Chetham's School of Music in Manchester on the move (with audio)
PUBLISHED: 11:22 29 October 2010 | UPDATED: 18:05 20 February 2013
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Just yards from some of Manchesters busiest streets is an oasis of creativity and tranquillity where music, education and heritage meet. The world-renowned Chethams School of Music and the historic library, which is the oldest public library in the English speaking world, is housed in buildings which date back to 1421.
But the school, which is recognised around the world as a centre of musical excellence, is creating a new base next door - if it can raise the necessary money. Almost 30 million has already been secured but around 1million is still needed to complete the new building and a further 4 million to fit out the concert hall.
Chethams only became a specialist music school in 1969 and today 90 per cent of students receive support towards their school fees from the government, meaning Chethams is accessible to all, irrespective of background or financial circumstance. The only entrance requirement is musical aptitude and potential.
Many of the students go on to careers as conductors, instrumentalists and composers. Pianists Stephen Hough, Paul Lewis and Peter Donohoe, conductor David Hill, violinist Jennifer Pike and cellist Guy Johnston all started their musical training at Chethams, as did percussionist and actor Max Beesley.
But many of the current practice rooms are damp, crumbling and lack soundproofing. The schools concert hall, meanwhile, is too small to accommodate both the Chethams Symphony Orchestra and an audience together.
The new building will house the academic school, purpose-built music study and teaching rooms, a dedicated outreach and community centre, and two state-of-the-art concert venues.
And the school is now inviting donors to help them complete the project. Anyone who donates a minimum of 5,000 (or a minimum of 1,000 per year for five years) can join the Humphrey Chetham Club, giving them access to a variety of events. Supporters can also name rooms, and for those donating smaller sums, there is a Buy-A-Brick campaign, where individuals can buy a brick for 10.
To donate, or for more information about the project, and future recitals, go to www.chethams.com