The Duke of Edinburgh visits Royal Birmingham Conservatoire


His Royal Highness The Duke of Edinburgh returned to Royal Birmingham Conservatoire (RBC) at Birmingham City University (BCU) on Wednesday and met with representatives from leading institutions across the United Kingdom to discuss ways of making music more inclusive.

The Duke, pictured right with RBC Principal Stephen Maddock OBE, also sat in on rehearsals at the RBC’s Jazz Club, which included a performance from student Ben Shankland, recently crowned BBC Radio Scotland’s Young Jazz Musician of the Year.

BCU Vice-Chancellor Professor David Mba said it was an “honour” to welcome The Duke of Edinburgh back to RBC, adding: “The visit by His Royal Highness brought to light the significant work RBC undertakes to promote the study of music to people from all walks of life.

“Our University firmly believes in the value of arts for all, whether it’s in its transformative effect on individuals and society, or through its contribution to the economy.”

The Duke of Edinburgh was formally named as Birmingham Conservatoire’s first Royal Patron in 2016. The following year, the institution, which is home to some of the most talented music students from the UK and beyond, was granted its Royal title by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.

On arriving at the RBC on Wednesday, The Duke of Edinburgh was greeted by Professor Mba, RBC Principal Stephen Maddock OBE, High Sheriff of West Midlands Wade Lyn CBE, and Lord Mayor of Birmingham Councillor Chaman Lal.

Principal Maddock said he was “delighted” to host a visit from the Royal Patron and be able to introduce him to a number of RBC students and staff.

RBC student Ben was among them and said he was “thrilled” to have played for The Duke.

“I am really passionate about jazz, and it was great to be able to share that with The Duke of Edinburgh,” said Ben, a talented pianist. “It’s not every day that you expect to meet a member of The Royal Family in the Eastside Jazz Club.”

The discussion about the future of music provision included representatives from the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, National Youth Music Theatre, Chetham’s School of Music, London Mozart Players, Northern Ballet, National Youth Orchestras of Scotland and Shireland CBSO Academy.

The Duke’s tour of RBC’s musical facilities included the prestigious Organ Studio, which houses a Eule Pipe Organ and two Steinway grand pianos.

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