University city in Thuringia, Germany. It was granted city rights in 1332 and developed into an outstanding musical centre from the foundation of the university in 1558. There is early evidence of folk music and the use of music in the monastery and churches; the Michaeliskirche beside the market had a Kalandsbrüderschaft, an itinerant choir, an organ and Kantor from 1442. The court of the Wettin dukes stipulated the presence of court trumpeters and Stadtpfeifer. The university, through which Jena gained its first importance, was established in the Kollegiumhaus and had its own church and library. The large collection of valuable music manuscripts was given to Jena by Elector Johann Friedrich of Saxony; of some 140 items, it includes choirbooks, fragments and prints of partbooks, and the famous 14th-century Jenaer Liederhandschrift. According to Schmeizel the ‘Kantorgesellschaft or collegium musicum was famous and flourished at this time ’, a statement supported by the number of musicians who studied or worked there, and by the considerable activity of music publishers and printers. The musicians connected with Jena during this period included Nicolaus Rosthius, Georg Quitschreiber, Johannes Herold, Sethus Calvisius, Melchior Franck and Melchior Vulpius. In his Praefatio (1632) Burckhardt Grossmann, a Jena official and music lover, gave a critical account of the varied musical life around him.
After the Thirty Years War (1618–48) there was a revival of art music, encouraged by the dynastic bond between Jena and the duchy of Saxe-Weimar; the dukes lived intermittently in either city, and there was a lively exchange of musicians. Student music developed particularly under Adam Drese (1620–1701), who as court Kapellmeister composed dance music, ballets and songs. Clandestine music circles and research into music physiology formed the background to numerous individual studies such as those of J.G. Neidhardt, Johann Treiber and David Funck, in which new acoustic and theoretical problems were set out. Bach would certainly have known the young Treiber's Sonderbare Invention: eine Arie in einer einzigen Melodey aus allen Tönen und Accorden auch jederley Tacten zu Componiren (Jena, 1702), as a preliminary study to ‘well-tempered’ tuning. Bach's cousin Johann Nicolaus Bach (1669–1753), a university organist, was among the leading musicians who gave new impetus to the collegium musicum through its serenades, cassations and comedies; his burlesque cantata Der Jenaer Wein- und Bierrufer has remained a delightful milieu piece with reference to traditional customs. The Akademisches Konzert, founded in 1769 and held in the historic Rosensäle, became a flourishing institution of the bourgeoisie. The symphony orchestra connected with the concerts acquired a particular distinction under the leadership of Carl Stamitz.
From the late 18th century Jena, along with Weimar, became the academic centre for the development of Classical and Romantic ideas, the former fostered in Jena by Goethe and Schiller and the latter by Thibaut, Schlegel, Brentano, Tieck and Novalis. The lively musical response to this was especially strong within the Jena Students' Association, whose patriotic and liberal aims stimulated lied and choral singing in which Theodor Körner and Lützow-Freischar were major influences. Free-thinking middle-class salons, such as Sophie Mereau's, provided a wide variety of music and formed the basis of the continuous musical development into the 19th century when music congresses were held in Jena; important musicians closely connected with the city, such as Hummel, Liszt, Ernst Naumann, Reger, Fritz Stein and Robert Volkmann, continued the city's musical development into the 20th century. In 1828, when the student song association was suppressed by the authorities, the Bürgerlicher Gesangsverein was established and became the most important musical institution in Jena. Between 1905 and 1908 a new university was established, including a Singakademie, the Akademisches Orchester and the Musicology Institute, whose professors, lecturers and tutors have included Fritz Stein, Werner Danckert, Heinrich Möller, Heinrich Besseler, Lothar Hoffmann-Erbrecht and Günther Kraft. The university inherited the city's ancient traditions which now acquired a new focus, also provided by the large concert hall of the Volkshaus (built by the Carl Zeiss Foundation). The conservatory, founded in 1913 by Willy Eickemeyer, is now the Staatliche Musikschule. The Madrigalchor, the Max Reimann University Ensemble, the choirs of the Michaeliskirche and Friedenskirche, and the Jenaer Philharmonie (formerly the Jena SO) are the most important performing groups in the city.