Friday 4 October 2013

Milton Court - Guildhall School of Music and Drama grows

Milton Court Concert Hall
Last week the Guildhall School of Music and Drama opened its new building, Milton Court. Across the street from the existing Guildhall School, it offers a new facilities for the students as well as providing the school with much needed expansion space. The existing building dates from 1977 and was intended for 340 students but the school now has almost 300. Milton Court was designed by David Walker Architects, with RHWL Architects as the lead consultant for the development.

The building has a public foyer with a new work by Martin Creed, Work No. 1637:FEELINGS, commissioned from the Turner Prize-winning artists specially for Milton Court. The 608-seat concert hall is the largest of any of the London conservatoires, and in addition there are two theatres, the 223-seat Milton Court Theatre and the Studio Theatre. The Guildhall School will, of course, be keeping their existing facilities in use which means they will have an enviable supply of different theatre spaces for the students. The Milton Court Theatre is a tradition proscenium arch. There is also a TV studio suite.

The expansion to Milton Court has also enabled changes to the existing Silk Street building, with former drama teaching spaces being given over to music. From this autumn, 42,000 addition hours a year of music and practice time will become available.

The Guildhall School of Music first opened on 27 September 1880, in a disused warehouse in the City. With 62 part-time students, it was the first municipal music college in Great Britain. The School quickly outgrew its first home, and in 1887 it moved to new purpose-built premises in John Carpenter Street. Initially, all tuition was on a part-time basis, but full-time courses were introduced by public request in 1920. Departments of Speech, Voice and Acting were added and by 1935 the School had added "and Drama" to its title. The School moved to its present premises in Silk Street as part of the City of London's Barbican in 1977.

There is a lively series of concerts planned for Milton Court and in addition to the Guildhall School performances, there are concerts by two of the Barbican Centre's new associated ensembles the Academy of Ancient Music and the Britten Sinfonia. For more information about events at Milton Court see the Guildhall School's website.

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