Birmingham Conservatoire

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Birmingham Conservatoire
Birmingham Conservatoire.jpg
Adrian Boult Hall, the main concert hall of the school situated in Paradise Circus
Former names
Birmingham School of Music
Motto Inspiring Musicians since 1886
Established 1886 (as Birmingham School of Music)
1989 (as Birmingham Conservatoire)
Type Public, School of Music
President Sir Simon Rattle
Vice-president Peter Donohoe
Principal Julian Lloyd Webber
Administrative staff
Students 600
Location Birmingham, West Midlands, England, United Kingdom
52°28′45″N 1°54′20″W / 52.47917°N 1.90556°W / 52.47917; -1.90556Coordinates: 52°28′45″N 1°54′20″W / 52.47917°N 1.90556°W / 52.47917; -1.90556
Campus Urban
Affiliations Birmingham City University
Conservatoires UK, CUKAS, The European Association of Conservatoires
Birmingham Conservatoire
General information
Status Under construction
Type Conservatoire
Location Eastside
Address Jennens Road, Birmingham
Elevation 122 m (400 ft) AOD
Construction started 2015
Completed 2017 (Planned)
Cost £40 million
Owner BCU
Height 26.4 metres (87 ft)
Top floor 4
Technical details
Material Pale Buff Brick
Floor count 1 (UG) 5(OG)
Floor area 10,750 m2 (115,712 sq ft)
Lifts/elevators 3
Design and construction
Architecture firm Feilden Clegg Bradley
Services engineer Hoare Lea
Main contractor Galliford Try

Birmingham Conservatoire is an international conservatoire and a major concert venue, its main platform being the Adrian Boult Hall in Birmingham, England.[1] Prior to 1989, it was known as the Birmingham School of Music and was one of the faculties of Birmingham City University, the only one out of the nine conservatoires in the United Kingdom that was a university faculty. In 2008, as part of the re-organisation of faculties it became a part of the Faculty of Performance, Media and English (PME), which has now merged to become the Faculty of Arts, Design and Media.[2]


Situated in Paradise Place, in the centre of Birmingham between Centenary Square and Chamberlain Square, Birmingham Conservatoire was founded in 1886 as the Birmingham School of Music, which had been a department of, and stands on the original site of, the Birmingham and Midland Institute, since around 1859. The title '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.

As part of the Paradise Circus redevelopment the current site of the Conservatoire was subject to a compulsory purchase from 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. A new £46 million building will be located on Jennens Road adjacent to Millennium Point and Birmingham Ormiston Academy. Designed by Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios the building will contain teaching and performance space including a 500 seat concert hall to replace Adrian Boult Hall. Building work is expected to start in summer 2015 with an intended opening date of summer 2017. Planning application 2014/08615/PA was submitted on 2 December 2014 and approved in February 2015, the existing building on Paradise Circus is due to be demolished as part of Phase I of the scheme.[3] 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 to £35 million could not be met from bidding contractors.[4]

The Conservatoire[edit]

The surrounding area is known as Paradise Circus. Facilities include the 518 seat Adrian Boult Hall, the Recital Hall, six recording studios and a specialised music library with around 95,000 individual scores and parts and 10,000 sound recordings. Most tutors are active professional musicians and with nearly 200 visiting specialist tutors, there is approximately one member of staff for every two students. The President of the Conservatoire is Sir Simon Rattle.

Around 600 students are currently[when?] enrolled in the Conservatoire's undergraduate and postgraduate degrees.[citation needed] 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.

A Junior Department takes place weekly.[citation needed]


  • Brass
  • Chamber Music
  • Composition
  • Conducting (Choral)
  • Conducting (Orchestral)
  • Early music
  • Jazz
  • Keyboard
  • Music Technology
  • Percussion
  • Performing Ensembles
  • Strings
  • Vocal & Operatic
  • Woodwind


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.

The Conservatoire collaborates with other schools of music, colleges, academies and conservatoires worldwide, including participating in the SOCRATES student and staff exchange programme.[citation needed]


Birmingham Conservatoire
  • Julian Lloyd Webber (2015–present)
  • David Saint (2011-2015)
  • George Caird (1993–2010)
  • Kevin Thompson (1988–1993)
  • Roy Wales (1987–1988)

Courses offered[edit]

Birmingham Conservatoire offers training from pre-college level (Junior Conservatoire) to PhD.


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. Both scholarships are 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, as well as 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, generously funded by the Percy Whitlock Trust, offers a talented organ student access to the outstanding four-manual Klais organ in Symphony Hall, acclaimed as one of the finest concert halls in the world. 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 also 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 initially, but may be renewed. The value of the Scholarship is £1,000 per annum.

Weingarten Scholarships

These prestigious scholarships, established through the generosity of 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.


Birmingham Conservatoire has around 50 full-time members of staff that include active professional musicians, internationally renowned performers, composers, conductors, scholars, and educators.[6] 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 alumni[edit]

Notable staff (current and former)[edit]


See also[edit]


  1. ^ Marszal, Andrew (5 July 2011). "Birmingham Conservatoire guide". Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 25 November 2013. 
  2. ^
  3. ^ Elkes, Neil (5 February 2015). "Planners hail handsome Birmingham Conservatoirel". Birmingham Post (Birmingham). Retrieved 5 February 2015. 
  4. ^ "Galliford Try confirms £46m arts centre deall". Construction Enquirer. 5 February 2015. Retrieved 21 July 2015. 
  5. ^ Anderton, Keith (1989), "Bantock — Hebridean Symphony", sleevenotes (Naxos) (8.555473) 
  6. ^ "Birmingham Conservatoire Staff". Birmingham Conservatoire. UK: Birmingham City University. Retrieved 25 November 2013. 

External links[edit]