Katy Wright

Deputy Editor, Classical Music

New Birmingham Conservatoire opens doors

11:00, 7th September 2017

Birmingham Conservatoire has opened its doors to its new home.

The £57m building boasts five new public performance spaces, including a 500-seat concert hall, a 150-seat recital hall and a 100-seat organ studio.

It also includes The Lab, a flexible black-box studio; more than 70 teaching practice rooms; and the 80-seat Eastside Jazz Club, the first permanent jazz space in any UK conservatoire.

It is the first purpose-built music college to be constructed in the UK since 1987, and the conservatoire’s principal, Professor Julian Lloyd Webber, has predicted it will be the ‘last-ever’ performing arts institution of its kind to be built in this country.

The conservatoire is located alongside Millennium Point, adjacent to Jennens Road in the Eastside region of the city. Designed by Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios and constructed by Galliford Try, the main performance venues are comprised of independent ‘box in box’ structures and built on dedicated acoustic foundation bearings for optimum noise control.

The inaugural season of the conservatoire’s public programme will begin on 11 March 2018 with a Royal Gala concert, with Mirga Gražinytė-Tyla conducting the Birmingham Conservatoire Symphony Orchestra.

‘The new Birmingham Conservatoire emerges during a difficult time for arts funding and music education, meaning our role in training the world’s next great musicians and actors is more vital than ever,’ said Professor Julian Lloyd Webber.

‘Of course, a building is only as effective as the people inside it, and my team and I will continue our work to ensure that the future arts industry is not dominated by the wealthy elite. Our programme of learning and widening music participation benefits thousands of children, young people and their families from diverse communities across England, and our new home will become the central hub of all of these crucial activities.’

Professor Philip Plowden, vice-chancellor of Birmingham City University, said: ‘Our fantastic new facility will ensure we can equip future performers with the skills they need to meet the demands of today’s fast-paced creative economy.

‘However, this is not just a state-of-the-art home for developing the next generation of talented and versatile performers, but it will also enrich and deepen the university experience for all our students, who will be able to make full use of its facilities and enjoy the rich programme of events planned.

‘The new Birmingham Conservatoire is a significant investment for the University, the city and, indeed, the country as a whole, and one in which will certainly set a new global benchmark for music and drama education and performance.’


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