UCE Birmingham Conservatoire

Birmingham Conservatoire is an international conservatoire and a major concert venue, its main platform being the Adrian Boult Hall. 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. However, in 2008, as part of the re-organisation of faculties it became a part of the Faculty of Performance, Media and English (PME).


Situated in Paradise Place, in the centre of Birmingham between Centenary Square and Chamberlain Square, the 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-fledged Bachelor of Music (BMus) degree.

The Conservatoire

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's approximately one member of staff for every two students. It is currently undergoing a complete refurbishment..

Around 500 students are currently 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.

An active Junior Department also takes place on Saturdays.


Conservatoire students perform regularly in the Conservatoire's concert venues, and also nationally 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.

  • Granville Bantock (1900 - ?)
Birmingham Conservertoire
  • George Caird (1993 - 2010)
  • Kevin Thompson (1988 - 1993)
  • Roy Wales (1987 - 1988)
Courses offered

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

  • Bachelor of Music honours degrees
    • BMus(Hons)
    • BMus(Hons) Jazz
  • Bachelor of Science honours degree
    • BSc(Hons) Music Technology
  • Graduate Diploma in Jazz
  • Postgraduate Certificate
    • PgCert
  • Postgraduate Diploma
    • PgDip (Music)
    • PgDip (Musical Theatre) - To be delivered jointly with Birmingham School of Acting.
  • Advanced Postgraduate Diploma
    • Advanced PgDip
  • Master of Music
    • MMus
  • Master of Philosophy
    • MPhil
  • Doctor of Philosophy
    • PhD

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. For a full list of staff members (including support staff), see Birmingham Conservatoire Staff website

Notable alumni
  • Richard van Allan - Opera Singer
  • Fred Thelonius Baker - Guitarist; Bassist
  • Stephen Mark Barchan - Composer, Music Copyist, Faber Music and United Music Publishers
  • Joe Broughton - Folk Fiddler
  • Rosa Campos-Fernandez - Clarinettist, Hallé
  • Dave Cliff - Jazz Guitarist
  • Sara Colman - Jazz Singer
  • Krzysztof Czerwinski - Organist; Conductor/Artistic Director, Polish Baroque Orchestra
  • Henry Fairs - Organist
  • Brian Ferneyhough - Composer
  • Mark Gasser - Concert Pianist, Thallein Ensemble, CBSO, SSO, CSO
  • Michael Gilfillan - Organist Peoria Cathedral, Conductor Opera Illinois
  • Duncan Honeybourne - Pianist
  • Albert Ketèlbey - Composer, Conductor
  • Steven Lloyd - Conductor, Cairo Symphony Orchestra
  • Joanna Kirkwood - Flautist, member of woodwind group; Trio Cappricio
  • Jim Moray - Singer, Producer
  • Helen O'Hara
  • 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 (Annie Lennox, Take That, Sugababes, Will Young, Mika, James Morrison) Musician, Producer, Writer
  • Ian Venables - Composer
  • John Webb - Composer
  • Jacqueline White - Soprano
  • Christopher Orton - Recorder
  • Pete Robertson - Drummer, The Vaccines
Notable Staff (Current & Former)
  • Meyrick Alexander - Bassoonist
  • Rutland Boughton - Composer
  • Gary Cooper – Conductor, Harpsichordist
  • Joe Cutler - Composer
  • Andrew Downes - Composer
  • Tony Dudley-Evans
  • Byron Fulcher - Trombonist
  • Andrew Glover - Composer
  • Rivka Golani - Violist
  • Denis Matthews - Pianist
  • Richard Causton - Composer
  • John Mayer - Composer
  • George Miles - Organist
  • Andrew Mogrelia - Conductor
  • Daniel Moult - Organist
  • Frank Mullings - tenor
  • Edwin Roxburgh - Composer; Conductor; Oboist
  • Howard Skempton - Composer; Accordionist
  • Jeffrey Skidmore - Conductor, Ex Cathedra
  • Paul Spicer - Conductor, Birmingham Bach Choir, Finzi Singers
  • Simon de Souza - Hornplayer
  • Ross Winters - Recorder
  • Annabel Knight - Recorder
  • Liam Noble - Pianist; Composer; Bandleader
  • Hans Koller - Pianist; Composer; Bandleader
  • Ed Bennett - Composer; Leader/conductor, decibel
  • Adrian Boult Hall