Founded in 1950, the Central Conservatory of Music is located at the former Prince Chun's Residence of Qing Dynasty and merged together with the National Conservatory of Music, the Peking National School of Fine Arts and other 6 departments of music in Universities from 1920s to 1940s in China. Music Department of the Yenching University ( 1927), the Music Department of the Literature and Art School of the North China University (1939), the National Academy of Music in Nanjing (1940), the Music Department of the National Peiping School of Arts (1946), and the Music Department of the Northwest Lu Hsun Institute of Literature and Art. Moved from Tianjin to Beijing in 1958, it was ranked among the national leading universities in 1960. Currently, it was listed as one of the leading universities in the "211 project" in 2000, the only institution in Academies of Fine Arts in China, and only key institution of higher learning supervised directly under the Ministry of Education of the State Council among all academies of arts in China. The ex-presidents have included Ma Sicong, Zhao Feng, Wu Zuqiang, and Liu Lin. Professor Wang Cizhao is the current president.
As an institution of single discipline for training high level musical specialists in higher learning, the Central Conservatory of Music has evolved a complete system of pedagogy embracing courses of all levels starting from elementary classes up to postgraduate programs for master and doctoral degrees. The Conservatory has departments of composition, conducting, musicology, music education, voice and opera, piano, orchestral instruments, and traditional Chinese instruments, academic study, offering undergraduate programs of study for a period of 4 to 5 years and postgraduate program for 2 or 3 years. The attached institutions also include a six-year middle school and a three-year primary school, giving courses in piano, orchestral instruments, traditional Chinese instruments and music theory. The Music Research Institute is the Key Research Institute of Humanities and Social Sciences of Ministry of Education. The Orchestra Academy was established in 2005 for training orchestral musicians and offering postgraduate program, the first of its kind in Asia. The Journal of the Central Conservatory of Music, a quarterly published by the Conservatory, is widely distributed at home and abroad. The post-doctoral station has also been set up recently. The Institute of Violin Making, Modern Electro-acoustic Music Centre, Voice Research Centre, Music Therapy Center, College of Continuing Education Music, Education Center of Distance Learning and Division of Social Education of Music are designated to conduct interdisciplinary researches for the aim of enriching the programs