Investing in the next generation of creative talent

Artist Impression of new Melbourne ConservatoriumMelbourne’s Southbank is set to become one of the world’s best training grounds for the arts, with the construction of a new Melbourne Conservatorium of Music to add to the best cultural precinct in the nation.

Acting Premier James Merlino today announced the project – a partnership between the Andrews Labor Government and the University of Melbourne – which will expand and relocate the University’s elite music education and research facility from Parkville to Southbank, opening to students in 2019.

“Southbank is already home to an extraordinary concentration of top calibre arts training facilities, as well as the best art galleries and performance venues in the country,” said Acting Premier James Merlino. “The Conservatorium will bring students from around Victoria, Australia and the world, giving them the skills for the rest of their career.”

Home to the Victorian College of the Arts (VCA), the VCA Secondary School theatres and The Australian Ballet School, Southbank is already a magnet for the best and brightest young talent. The new Melbourne Conservatorium of Music will bring thousands of new local and international students to the area.

The Conservatorium – to be built on 33 Sturt Street next to the Melbourne Recital Centre and the Southbank Campus of the VCA and MCM – will be the best in Australia, offering most comprehensive range of music courses.

Bringing together the VCA and MCM, the project will create a vibrant hub for students in the heart of Melbourne’s art culture precinct. To be designed by John Wardle Architects, the new $105.5 million building will help consolidate existing MCM staff and students on the Southbank campus. The project will include a 443-seat auditorium, as well as a public square that will contribute to the community space plan for the Melbourne Arts Precinct Blueprint.

“This will be a truly world-class conservatorium, one that will deliver enormous benefits to Victoria,” said University of Melbourne Vice Chancellor, Professor Glyn Davis. “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, while also creating a dynamic new environment for music education and collaboration.”

The Labor Government is contributing the land under a long-term lease arrangement, as well as $3 million. The $105.5 million development is expected to generate $350 million for the state and create more than 2,000 jobs during construction. The project is supported by major philanthropic partners.

“Victoria is home to the most vibrant independent arts sector – a creative powerhouse and significant source of employment in the arts,” said Minister for Creative Industries, Martin Foley. “We are backing our creative talent all of the way – from creative opportunities for school kids to the best tertiary training and the best infrastructure to support our vital independent arts sector.”

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Image: Artist Impression of the new Melbourne Conservatorium of Music – courtesy of John Wardle Architects