Our History


1859 - Singing classes, followed over the years by harmony, counterpoint, piano, flute, clarionet and cello lessons, began in the Industrial Department of the Birmingham and Midland Institute.

1886 - All classes were grouped together as Section VIII Birmingham School of Music (BSM), with William Stockley as Honorary Principal.

1900 - 1950

1900 - Edward Elgar recommends Granville Bantock as the School’s first paid Principal.

1902 - Elgar is named the official “Visitor to the School”.

1948 - The School’s diploma courses are recognised as conferring Graduate status.

1950 - 2000

1963 - BSM gains independence from the Birmingham and Midland Institute.

1970 - BSM becomes a constituent part of the newly formed Birmingham Polytechnic, but retains its conservatoire status.
Cambrian Halls of Residence are opened in nearby Brindley Drive.

1973 - BSM’s purpose-built accommodation in Paradise Place is opened by HM Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother.

1981 - The Birmingham School of Music Association (later Birmingham Conservatoire Association) is founded.

1983 - The School validates its first degree course, the BA.

1986 - The Adrian Boult Hall is opened by HRH the Duchess of Gloucester.

1989 - Sir Michael Tippett OM celebrates the inauguration of ‘Birmingham Conservatoire’. Sir Simon Rattle CBE is named the first President.

1991 - The Conservatoire establishes its first international audition centre in Sweden. The BA is revalidated as the BMus (Hons) degree.

1992 - Birmingham Polytechnic is awarded university status and changes its name to the University of Central England in Birmingham. Having laid its foundations in the 1980s, the Conservatoire Junior Department is re-launched.

1993 - The Conservatoire’s Research programme is founded – the first in a UK conservatoire.

1994 - PgDip and MA (later to become MMus) programmes are introduced.

1995 - HRH The Prince Edward CVO formally opens the Conservatoire’s new ground floor extension, nicknamed “The Void”, including new practice rooms, a suite of organ practice rooms, two recording studios and a new lecture theatre.

1998 - The BMus (Hons) Raga Sangeet in North Indian music is introduced and runs for five years.

1999 - The BMus (Hons) Jazz course is introduced.


2001 - The BSc (Hons) Music Technology course is introduced in partnership with the Technology Innovation Centre.

2004 - Research at the Conservatoire is expanded to include a specialised Centre for Composition and Performance using Technology.

2005 - The Conservatoire becomes a founding member of CUKAS, the Conservatoires UK Admissions Service and changes its official name to ‘UCE Birmingham Conservatoire’. The Graduate Diploma in Jazz is introduced.

2006 - The Conservatoire becomes even more closely aligned with its partner institution Birmingham School of Acting, a recent addition to the University's performing arts portfolio.

2007 - The Conservatoire's parent university changes its name to Birmingham City University and begins a major programme of investment in both the fabric of the university and the student experience. Birmingham Conservatoire's links with the University's other creative arts providers are strengthened.

2008 - The PgCert (Specialist Performance) is introduced.

2015 - Professor Julian Lloyd Webber joins Birmingham Conservatoire as the new Principal, having retired from his career as an internationally celebrated cellist after an impressive solo career.

2016 HRH Prince Edward, The Earl of Wessex KG GCVO announced as Birmingham Conservatoire’s first Royal Patron.

2017 - Birmingham Conservatoire granted a Royal title by Her Majesty The Queen..

2017 - The new music facilities at Jennens road are opened, state-of-the-art teaching and performance facilities costing a total of £57 million. Including five stunning performance venues and over 100 practice rooms.

2018 The Concert Hall at Royal Birmingham Conservatoire officially renamed The Bradshaw Hall, reflecting the University’s enduring gratitude to a million-pound gift from a local entrepreneur.