Guildhall School of Music and Drama

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Guildhall School of Music and Drama
Established 1880
Type Public
Students 800+[1]
Location City of London, England, United Kingdom
Campus Urban
Affiliations City University, London[2]
Guildhall School of Music and Drama

Guildhall School of Music and Drama is an independent music and dramatic arts school which was founded in 1880 in London, England. Students can pursue courses in Music, Opera, Drama and Technical Theatre Arts.


The first Guildhall School was housed in an old warehouse in Aldermanbury, but these premises soon proved too small. A new purpose-built building in John Carpenter Street was designed by the City architect Sir Horace Jones and opened in December 1886. The school is owned by the City of London Corporation and takes its name from the Corporation's historic headquarters at the Guildhall, though it was never based there. Before 1935 it was known as the Guildhall School of Music. Since 1977 it has been situated next to the Barbican Arts Centre in the Barbican Complex.

In 2004, the Guildhall School of Music and Drama's external examinations department merged with the performing arts examinations division of Trinity College London to form the Trinity Guildhall Examination system. Today, the merged examinations board offers qualifications in performing and teaching in areas such as music, speech and drama, and dance to external students. However the name Trinity Guildhall was dropped in 2012 and the board's examinations are now offered under the Trinity College London brand.[citation needed]

In 2008 work began to redevelop the Milton Court complex, which is near to the School's main building and part of which has been used by the School for several years. The new 36-floor building (The Heron), funded by the City of London and developed by Heron International, houses a 625-seat concert hall, a 225-seat theatre and a 90-seat studio theatre, as well as studios for television, radio, teaching, rehearsal, office and support services. The extension to the School is estimated to cost around £89 million. The acoustic design, was by Arup. The hall's official opening was in September 2013, and received positive reviews.[3]

Present day[edit]

Guildhall School inside the Barbican Estate

The school offers both undergraduate and graduate degree programs[4] as well as the Junior Guildhall, a Saturday school serving students from 4 to 18 years of age.[5] The school's outreach activities won the Queen's Anniversary Prize in 2005. The school was awarded a further Queen's Anniversary Prize in 2007 in recognition of the outstanding achievements and work of the Opera Programme.[6]

The school's performance facilities include a 308-seat drama and opera theatre, concert hall, lecture/recital hall and a small studio theatre. In addition, students of the school regularly perform in other London venues, including the Barbican Centre, the Bridewell Theatre (off Fleet Street), the Soho Theatre, the Royal Court and the Swan (Stratford).


The Guildhall offers Undergraduate and Postgraduate courses in both Music and Drama, summer and holiday courses in both, as well as a junior program for students from the age of four.

Alumni and staff[edit]


Alumni of the Guildhall School of Music include Alison Balsom, Thomas Adès, Jacqueline du Pré, James Galway, Harry Gregson-Williams, Bryn Terfel, George Martin, Paul Lewis (pianist), Tasmin Little, Kate Royal and Howard Williams.


Alumni of the School of Drama include Orlando Bloom, Daniel Craig and Ewan McGregor.

Notable staff[edit]


  1. ^ "Preparing for peak performance". Retrieved 2009-10-09. 
  2. ^ "Guildhall School of Music & Drama The Guardian". London. 2009-05-10. Retrieved 2009-10-09. 
  3. ^ Shirley, Hugo (27 Sep 2013). "Milton Court opening concert, review". The Daily Telegraph (London). 
  4. ^ Guildhall School of Music & Drama: Prospectus 2010
  5. ^ "Junior Guildhall Prospectus 2010". Guildhall School of Music & Drama. 2010. Retrieved March 29, 2014.
  6. ^ Guildhall School of Music & Drama: Guildhall School Opera Programme wins the Queen's Anniversary Prize 2007

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 51°31′10″N 0°05′32″W / 51.5194°N 0.0923°W / 51.5194; -0.0923