St. Thomas School, Leipzig
|St. Thomas School of Leipzig|
Thomasschule zu Leipzig
Schola Thomana Lipsiensis
|Type||Public Boarding School|
|Religious affiliation(s)||Lutheran. (From 1212 to 1539 Roman Catholic; Lutheran since the Evangelical Reformation)|
|Patron saint(s)||Thomas the Apostle|
|Superintendent||Burgomaster Prof. Dr. phil. Thomas Fabian (University of Applied Sciences), Alderman for Youth, Social, Health and School|
|Principal||Kathleen C. Kormann|
|Grades||5 to 12|
|Gender||Coed, Boys' choir|
|Age||10 to 18|
|Number of students||485|
Green and white
|Chair||Prof. Dr. theol. Christoph M. Haufe|
|Cantor||Prof. Georg Christoph Biller|
St. Thomas School, Leipzig (German: Thomasschule zu Leipzig; Latin: Schola Thomana Lipsiensis) is a co-educational and public boarding school in Leipzig, Saxony, Germany. It was founded by the Augustinians in 1212 and is one of the oldest schools in the world.
St. Thomas is known for its art, language and music education. Johann Sebastian Bach held the position of Thomaskantor from 1723 until his death in 1750. His responsibilities included providing young musicians for church services in Leipzig. The Humanistic Gymnasium has a very long list of distinguished former students, including Richard Wagner (1813–1883) and many members of the Bach family, including Johann Sebastian Bach's son Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach (1714–1788).
From the 800-Year Anniversary Celebration in 2012 the Thomanerchor and St. Thomas School has been part of Forum Thomanum, an internationally oriented educational center.
St. Thomas School was founded in 1212 by Margrave Dietrich von Meißen (1162–1221) making it among the oldest schools in Europe. It was run as schola pauperum, meaning a free school intended to benefit the poor, by the Canons Regular of St. Augustine. The St. Thomas Church was founded with the school. The St. Thomas School is first mentioned in documents dating to 1254.
In 1539 the city of Leipzig took over ownership of the school. All members (Thomaner) of the boys choir (Thomanerchor) attend the school along with other pupils. The Thomaner live in the school's own boarding school, Thomasalumnat.
The school's first building was in the present courtyard of the St. Thomas Church. In 1553 an outbuilding was built there. During Johann Sebastian Bach's time as Thomaskantor these buildings were extended; in 1829 they were reconstructed. In 1877 a new building was erected in the Schreberstraße to meet a shortage of space. In 1881 a new building for the boarding school was finished.
During the Nazi era the school continued its normal curricula. The school endured the bombings of the night of 3 December 1943 with only the gym and the buildings across from the boarding school being destroyed. The then-rector, Günther Ramin, decided to move the choir boys to the Königlich Sächsische Fürsten- und Landesschule Sankt Augustin school in Grimma. Because of this, and because most of the older students were enlisted, the University of Leipzig was allowed to use the school's building for its own purposes. The rector's decision to move the choir boys was proved right during the bombings of 20 February 1944 when the school's buildings were destroyed. After that, the remaining pupils attended 41. Volksschule on the Hillerstraße. At some stage, the choir boys rejoined these pupils at Hillerstraße.
In 1973 the school moved into a new building in the Pestalozzistraße (now Telemannstraße), but the boarding school remained in the Hillerstraße. The new communist regime in East Germany tried to make an exemplar atheist school out of St. Thomas school, but the church's influence was immense.
After the German reunification in 1990 the pupil's numbers increased. Since 2008 the school offers its students mathematics, natural sciences, music, and linguistic courses.
In September 2000 the school moved into the restored original building on the Hillerstraße. In 2008, there were 485 pupils and 67 teachers. Prior to 1973, all the Thomaskantors were also teachers at the school and the president of the choir was also the school's rector. Since 1973 those roles have been separated.
Cultivating classical languages is an old tradition at St. Thomas School. All students study Latin as their first or second foreign language, including the Qualification in Latin (Latinum). Combined with the modern language English the pupils learn fundamental foreign language skills. Although there are offered advanced courses (Leistungskurse) in those subjects. Interested students are welcome to take the First Certificate in English (FCE). The tradition of the school and its roots in European culture are the motive for providing Ancient Greek classes from 8th grade as well as a Qualification in Greek (Graecum). Also St. Thomas offers Romance languages, like French and Italian.
Student exchange programs and stays in Europe and in Anglo-America are possible.
Notable former teachers
- Johann Sebastian Bach - monumental German Baroque composer and organist
- Karl Ferdinand Braun - German inventor, physicist and Nobel Prize laureate
- Sethus Calvisius - German music theorist, composer, chronologer, astronomer and teacher of the late Renaissance
- Otto Crusius - German classical scholar
- Johann August Ernesti - German theologian and philologist
- Georg Fabricius - German poet, historian and archaeologist
- Johann Matthias Gesner - German classical scholar and schoolmaster, an ardent enthusiast of Johann Sebastian Bach
- Moritz Hauptmann - German composer and writer, 6th Cantor (church) of the Thomanerchor after Bach
- Sebastian Knüpfer - German Baroque composer, 3rd Thomaskantor before Bach
- Johann Kuhnau - German Baroque composer, organist and harpsichordist, immediate predecessor as Thomaskantor before Bach
- August Leskien - German linguist
- Johann Adam Hiller - German Classical and Romantic composer, conductor and writer on music, 3rd Thomaskantor after Bach, first Kapellmeister of the Gewandhaus Orchestra Leipzig
- Rudolf Hildebrand - Germanist
- Johann Rosenmüller - German Baroque composer
- Günther Ramin - influential German organist, conductor, composer, pedagogue, and 12th Thomaskantor after Bach
- Georg Rhau - German publisher and composer, first Thomaskantor after church became Protestant, led the Thomanerchor in the opening Mass of the Leipzig Debate, published last known Lutheran Hymnbook during Martin Luther's lifetime
- Ernst Richter - German musical theorist, 8th Thomaskantor after Bach and the immediate predecessor to the post of Wilhelm Rust
- Wilhelm Rust - German musicologist, conductor, and composer, 9th Thomaskantor after Bach
- Johann Hermann Schein - German composer and hymnist of the early Baroque era
- Johann Gottfried Schicht - German composer and conductor, 5th Thomaskantor after Bach
- Karl Straube - German church musician, organist, choral conductor, and teacher, 11th Thomaskantor after Bach, a friend and champion of Max Reger, instructor at the Leipzig Conservatory, and one of the teachers of Karl Richter (conductor); succeeded to the post of Thomaskantor by Günther Ramin
- Jakob Thomasius - German academic philosopher and jurist
- Christian Theodor Weinlig - German music teacher, composer and choir conductor
- Ernst Windisch - German scholar and celticist
- Gustav Ernst Schreck - German composer, music teacher, choirmaster, 1983 Thomaskantor
- List of Rectors of Thomasschule zu Leipzig
- St. Thomas Church, Leipzig
- St. Thomas Choir of Leipzig
- List of the oldest schools in the world
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