UNIVERSITY NEWS LAST UPDATED : 27 JANUARY 2016
Birmingham Conservatoire Principal Professor Julian Lloyd Webber has been named President of the Birmingham and Midland Institute (BMI).
Professor Lloyd Webber follows in the historic footsteps of previous BMI Presidents including Charles Dickens, Charles Gore – the first Bishop of Birmingham – and Austen Chamberlain, who was awarded the 1925 Nobel Peace Prize.
Founded by an Act of Parliament in 1854 to pursue the diffusion and advancement of science, literature and art, today the BMI offers a wide-ranging programme of arts and science lectures, as well as exhibitions and concerts.
The President is a figurehead for the BMI and is encouraged to help shape the Institute’s programme, especially when related to their expertise in their respective fields. The President can also chair any meeting of the BMI’s Governing Council or its various committees.
Birmingham Conservatoire itself has its origins in the Birmingham and Midland Institute when, in 1886 a group of associated subjects in the Institute’s programme were brought together to form the Birmingham School of Music. Granville Bantock was appointed as the first Principal in 1900.
The School of Music – renamed Birmingham Conservatoire in 1989 – is today part of Birmingham City University and is one of the leading music academies in the country. Internationally renowned cellist Professor Lloyd Webber took up the role of Principal in 2015.
“I always enjoyed visiting Birmingham as a performer but now I am living here I never fail to be impressed by the world class entertainment on offer in the city, as well as the thought-provoking events and courses offered by such centres as the BMI.”
Several independent societies are affiliated to the BMI, using its Grade II* listed premises on Margaret Street for their meetings and activities – including the Birmingham and Warwickshire Archaeological Society, the British Russian Society and the Birmingham and Midland Society for Genealogy and Heraldry. Birmingham Conservatoire is also among this list of distinguished residents, with some students already receiving tuition at the site.
This number is set to increase during the next academic year, as the current Conservatoire building closes and migrates to its new £46 million home in the Eastside region of the City, which is due to open in 2017.
Philip Fisher, Administrator and General Secretary from the Birmingham and Midlands Institute said:
“The Council and members of the Institute are delighted that, at a time when there is a significant degree of collaboration between the BMI and the Conservatoire, Professor Lloyd Webber has accepted the Institute’s invitation for him to be President for the year.”
The decision regarding Professor Lloyd Webber’s appointment was announced at the Institute’s Annual General Meeting on Monday 18 January.