the conservatory was transferred to Culture of Ministry. After this transfer, the Culture of Ministry initiated the closedown of the conservatory and fired the 22 academic staff and 3 board members without any reason. This decision was declared on TV and radio on 1979. Following this decision, all the board members and the chair Ercüment Berker resigned from their duties. Yet, the tides of the sea changed in a few years and the central government changed again in 1978 again and, Ercüment Berker was appointed one more time by the ministry of culture.
In 1982, the universities were taken under the umbrella of Counsel of Higher Education (YÖK) and the conservatory was connected to Istanbul Technical University by Ercüment Berker’s endeavor. Starting this year Prof. Lütfi Zeren, Prof. Fikret Değerli, Prof. Yalçın Tura, Prof. Dr. Can Etili Ökten, Prof. Dr. Lale Berköz and Prof. Dr. Cihat Aşkın worked as the president of the conservatory respectively. In 2012- 2013 Education year, Prof. Adnan Koç was appointed as the president in order to contribute to the conservatory’s successful history.
With three initial departments, the conservatory grew with newly founded ones over time and finally reached its current academic body. Today, it is composed of seven departments: Instrumental Performance, Voice, Turkish Folk Dances, Composition, Musicology, Music Technology and Music Theory. Having established the Masters in Turkish Art Music and Turkish Folk Music in 1986 as well as Graduate Studies in the Arts programs in 1988, the conservatory fostered the education of many academic personnel who are currently working at many universities in Turkey.
Between the years 2001 – 2004, a very crucial process of full integration to ITU system was completed and the academic standards of the conservatory program including the curriculums, credits, diplomas and automation were standardized. Due to some of the requirements of this transition and the demands from the music industry, the Music Theory and Music Technology departments were established. In addition, Instrument Construction Department was taken under the Music Technology department. During this period, İTÜ – TMDK (Turkish Music State Conservatory) Scientific and Artistic Events Board (BISED) was founded and started working actively. A full English curriculum in accordance with ITU standards was prepared during the same time, yet it was abandoned due to lack of sufficient academic personnel and the demand from the student body.
Following this period, the new boards continued the development, restructuring and integration processes. With the Bologna integration process, the department structures were renewed. Under İTÜ Social Sciences Institute, Masters in Musicology, and Masters in Music Theory and Composition programs were founded. The Doctorate program in Musicology and Music Theory was also established, and became the first program in this domain in Turkey. During these years thanks to Prof. Şehvar Beşiroğlu, Ercüment Berker Music Library was founded as an important facility in our conservatory.
Starting 2012-13 academic year, Prof. Adnan Koç was appointed as the president of the conservatory with Prof. Serpil Mürtezaoğlu and Prof. Cihangir Terzi as vice presidents. The first act of this administration was to complete the graduate program designs for all the departments. By 2013 Voice, Instrumental Performance and Traditional Dances graduate programs started to train future academics. In addition, İTÜ TMDK music middle school and with İTÜ TMDK Music and Performance arts high school were founded. With this development İTÜ Turkish Music State Conservatory became the first and only institution, which offers music education from chidren education to graduate studies in Turkey. In 2018 – 19 academic year Prof. Serpil Mürtezaoğlu was appointed as the president of the conservatory with Assoc. Prof. Dr. Tolgahan Çoğulu and Assist Prof. Dr. Şirin Karadeniz as the vice presidents.