A new home for Birmingham Conservatoire
£57m conservatoire gives UK music education a shot in the arm
A new home for the Birmingham Conservatoire was officially opened yesterday, making it the first purpose-built music college to be constructed in the UK since 1987.
‘We’ve waited many years for this,’ said the Conservatoire’s principal, Julian Lloyd Webber. ‘There are five incredible performance spaces, a 500-seat concert hall, a jazz café, seven recording studios and more than a hundred practice spaces, as well as newly built student accommodation on the doorstep. I can’t really see this ever happening again.’
The next issue of Pianist tells the full story of the Conservatoire’s development, which has been designed for students in a digital age, and emerges at a difficult time for arts funding and music education in the UK. ‘The music colleges have a responsibility to step up and address this gap in music education that has opened up in recent years,’ said Lloyd Webber. ‘We’ve built up an outreach programme that last year reached over 3000 children who wouldn’t otherwise have had any access to music. We have to do more and more of that.
Watch this tme-lapse footage of the new Birmingham Conservatoire being built in Birmingham’s Eastside:
‘I’ve always believed in bringing music to as many people as possible,’ he continued. ‘It’s what I’ve fought for all my career. It’s completely wrong if only the children of rich parents, who can afford instruments and tuition, play music. In the Far East it’s perfectly normal to learn an instrument – that’s what children do. Over here, it’s becoming a quirky add-on, and that’s a terrible thing to see. We want to create the artists of the future, and that’s what we’re here for.’
Lloyd Webber and students outside the Conservatoire:
The new Conservatoire building was designed by Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios and constructed by Galliford Try. Its 80-seat Eastside Jazz Club is the first permanent jazz space in any UK conservatoire. There is also a full programme of public events planned, which will launch on 11 March 2018 in the Conservatoire’s 500-seat concert hall with a Royal Gala concert performed by the Birmingham Conservatoire Symphony Orchestra and conducted by the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra’s (CBSO) Music Director, Mirga Gražinytė-Tyla.
The full-length feature on Birmingham Conservatorie appears inside the next issue of Pianist, out 29 Sept!