New home for Melbourne musicians

Music at Melbourne will receive a boost after the Victorian Government gave the University of Melbourne a capital grant to develop a new building for the Melbourne Conservatorium of Music (MCM) at Southbank.

Melbourne Conservatorium of Music Southbank James Merlino, Acting Premier, and Martin Foley, Minister for Creative Industries, announced the University would be given a $3 million capital grant and an extended lease for the site at 33 Sturt Street in Southbank, allowing the University to proceed with development of a purpose-built facility in the very heart of the Melbourne Arts Precinct.

The project includes a new $105.5 million building (to be designed by John Wardle Architects) that will contain a 443-seat auditorium and a public square that will contribute to the community space plan for the Arts Precinct.

The new building will help consolidate existing MCM staff and students on the Southbank campus and create a dynamic new environment for music education and collaboration.

Professor Barry Conyngham, Dean of the Faculty of Victorian College of the Arts & Melbourne Conservatorium of Music (VCA and MCM), said the MCM’s new home would benefit both students and the wider community.

“The MCM is recognised as a key contributor in the Melbourne Arts Precinct, and working in partnership and collaboration with some of Australia’s leading arts organisations, we want to continue to inspire the next generation of musicians and teachers and help grow Australia’s vibrant arts and music sector.”

Professor Glyn Davis, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Melbourne, said the agreement with the Victorian Government was a welcome next step in the University’s engagement in the Arts Precinct.

“Thanks to the generosity of our many donors and partners, in the last two years we’ve committed to a redevelopment of the former Police Stables in Dodds Street, as well as the establishment of Buxton Contemporary, both located in the centre of the Arts Precinct,” he said.

“This latest development will further strengthen the relationships we have with our neighbour and partner organisations, helping to boost the Arts Precinct’s international reputation as a vibrant creative hub.”

Martyn Myer, Deputy Chairman of Believe - the Campaign for the University of Melbourne, worked alongside the Myer Foundation and the Ian Potter Foundation to make a contribution to the Conservatorium project. He said philanthropy has been critical in bringing the project into existence.

“The Conservatorium will be a new jewel in the crown of Melbourne’s legendary musical landscape, and one that demonstrates the profound effect of philanthropy on the cultural fabric of our city.”

Project construction is scheduled to begin in 2017, with the first MCM classes in the building to commence in 2019. The existing Conservatorium Building, including the renowned Melba Hall, will be retained on the University’s Parkville campus.

Part of the Faculty of the VCA and MCM, the Melbourne Conservatorium of Music is one of Australia’s oldest and largest tertiary music institutions. The Faculty teaches more than 7,000 students and attracts more than 31,000 visitors per year. Notable graduates of the Faculty include Peter Sculthorpe, Andrea Keller and Don Banks.