Royal Birmingham Conservatoire
|Birmingham School of Music
|Motto||Inspiring Musicians since 1886|
|Type||Public, School of Music|
|Established||1886 (as Birmingham School of Music)
1989 (as Birmingham Conservatoire)
2017 (as Royal Birmingham Conservatoire)
|President||Sir Simon Rattle|
|Principal||Julian Lloyd Webber|
|Location||Birmingham, West Midlands, England, United Kingdom
|Affiliations||Birmingham City University
European Association of Conservatoires
Federation of Drama Schools
|Royal Birmingham Conservatoire|
|Address||Jennens Road, Birmingham|
|Elevation||122 m (400 ft) AOD|
|Construction started||August 2015|
|Height||26.4 metres (87 ft)|
|Material||Pale Buff Brick|
|Floor count||1 (UG) 5(OG)|
|Floor area||10,350 m2 (111,406 sq ft)|
|Design and construction|
|Architecture firm||Feilden Clegg Bradley|
|Services engineer||Hoare Lea|
|Civil engineer||White Young Green|
|Main contractor||Galliford Try|
The Royal Birmingham Conservatoire is a music school, drama school and concert venue in Birmingham, England. It provides professional education in music, acting and related disciplines up to postgraduate level, and is a centre for scholarly research and doctorate-level study in areas such as performance practice, composition, musicology and music history. It is the only one of the nine conservatoires in the United Kingdom that is also a faculty of a university, in this case Birmingham City University.
The conservatoire houses a 500-seat concert hall and other performance spaces including a recital hall, organ studio and a dedicated jazz club. It was founded in 1886 as the Birmingham School of Music, the first music school to be established in England outside London. Birmingham is also home to two other concert venues – Town Hall and Symphony Hall. As a result, Birmingham Conservatoire experiences a constant stream of distinguished visiting soloists and tutors.
A conservatoire education is heavily weighted towards practical learning and performance, and provides the opportunity for each student to use the specialist professional training on offer to develop a career in music. Students are able to take part in collaborations made available by links with the major concert venues in the city, including the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra (CBSO).
The Royal Birmingham Conservatoire was founded in 1886 as the Birmingham School of Music, grouping together into a single entity the various musical education activities of the Birmingham and Midland Institute. The institute had conducted informal musical instruction from its foundation in 1854, and its predecessor organisation the Birmingham Philosophical Institution had held music classes since 1800, but it was in 1859 that music was established as a formal part of the institute's curriculum. In that year singing classes were begun which – after some initial struggles – by 1863 had 110 students and were performing regular concerts. In 1876 a proposal was heard at the institute's council that further classes should be established on the model of the Leipzig Conservatoire, and that year the composer Alfred Gaul began teaching classes in the theory of music. In 1882 instrumental classes were started, attracting 458 students on their first year, and a separate music section created within the institute. This was established as the separate "School of Music" in 1886, with William Stockley as its first principal.
The name 'Birmingham Conservatoire' was adopted in 1989, with its undergraduate diploma and award (GBSM and ABSM) renamed from 'Graduate/Associate of the Birmingham School of Music' to 'Graduate/Associate of the Birmingham Schools of Music', to reflect the internal structure adopted of the Schools of Creative Studies, of Orchestral Studies, of Keyboard Studies, and of Vocal Studies. In 1995, the GBSM degree-equivalent diploma was redesigned and revalidated to become a full Bachelor of Music (BMus) degree. In 2008, as part of the university’s reorganisation of faculties, it became a part of the Faculty of Performance, Media and English (PME), which has since merged to become the Faculty of Arts, Design and Media.
As part of the Paradise Circus redevelopment the former site of the Conservatoire was subject to a compulsory purchase by Birmingham City Council. The Conservatoire received £29 million in compensation in a deal agreed in December 2013; this deal included £12.4 million of council expenditure. Designed by Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios the new building on Jennens Road contains teaching and performance space including a 500-seat concert hall to replace Adrian Boult Hall. Building work started in August 2015 and was completed in August 2017. Planning application 2014/08615/PA was submitted on 2 December 2014 and approved in February 2015, Adrian Boult Hall was demolished in June 2016. The remaining building on Paradise Circus is due to be demolished as part of Phase I of the scheme. In July 2015, Galliford Try were confirmed as principal contractor on a £46 million contract. The contract award was delayed as the original estimate of £27-35 million could not be met from bidding contractors.
In 2017 the conservatoire merged with the Birmingham School of Acting, which had been founded as a drama school in 1936, bringing music and drama teaching together into a single organisation. On 24 September 2017 the conservatoire was granted Royal status by Queen Elizabeth II.
The majority of the tutors at Royal Birmingham Conservatoire are active professional musicians. With nearly 200 visiting specialist tutors, there is approximately one member of staff for every two students. The Principal of the Conservatoire is Julian Lloyd Webber.
In 2003, there were around 600 students enrolled in the Conservatoire's undergraduate and postgraduate degrees. Teaching exists in a wide range of options including solo performance, composition, chamber music, orchestral playing, music technology and jazz. Students on the four-year BMus(Hons) are encouraged to spend time studying in Europe or the USA.
