Superhero welcome for HRH The Earl of Wessex during Conservatoire visit

Earl of Wessex

HRH The Earl of Wessex KG GCVO has enjoyed his first visit to Birmingham Conservatoire as its Royal Patron. 

The Earl of Wessex was welcomed on Thursday 5 May in the Adrian Boult Hall by the music academy’s Brass Ensemble performing John Williams’ theme from the 1978 film ‘Superman’ ahead of their Conservatoire Brass at the Pops concert in the evening. 

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. 

“The institution’s new home will be the first purpose built conservatoire of its kind in the UK since 1987 and the first built for the digital age. Looking ahead to this, we were able to offer The Earl of Wessex a glimpse of how Birmingham Conservatoire will inspire the next generation of performers, teachers and audiences.” 

Received by Professor Allan and Professor Lloyd Webber, along with Professor David Roberts, Executive Dean of the University’s Arts, Design and Media Faculty, His Royal Highness went on to meet with students from a variety of courses in the institution’s Library, as well as explore its cutting edge Recording Studio. He also met members of Birmingham Conservatoire’s team over refreshments in the Principal’s Office. 

The Earl of Wessex’s tour of Birmingham Conservatoire concluded in the Recital Hall with a piano performance of ‘Hungarian Rhapsody No. 11’ by Liszt, performed by postgraduate student György Hodozsó, who also hails from Hungary. 

The Earl of Wessex was announced as Birmingham Conservatoire’s first Royal Patron in March this year. It reflects his great interest in the arts in both his public role and private life, with His Royal Highness regularly attending concerts and theatre shows associated with his patronages. 

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. 

The visit by The Earl of Wessex comes during ‘City of Sounds – Saying Goodbye to Birmingham Conservatoire’s Adrian Boult Hall’, in conjunction with Greater Birmingham Chambers of Commerce. The festival marks the Hall’s closure after 30 years, but also looks ahead to its new home. 

Professor Julian Lloyd Webber, Principal, Birmingham Conservatoire said: 

“The Earl of Wessex’s Royal Patronage is a wonderful endorsement for what we are striving to achieve at Birmingham Conservatoire. It rewards all the hard work carried out by its staff and students to ensure it is ready to take its place as the 21st Century’s first digital conservatoire. 

“During the visit, I was delighted to be able to update His Royal Highness on the progress of the Conservatoire’s new £56 million home currently being constructed in the Eastside region of the City. I am looking forward to welcoming The Earl of Wessex back to the Conservatoire as soon as our new building is finished!” 

‘City of Sounds’ closes on Sunday 26 June with the Birmingham Conservatoire Symphony Orchestra and Chorus performing Verdi’s ‘Requiem’ conducted by Sir Richard Armstrong – which will also be broadcast live on BBC Radio 3.

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