HRH The Earl of Wessex becomes Birmingham Conservatoire’s first Royal Patron

HRH Prince Edward

HRH Prince Edward, The Earl of Wessex KG GCVO has been announced today (Friday 18 March) as Birmingham Conservatoire’s first Royal Patron. 

The Earl of Wessex's decision to become a Royal Patron of Birmingham Conservatoire is a reflection of his great interest in the arts in both his public role and private life, and His Royal Highness regularly attends concerts and theatre shows associated with his patronages.

Part of Birmingham City University, Birmingham Conservatoire is one of the leading music academies in the country. Internationally renowned cellist Professor Julian Lloyd Webber took up the role of its Principal in 2015, as the Conservatoire prepares to move to a new state-of-the-art facility next year.

Professor Cliff Allan, Vice-Chancellor, Birmingham City University said:

"Birmingham Conservatoire is at a pivotal moment in its distinguished 130 year history. It will move to an outstanding new £56 million home in 2017, under the leadership of a Principal with a clear vision for the future of music education. It will become a new cultural landmark for the West Midlands and a pioneer in the training of musicians and performers for the digital age.

Birmingham Conservatoire

Birmingham City University

The announcement not only acknowledges the artistic excellence of Birmingham Conservatoire, currently ranked top of all UK conservatoires for student satisfaction, but also further reinforces the City’s reputation as home to world-class music and performing arts.

Professor Julian Lloyd Webber, Principal, Birmingham Conservatoire said:

"I am delighted to announce that HRH The Earl of Wessex has accepted Birmingham Conservatoire's invitation to become its Royal Patron. This is an enormous accolade to receive from His Royal Highness and is a testimony to the wonderful achievements of our team at the Conservatoire."

Professor David Roberts, Executive Dean of the Arts, Design and Media, Birmingham City University said:

"We are truly honoured and delighted that His Royal Highness has agreed to become Royal Patron of the Birmingham Conservatoire. This caps an extraordinary period when we have been recognised as the UK's leading conservatoire for student satisfaction and research intensity.

"With our new building due to open in 2017, exceptional work on display in Symphony Hall and across the region, and a growing portfolio of international projects and connections, there has never been a more exciting time for this great Birmingham institution. Under Julian Lloyd Webber's leadership it will grow to still greater heights in the forthcoming years."

The practice of members of the Royal Family lending their names to organisations through formal patronages is thought to have been around for about 300 years. Patronages generally reflect the interests of the member of the Royal Family involved.

The first recorded patronage was George II’s involvement in the 18th century with the Society of Antiquaries, an organisation concerned with architectural and art history, conservation and heraldry. The society still exists today and retains its Royal patronage through The Duke of Gloucester’s involvement.

Image caption: © 2013 The Royal Household Bagshot Park/Image by Millie Pilkington

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