In their Junior Department, training for children aged 8 to 18 years takes place weekly on Saturdays during the local school term.
The museum has a notable collection of musical instruments.
- Chamber Music
- Conducting (Choral)
- Conducting (Orchestral)
- Early music
- Music Technology
- Performing Ensembles
- Vocal & Operatic
Conservatoire students perform regularly in the conservatoire's concert venues, and also nationally often at Symphony Hall Birmingham and Birmingham Town Hall and internationally under such conductors as Sir Simon Rattle, Pierre Boulez, Sakari Oramo, Paul Spicer and Jeffrey Skidmore.
Royal Birmingham Conservatoire offers training from pre-college level (Junior Conservatoire) to PhD.
- Bachelor of Music honours degrees
- BMus(Hons) Jazz
- Bachelor of Science honours degree
- BSc(Hons) Music Technology
- Graduate Diploma in Jazz
- Postgraduate Certificate
- Postgraduate Diploma
- Advanced Postgraduate Diploma
- Advanced PgDip
- Master of Music
- Master of Philosophy
- Doctor of Philosophy
The CONSERVATOIRE offers a variety of scholarships to undergraduates and postgraduate students. All candidates are automatically considered for financial assistance up to the value of full scholarships. Scholarships are awarded on the basis of merit (according to audition panel recommendation), with some specifically reserved to assist candidates in financial need or studying in specific areas.
- Entrance Scholarships (UK/EU candidates)
A number of Entrance Scholarships are awarded each year to UK and European Union candidates on the recommendation of auditions panels.
- Tuition Fees Scholarships (Non-EU candidates)
A number of part-tuition fees scholarships are awarded each year to overseas candidates. These scholarships are normally renewed for each subsequent year of a student’s course.
- Corton Hyde Early Music Scholarships
Two scholarships are normally available to support talented students wishing to further their studies in Early Music. The Corton Hyde Continuo Scholarship supports a keyboard, cello/viola da gamba, or lute/theorbo player specialising in continuo, while the Corton Hyde Performance Practice Scholarship is open to a variety of musicians, including period violinists, vocalists, early oboe or flute players, recorder players and cellists. Each scholarship is worth £1,000 and may be renewed after one year by negotiation.
- Denis Matthews Scholarships
Established in 1989 in memory of the distinguished pianist and scholar, the Denis Matthews Trust offers scholarships through competition to pianists who are studying at Birmingham Conservatoire, and an additional entrance scholarship of £1,000.
- Ella Cheshire Scholarship (Soprano)
A scholarship of approximately £1,500 is awarded annually to a nominated postgraduate soprano candidate.
- Leverhulme Trust Scholarship (UK candidates)
The Leverhulme Trust scholarships are awarded each year to excellent UK candidates on the recommendation of audition panels.
- Symphony Hall Whitlock Organ Scholarship
This scholarship, funded by the Percy Whitlock Trust, offers a talented organ student access to the outstanding four-manual Klais organ in Symphony Hall. The Scholar plays a significant role in Symphony Hall’s education programme, presenting the organ to school groups and members of the public. The scholarship includes an annual recital. The successful candidate will be a highly competent player, with excellent presentational skills and the ability to capture the imagination of young people. The appointment is for one year, but may be renewed. The value of the scholarship is £1,000 per annum.
- Weingarten Scholarships
These scholarships, established by Joseph and Lilian Weingarten, are available by competition to final-year undergraduate or postgraduate Piano, Violin or Voice students at the Conservatoire. Successful students undertake up to a year of postgraduate study at the Franz Liszt Academy in Budapest. Another scholarship is available to enable a student to study the Kodály Method at the Kodály Institute at Kecskemét in Hungary.
- Junior Department Scholarships
Applicants to the Junior Conservatoire may be eligible for a DCSF Music and Dance Award, or bursary funding from the Leverhulme Trust or the Wolfson Foundation. The Junior Conservatoire can provide advice and guidance to suitable candidates.
- William Stockley (1886–1900)
- Granville Bantock (1900–1934)
- Allen Blackhall (1934–1945)
- Christopher Edmunds (1945–1956)
- (Management Committee) (1956–1957)
- Sir Steuart Wilson (1957–1960)
- Gordon Clinton (1960–1973)
- John Bishop (1973–1975)
- Louis Carus (1975–1987)
- Roy Wales (1987–1989)
- Kevin Thompson (1989–1993)
- George Caird (1993–2010)
- David Saint (2010-2015)
- Julian Lloyd Webber (2015–present)
The Royal Birmingham Conservatoire has around 50 full-time members of staff that include active professional musicians, internationally renowned performers, composers, conductors, scholars, and educators. In addition, nearly 200 highly acclaimed specialist tutors, musicians and scholars visit the conservatoire to give master classes and guest lectures or to serve as visiting faculty members.
