A £31 million refurbishment of Chetham’s School of Music in Manchester has been completed.
Founded in the 15th century, Chetham’s is the largest specialist music school in the UK and now, with a new, modern home, this historitc centre of musical learning can provide state-of-the-art facilities for its student body of budding musicians.
Its newly upgraded, seven story layout features 50 music teaching rooms, 62 practice rooms and a Music Technology Centre. There is also a 100-seat Recital Hall and 400-seat Concert Hall, both of which are accessible to the public.
The building still has close connections with its original medieval site, though, with a steel footbridge linking the two structures, from the past to the present.
290 students study at the school every year, chosen for their musical potential no matter what their financial situation, and the new development will not only allow for an even greater intake in the future, but also the ability to extend top-quality music education to others in the community.
This is thanks to a new Outreach Centre for local groups and young musicians to use, as well as people using music as a form of therapy.
Indeed, Stephen Threlfall, director of Music at Chetham’s, said the new site will enable the school to enhance its creative and community activities in the future.
Michael Oglesby, executive project leader and feoffee of Chetham’s, added: “We have, today, built a new school of the highest quality and standards that the 21st century can provide, which is only appropriate for our truly outstanding students to allow them to grow and develop.
“I feel certain that in 600 years’ time everyone involved will look back and be proud of the values and the building that they have inherited.”
The school was endowed 600 years ago by Humphrey Chetham, who bought the original building to house the school and Chetham’s Library, the oldest lending library in the western world.