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Leeds Conservatoire

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Leeds Conservatoire
Leeds Conservatoire logo 2020.png
Former names
Leeds Music Centre (1965–1971), City of Leeds College of Music (1971–1997), Leeds College of Music (1997–2020)
Established1965; 56 years ago (1965)
PrincipalJoe Wilson[1]
3 Quarry Hill, Leeds LS2 7PD
Colours  Blue
AffiliationsConservatoires UK
European Association of Conservatoires
Luminate Education Group
The conservatoire building in Quarry Hill in 2014
The conservatoire building in Quarry Hill in 2014

Leeds Conservatoire (formerly known as The Leeds Music Centre, the City of Leeds College of Music, and Leeds College of Music) is a higher education music conservatoire based in the Quarry Hill district of Leeds, England. It was founded in 1965 by Joseph Stones.

Aside from its education provision, which also includes short courses and programmes for adults and school-age musicians, Leeds Conservatoire hosts a seasonal programme of concerts, largely in its 350-seat auditorium 'The Venue'. In 2011, Leeds Conservatoire was awarded All-Steinway School status, becoming the only conservatoire in England to have 90% of its pianos from the Steinway family.[2][clarification needed]

Leeds Conservatoire became a wholly owned subsidiary of Leeds City College in August 2011, and is now a member of the Luminate Education Group.[3] In 2018, the conservatoire regained its status as a Higher Education Institution.



Leeds Conservatoire is partnered with Berklee College of Music as part of the Berklee International Network.[4] Leeds Conservatoire is also a member of Conservatoires UK and partner of the European Association of Conservatoires.

Academic profile


UCAS Admission Statistics
2017 2016 2015 2014 2013
Applications[5] 1,210 1,210 1,060 1,345 1,420
Enrols[6] 320 355 295 400 370

Leeds Conservatoire was dissolved as a Higher Education institution in 2009 after merging with Leeds City College. After regaining Higher Education status in June 2018, Leeds Conservatoire will again be listed on university league tables.[7]

Teaching and degrees

Undergraduate courses at Leeds Conservatoire are known as pathways; genres and styles of music that students choose to major in.[8] Courses include Business, Classical, Film Music, Folk, Jazz, Popular, Production, Songwriting, Musical Theatre, Acting and Actor Musician. Students may also choose to combine two pathways.[9] The conservatoire also offers a one-year Foundation Degree certificate providing students with an extra year before commencing their undergraduate study. Completion of any three-year undergraduate pathway will result in students being awarded a Bachelor of Arts. Leeds Conservatoire was the first music institution in Europe to offer a bachelor's degree in the study of Jazz music, and the first conservatoire in the UK to offer a degree in Popular music.[10]

Until September 2018 the conservatoire also ran Further education courses, including BTEC Music and Music Technology. All FE courses were moved to the Creative Arts Faculty of Leeds City College.[11]

The conservatoire also runs a one-year postgraduate programme in which students can study for a Master of Music or postgraduate diploma.[12]

Since September 2013, all undergraduate and postgraduate degree courses are validated by the University of Hull.[13]

In addition to degree courses, Leeds Conservatoire is also host to a series of short courses available to children and adults. This also includes Leeds Junior Conservatoire, previously known as the Saturday Music School, which runs courses available to children from ages 9–18.[14] On Sundays, the conservatoire is also a host for Yorkshire Young Musicians.[15]


Leeds Conservatoire was established in 1965 as the Leeds Music Centre, delivering extra-curricular music classes at the Leeds Institute building near Millennium Square, which now houses Leeds City Museum.[10] In 1971, it became known as the City of Leeds College of Music.[16] In 1993, the conservatoire launched the first Jazz degree in Europe.[17]

In 1997, the conservatoire was moved to purpose-built premises on Quarry Hill, neighbouring with the Leeds Playhouse, Northern Ballet and the BBC Yorkshire building.[16]

In 2009, the conservatoire announced plans to merge with Bradford University.[18] In the following year, Leeds Conservatoire instead received approval from the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) to merge with Leeds City College. On 1 August 2011, the conservatoire became a wholly owned subsidiary within the Leeds City College Group.[3] As a result, the conservatoire lost its Higher Education Institution status, and so all undergraduate and postgraduate degrees were validated, first by Bradford University, and now the University of Hull.