Notable current and former staff include:
- Meyrick Alexander - bassoonist
- Andrew Bain - drummer
- Stephen Barlow - conductor
- Ed Bennett - composer; leader/conductor, decibel
- Mark Bebbington - pianist
- Rutland Boughton - composer
- George Caird - oboist
- Jiafeng Chen - violinist
- Gary Cooper – conductor, harpsichordist
- Joe Cutler - composer
- Andrew Downes - composer
- Tony Dudley-Evans
- Henry Fairs - organist
- Catrin Finch - harpist
- Margaret Fingerhut - pianist
- Byron Fulcher - trombonist
- James Galway - flautist
- Rivka Golani - violist
- Simon Halsey - conductor
- Robin Ireland - violist, Lindsay String Quartet
- Julian Jacobson - pianist
- Justin Lavender - vocal
- Julian Lloyd Webber - cellist
- Hans Koller - pianist; composer; bandleader
- Rupert Marshall-Luck - violinist
- Philip Martin - pianist
- Denis Matthews - pianist
- Melinda Maxwell - oboist
- John Mayer - composer
- George Miles - organist
- Andrew Mogrelia - conductor
- Daniel Moult - organist
- Pascal Nemirovski - pianist
- Liam Noble - pianist; composer; bandleader
- Edwin Roxburgh - composer; conductor; oboist
- Howard Skempton - composer; accordionist
- Jeffrey Skidmore - conductor, Ex Cathedra
- Paul Spicer - conductor, Birmingham Bach Choir, Finzi Singers
- Mike Stevens (saxophonist) - musical director
- Simon de Souza - hornplayer
- John Thwaites - pianist
- Errollyn Wallen - composer
- Michael Wolters - composer
- Jian Wang (cellist) - cellist
- Mary Wiegold's Songbook - vocal
- Di Xiao - pianist
- Xuefei Yang - guitarist
- Louise Lansdown - violist
- Ben Lee - jazz mandolin player
- Richard van Allan - opera singer
- Nicola Coughlan -Actor
- Fred Thelonius Baker - guitarist; bassist
- Dave Cliff - jazz guitarist
- Krzysztof Czerwiński - organist; Conductor/Artistic Director, Polish Baroque Orchestra
- Henry Fairs - organist
- Brian Ferneyhough - composer
- Mark Gasser - concert pianist, Thallein Ensemble, CBSO, SSO, CSO
- Duncan Honeybourne - pianist
- Albert Ketèlbey - composer, conductor
- Jim Moray - singer, producer
- Laura Mvula - singer
- Helen O'Hara
- Michael Rayner - opera singer
- Jean Rigby - OPERA SINGER
- Rhydian Roberts - singer, runner-up in the fourth series of the British talent show The X Factor
- Mike Seal - violinist; Conductor, CBSO
- Mike Stevens - musical director, producer (Annie Lennox, Take That, Sugababes, Will Young, Mika, James Morrison)
- David Taylor - arts entrepreneur, CEO and Founder of Yorkshire Young Sinfonia
- Ian Venables - composer
- John Webb - composer
- The Running Viola - public figure
- Concert Hall, 500 seats
- Recital Hall, 100 seats
- Organ Studio, 100 seats
- Eastside Jazz Club, 80 seats
- Experimental Music Lab
- "Courses". Royal Birmingham Conservatoire. Retrieved 2017-12-26.
- "Research - Clusters and Specialisms". Royal Birmingham Conservatoire. Retrieved 2017-12-26.
- Smith 2011, p. 4.
- Brock 1986, p. 1.
- Brock 1986, pp. 1-2.
- Brock 1986, p. 4.
- Brock 1986, p. 6.
- Brock 1986, p. 9.
- Elkes, Neil (5 February 2015). "Planners hail handsome Birmingham Conservatoirel". Birmingham Post. Birmingham. Retrieved 5 February 2015.
- "Galliford Try confirms £46m arts centre deall". Construction Enquirer. 5 February 2015. Retrieved 21 July 2015.
- Snow, Georgia (2017-03-01). "Birmingham School of Acting merges with Birmingham Conservatoire". The Stage. Retrieved 2017-12-26.
- "Birmingham Conservatoire". The Independent. 9 August 2013. Retrieved 17 August 2015.
- "Junior Conservatoire: Tuition for Young Musicians". Birmingham Conservatoire. Birmingham City University. Retrieved 17 August 2015.
- "Musical Instruments Interface for Museums and Collections". MINIM-UK. Higher Education Funding Council for England. Retrieved 2017-10-25.
- "International Exchange Schemes". Birmingham Conservatoire. Birmingham City University. Retrieved 17 August 2015.
- Smith 2011, p. 11.
- "Birmingham Conservatoire Staff". Birmingham Conservatoire. UK: Birmingham City University. Retrieved 25 November 2013.
- "Birmingham Conservatoire : Birmingham Conservatoire appoints Gildas String Quartet as Junior Fellows". www.bcu.ac.uk. Retrieved 2016-01-16.
- Brock, David (1986). The Birmingham School of Music: its first century. Birmingham: City of Birmingham Polytechnic.
- Smith, John D. (2011). "Celebrating 125 Years of Birmingham Conservatoire" (pdf). Birmingham Conservatoire. Retrieved 2017-10-18.