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Inspirational new RCM given the green light

Thursday 15 October 2015


UK planning permission has been granted for the Royal College of Music’s transformational development in South Kensington, enabling one of the world leaders in music education to deliver its vision for the highest-quality learning environment and an enhancement of its public accessibility.

Some of the most pioneering and influential musicians in British and International music life were students or professors at the RCM, including Gustav Holst, Ralph Vaughan Williams, Benjamin Britten, Michael Tippett, Joan Sutherland, Andrew Lloyd Webber, Sarah Walker, Thomas Allen, James Galway, John Lill, John Wilson and Alfie Boe. The developments planned as part of More Music: Reimagining the Royal College of Music will not only enhance the learning environment for students providing new performance spaces, recording facilities and practice rooms but also transform the College’s public engagement programme, allowing more people than ever before to connect with the RCM in a variety of ways.

Renowned architect John Simpson has reimagined the College’s site opposite the Royal Albert Hall and HRH The Prince of Wales, President of the RCM since 1993, is Patron of the RCM’s More Music campaign to fund the development, a much needed and significant investment in professional music education in the UK.  The development, a multi-million pound project, will be funded through a mixture of private and public investment.

Professor Colin Lawson, Director of the Royal College of Music, explains the need for this development: “The Royal College of Music’s performance at the top of league tables is a tribute to our world-class professors and talented students. Our vision is to support the great musicians of the future by providing the very best learning environment whilst also opening up the conservatoire to the general public so that they can connect with our high-quality music-making as never before.”

Lily Harriss, Director of Development, comments: “The Royal College of Music has a strong history of philanthropy which goes all the way back to its founding ethos.  This development will deliver more music to more audiences, allow for the excellent RCM Research department to expand their important work in the health arena, allow us to work with schools in areas of deprivation to encourage music-making and skills development and provide further outstanding opportunities and support for talented young musicians.”

Professor Lord Winston, Chairman of the Royal College of Music, comments: “South Kensington is London’s original cultural quarter, home to an extraordinary group of world-leading organisations in both the arts and sciences.  The Royal College of Music’s vision for greater public access to high-quality music-making is yet another tremendous boost to this unique area.”

Development plans centre on the open internal courtyard space that sits at the heart of the RCM’s Prince Consort Road campus opposite the Royal Albert Hall, and will facilitate the creation of two new flexible and technologically-advanced performance spaces for rehearsals, masterclasses, performances and collaborative music-making. The RCM Museum will also benefit from a new, permanent and accessible home to display its significant Special Collections in an interactive context.  The Royal College of Music will now begin a process looking to identify the optimum time to begin the project.