In 2012, Leeds Conservatoire received a £2 million refurbishment for its recording studios, performance and communal spaces. This also introduced raked seating to the conservatoire's main performance space, The Venue.[19] Funding from the government and additional private donations saw the conservatoire receiving 54 Steinway pianos in September 2011,[20] resulting in the conservatoire becoming the only All-Steinway school in England at the time.[2]

The Sounds Like THIS festival, initiated by the conservatoire, made its debut in March 2017, showcasing artists "who take bold new approaches to sound, incorporating electronic, classical, electroacoustic, opera and immersive visual installation".[21] The festival received a grant from Arts Council England for the 2018 season.[22]

In 2017, the conservatoire revamped its performance space The Venue with a rooftop extension.[23] In September 2017, Leeds Conservatoire unveiled the Leeds Music Library, a new location for their previously internal library space.[24] Following the library's relocation, the conservatoire invested £0.5 million to refurbish the fifth floor of the main building with new practice rooms and study space.[25]

In June 2018, the conservatoire regained its Higher Education Institution status.[7][26]

In 2019, the conservatoire partnered with Opera North.[27]

From 3 August 2020, Leeds College of Music adopted Leeds Conservatoire as its new name, following the launch of new degree courses in Acting and Actor Musician.[28]

Noted people


The conservatoire has exported a variety of notable alumni in different musical disciplines. This includes Jazz pianists David Newton, Nikki Iles, saxophonists Pete Wareham and Alan Barnes, trumpeters Chris Batchelor and Richard Iles, and guitarist Nick Webb. Badly Drawn Boy,[29] Snake Davis, John Thirkell, Adrian Snell, Matthew Bourne, James Lynch of Touch and Go, Michael Spearman of Everything Everything, Chris Sharkey of Trio VD and Acoustic Ladyland, Ryan and Gary Jarman of The Cribs, James Yeoburn Mark Holub and Brett Domino are also associated with the conservatoire. Dave Bainbridge, guitarist with Iona and later keyboards player for Strawbs, also studied there and won the BBC Radio 2 Best Jazz soloist award whilst at the conservatoire.

Singer John Newman received a BTEC in Popular Music from the conservatoire in 2010.[30]


Pianist Dame Fanny Waterman is former head of the Advanced Performance Course.[31] Jazz musicians Neil Yates, Nikki Iles, Mornington Lockett, Dave O'Higgins and Omar Puente have previously taught at the conservatoire, as has the noted saxophone specialist, Richard Ingham. The Jazz faculty includes many notable names including Jim Moray, Nancy Kerr, Bryony Griffith and Pete Flood of Bellowhead.[32]

Leeds Conservatoire also hosts masterclasses with visiting tutors, which in the past has included singer Barb Jungr, composers Sally Beamish and Gavin Bryars, baritone Sir Thomas Allen, soprano Deborah York, jazz saxophonist Andy Schofield and jazz guitarist Gilad Hekselman.


Leeds Conservatoire has had five principals since its opening in 1965.

  • Joseph Stones (1965–1993)
  • David Hoult (1993–2008)
  • Philip Meaden (2008–2014)[16]
  • Gerry Godley (2014–2020)[10]
  • Joe Wilson (2020–present)[1]

