Wollongong Conservatorium of Music

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Gleniffer Brae Manor House, home to the Wollongong Conservatorium of Music

Wollongong Conservatorium of Music is a centre for music education and performance serving the city of Wollongong, New South Wales, Australia.[1] It is located in the English Tudor style Gleniffer Brae Manor House and grounds, part of the Wollongong Botanic Gardens in the suburb of Keiraville.[2] Andrew Snell became director of the Conservatorium in May 2008.[3] It is currently on the Register of Cultural Organisations (ROCO), as listed by the Australian Government.[4]


The Conservatorium was first established on 11 September 1972 as a Wollongong branch of the then New South Wales State Conservatorium of Music, with James Powell as first Hon. Principal.[5][6] The Conservatorium moved its operations to Glennifer Brae in a ceremony marked on 2 June 1980 by then Premier of NSW Neville Wran.[6][7] Later, the Conservatorium split from its parent organisation, and instead became affiliated with the University of Wollongong, becoming known as the University Conservatorium of Music.[6][8] In 1996, the Conservatorium split from the University and became incorporated as the Wollongong Conservatorium of Music.[9]

The Conservatorium commissioned a composition from John Spence in 2004 in order to "mark the launch of a new cultural identity for the steel city." The composition was titled Wollongong Overture.[10]

In 2005, the Conservatorium began to consider cutting courses because of the decreased funding it was receiving from the government. The principal of the Conservatorium, Graham Drayton, stated that they were "owed about $45,000 in overdue fees".[11]

The Gleniffer Brae property was being considered for sale by the Wollongong City Council in May 2010, though no decision was made and the status of the property has sat in limbo since the consideration was announced. The Conservatorium was reassured that it would "be allowed to stay on as a tenant" in the case of a sale.[12] The University of Wollongong has "expressed an interest in possibly using Gleniffer Brae for creative arts."[13]

On 9 June 2012, the Conservatorium celebrated its 40th anniversary.[14]


The conservatorium provides a wide range of programs, instrumental and vocal music tuition in contemporary, classical and jazz styles.[15] It caters for individuals and groups ranging from pre-school to mature-age. Music theory tuition is also provided.

Wollongong Conservatorium of Music is one of the largest regional conservatoriums in Australia.[16] It is noted for its long-established Childhood Music Education Program (ChiME), which caters for around 600 students in the 1–9 years age group. In this program parents or caregivers attend with their children. In the ChiME program alone, 1200 people attend weekly lessons. Another 600 attend other group and individual tuition programs.[citation needed]

Teaching programs are complemented by student participation in various instrumental and vocal ensembles, catering to different styles and levels of proficiency, including the BlueScope Steel Youth Orchestra which has toured internationally.[17][18]

The conservatorium runs over 50 events each year, most featuring students and/or professional artists. Student concerts include Performance Saturday, Instrumental Saturdays, Showcase Concerts, Open Day, Christmas at the Manor and the Mega Band. The Conservatorium's professional concerts focus on jazz and chamber music.

The Conservatorium is also active in community music. It hosted a Community Music Conference in partnership with the Music In Communities Network (a program of the Music Council of Australia) and maintains an active role in supporting local community music.


  1. ^ "Wollongong Conservatorium Jazz Orch. Tokyo Live". Australian Embassy's Arts and Culture Centre. 14 April 2005. Retrieved 21 October 2010. 
  2. ^ "Wollongong". Sydney Morning Herald. 8 February 2004. Retrieved 21 October 2010. 
  3. ^ McInerney, Paul (22 October 2008). "Music conservatorium's glory to be restored". Illawarra Mercury. Retrieved 21 October 2010. 
  4. ^ "Organisations entered on the Register of Cultural Organisations (ROCO)". Department of the Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts. February 2010. Retrieved 21 October 2010. 
  5. ^ "NSW Legislative Council — Heritage Bill — Teacher Housing Bill" (PDF). 28 November 1977. Retrieved 3 July 2012. 
  6. ^ a b c "Sydney Conservatorium of Music Handbook 1995" (PDF). Retrieved 3 July 2012. 
  7. ^ "Wollongong Conservatorium of Music grounds plaque". National Library of Australia. 30 August 2008. Retrieved 3 July 2012. 
  8. ^ "University of Wollongong Campus News" (PDF). 23 August 1988. Retrieved 3 July 2012. 
  9. ^ "History". Wollongong Conservatorium of Music. Retrieved 20 December 2012. 
  10. ^ Verghis, Sharon (19 October 2004). "Take your seats for a rhapsody in steel". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 29 September 2010. 
  11. ^ "Funding woes may cut conservatorium courses". Australian Broadcasting Corporation. 8 June 2005. Retrieved 20 June 2013. 
  12. ^ Roderick, Laurel-Lee (20 September 2010). "Uncertain future for Gleniffer Brae". Illawarra Mercury. Retrieved 29 September 2010. 
  13. ^ "Uni shows interest in heritage-listed site". Australian Broadcasting Corporation. 31 May 2010. Retrieved 29 September 2010. 
  14. ^ "Celebrating the Con". Wollongong Advertiser. 6 June 2012. Retrieved 3 July 2012. 
  15. ^ "Wollongong Conservatorium of Music - Tuition". Retrieved 3 August 2008. 
  16. ^ "Wollongong Conservatorium of Music - About". Retrieved 3 August 2008. 
  17. ^ "Wollongong Conservatorium of Music - Ensembles". Retrieved 3 August 2008. 
  18. ^ "BlueScope Steel Youth Orchestra celebrates 20th anniversary by making history at the Yogyakarta Royal Palace". Archived from the original on 27 September 2007. Retrieved 23 October 2011. 

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 34°24′37″S 150°52′21″E / 34.410181°S 150.872386°E / -34.410181; 150.872386