Ma­jor £57m mu­sic college finds key to fu­ture as it opens doors

Birmingham Post - - NEWS - Jas­bir Authi Staff Re­porter

RENOWNED cel­list Ju­lian Lloyd Web­ber says the new Birm­ing­ham Con­ser­va­toire could be the last of its kind built in the UK as the wraps fi­nally came off the £57 mil­lion build­ing this week.

The new in­sti­tute, in Birm­ing­ham’s East­side, re­places the old con­ser­va­toire in Adrian Boult Hall which is be­ing de­mol­ished as part of the new Par­adise re­gen­er­a­tion project.

Mr Lloyd Web­ber takes over as the new prin­ci­pal of the Con­ser­va­toire and joined staff on Thurs­day to of­fi­cially open the new fa­cil­ity fol­low­ing two years of con­struc­tion work.

The brick-clad build­ing, in Jen­nens Road forms part of Birm­ing­ham City Univer­sity (BCU).

It has five pub­lic per­for­mance spa­ces, in­clud­ing a 500-seat con­cert hall, a 150-seat recital hall and a 100seat or­gan stu­dio.

The new build­ing also has a flex­i­ble stu­dio called The Lab and what is claimed to be the first per­ma­nent per­for­mance space for jazz in any UK con­ser­va­toire, the 80-seat East­side Jazz Club.

It is the first pur­pose-built mu­sic college to be con­structed in the UK since 1987 and the only one in the coun­try de­signed to cater for the de­mands of the dig­i­tal age.

Birm­ing­ham Con­ser­va­toire’s his­tory dates back to 1859 but the new build­ing forms part of the lat­est phase of BCU’s new city cen­tre cam­pus, which is re­plac­ing its old base in Perry Barr. Mr Lloyd Web­ber said: “The new Birm­ing- ham 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.

“Per­son­ally, I don’t think will be an­other built in the UK.

“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 im­pres­sive 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.”

Along­side pri­vate re­hearsal rooms and ded­i­cated teach­ing spa­ces for mu­si­cians, the five-storey build­ing has more than 70 teach­ing prac­tice rooms.

De­signed by Feilden Clegg Bradley Stu­dios and con­structed by Gal­li­ford Try us­ing 400,000 bricks, the main per­for­mance venues are com­prised of in­de­pen­dent “box-in-box” struc­tures and built on ded­i­cated acous­tic foun­da­tion bear­ings for op­ti­mum noise con­trol.

In ad­di­tion, dou­ble and tripleglazed win­dows have been used to achieve the ex­act­ing acous­tic there re­quire­ments, sup­ported by tim­ber panelling through­out the build­ing.

Mr Lloyd Web­ber added: “We are look­ing for­ward to wel­com­ing our new and re­turn­ing stu­dents in the next few weeks, as well as launch­ing our pub­lic pro­gramme, which will for­mally com­mence with our open­ing sea­son next year.

“The in­au­gu­ral sea­son will be­gin in March in our brand new con­cert hall with a Royal Gala con­cert per­formed by the Birm­ing­ham Con­ser­va­toire Sym­phony Orches­tra and con­ducted by the City of Birm­ing­ham Sym­phony Orches­tra’s mu­sic direc­tor Mirga Gražinyte-Tyla.”

BCU vice-chan­cel­lor Philip Plow­den said: “Birm­ing­ham Con­ser­va­toire has nur­tured the tal­ent of many house­hold names, in­clud­ing singer-song­writer Laura Mvula, con­duc­tor Mike Seal and ac­tor Ni­col Williamson.

“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 sta­teof-the-art home for de­vel­op­ing the next gen­er­a­tion of tal­ented and ver­sa­tile per­form­ers, 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.”

Per­son­ally, I don’t think there will be an­other built in the UK Birm­ing­ham Con­ser­va­toiure prin­ci­pal Ju­lian Lloyd Web­ber, right

> Above: The new 80-seat East­side Jazz Club

> The new Con­ser­va­toire in East­side

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