See also


  1. ^ a b Hartley, Kath (18 September 2020). "Leeds Conservatoire appoints new principal". Leeds Conservatoire. Retrieved 10 November 2020.
  2. ^ a b "All Steinway Schools". Steinway & Sons. Archived from the original on 5 July 2017. Retrieved 23 October 2017.
  3. ^ a b "Strategic alliance with Leeds College of Music". Leeds City College. 23 June 2011. Archived from the original on 23 March 2012. Retrieved 12 October 2017.
  4. ^ "Network Partners". Berklee College of Music. Retrieved 27 June 2018.
  5. ^ "End of Cycle 2017 Data Resources DR4_001_03 Applications by provider". UCAS. UCAS. 2017. Retrieved 27 June 2018.
  6. ^ "End of Cycle 2017 Data Resources DR4_001_02 Main scheme acceptances by provider". UCAS. UCAS. 2017. Retrieved 25 January 2018.
  7. ^ a b Hartley, Kath. "LCoM gains HEI status". Leeds Conservatoire. Archived from the original on 27 June 2018. Retrieved 27 June 2018.
  8. ^ "Undergraduate study". Leeds Conservatoire. Retrieved 12 October 2017.
  9. ^ "BA (Hons) Music (Classical with Jazz)". Leeds Conservatoire. Retrieved 12 October 2017.
  10. ^ a b c "Leeds College of Music: Celebrating 50 years". Yorkshire Evening Post. 9 October 2015. Retrieved 12 October 2017.
  11. ^ "Music Courses Coming to Leeds City College in 2018". Leeds City College. Retrieved 12 October 2017.
  12. ^ "Postgraduate Study". Leeds Conservatoire. Retrieved 12 October 2017.
  13. ^ Luquesi, Andrea (20 August 2013). "University of Hull and Leeds College of Music join forces as music partners". University of Hull. Archived from the original on 1 September 2013. Retrieved 12 October 2017.
  14. ^ "Junior LCoM". Leeds Conservatoire. Retrieved 12 October 2017.
  15. ^ "About YYM". Yorkshire Young Musicians. Archived from the original on 23 October 2017. Retrieved 23 October 2017.
  16. ^ a b c "Leeds College of Music". The Independent. 12 August 2013. Retrieved 12 October 2017.
  17. ^ "About Leeds College of Music". Leeds Conservatoire. Archived from the original on 12 October 2017. Retrieved 12 October 2017.
  18. ^ Rush, James (9 September 2009). "Leeds College of Music to come under university umbrella". Telegraph and Argus. Archived from the original on 30 September 2012. Retrieved 25 June 2018.
  19. ^ Heslett, Charles (22 August 2011). "Leeds College of Music set for major refurbishment". Yorkshire Evening Post. Retrieved 12 October 2017.
  20. ^ "Leeds College of Music gets dozens of Steinway pianos". BBC. 28 September 2011. Retrieved 12 October 2017.
  21. ^ "Sounds Like THIS". Leeds Inspired. Archived from the original on 6 December 2017. Retrieved 6 December 2017.
  22. ^ Hartley, Kath (30 November 2017). "First artists announced for Sounds Like THIS 2018". Leeds Conservatoire. Archived from the original on 6 December 2017. Retrieved 6 December 2017.
  23. ^ "First look: Performance space revamp for Leeds College of Music". Yorkshire Evening Post. 5 January 2017. Retrieved 12 October 2017.
  24. ^ Hartley, Kath. "Coming this September: Leeds College of Music Library". Leeds Conservatoire. Archived from the original on 12 October 2017. Retrieved 12 October 2017.
  25. ^ Hartley, Kath. "Level Five Open for Business!". Leeds Conservatoire. Archived from the original on 23 October 2017. Retrieved 23 October 2017.
  26. ^ Education (Designated Institutions) (England) Order 2018, SI 654/2018, made 23 May 2018, accessed 6 November 2018
  27. ^ Bradshaw, Melissa. "Opera North and Leeds College of Music announce new partnership". Rhinegold Publishing. Retrieved 7 July 2020. Check |archive-url= value (help)
  28. ^ Hutchinson, Andrew (16 July 2020). "Leeds College of Music unveils new name". Yorkshire Evening Post. Retrieved 16 July 2020.
  29. ^ Ingham, Daniel (14 July 2011). "Damon's a home boy". Yorkshire Evening Post. Archived from the original on 27 June 2018. Retrieved 27 June 2018.
  30. ^ Seaman, Duncan (9 October 2015). "Feel The Love: John Newman returns to Leeds". Yorkshire Evening Post. Archived from the original on 27 June 2018. Retrieved 27 June 2018.
  31. ^ Service, Tom (16 December 2014). "Dame Fanny Waterman retires from Leeds Piano competition". The Guardian. Archived from the original on 18 December 2014. Retrieved 27 June 2018.
  32. ^ "BA (Hons) Music (Folk) at Leeds Conservatoire". Leeds Conservatoire. Retrieved 16 September 2020.

External links

This page was last edited on 17 April 2021, at 08:36
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