Alun Jones, who joined Chetham’s as Principal in September 2016, introduces the School, its ethos and history, and the opportunities it brings to students, communities and audiences across Manchester.
“Chetham’s is the largest specialist music school in the UK, and the only one in the north of England. Originally established as a charity school in 1653, it became a co-educational, specialist music school in 1969 and, over the last 50 years, has established itself as a central part of music education in the UK.
Chetham’s students learn and play in a state-of-the-art New School building, opened in 2012 to provide acoustically designed practice rooms, performance spaces and rehearsal rooms. A full programme of performances takes place in School and across the region, with senior ensembles travelling regularly to London and overseas.
A new, professional concert hall, The Stoller Hall, will further enhance the School’s place in Manchester’s cultural community, bringing international artists to perform at Chetham’s and providing a performance space to match the superb standards of playing by our School’s young musicians.
Chetham’s is so much more than a music school. As well as educating the choristers of Manchester Cathedral, it’s a centre of academic excellence, whose students progress not only to leading conservatoires and music careers, but to universities and professional pathways in law, medicine, languages and politics. Students’ wider creativity is celebrated through strong art and drama programmes, whilst superb facilities for ICT, music technology and science, and high quality teaching in small classes across all subjects, all contribute to their academic success.
Our city centre site is home as well as school to over two thirds of its 300 students, aged 8-18. Boarders enjoy access to sports and play facilities onsite, and to trips and activities set up by house staff who are solely dedicated to our students’ wellbeing and their welfare. The city of Manchester itself – with its vibrant shopping, music and culture – provides students with a high degree of freedom to explore independently and to develop as responsible young adults.
This unparalleled programme attracts students from across the world, making it a truly international community which celebrates every student’s individuality, passions and potential. Those who join the Chetham’s community – whether as students, staff, parents or audiences – comment on the special atmosphere in the school – an atmosphere which allows every individual to learn, develop and share their skills.
Joining Chetham’s only this year I was particularly impressed by the School’s genuine care and interest of every young person’s development; but not only as a well educated, resilient young musician, but as caring citizens. Our students are so willing to celebrate the success of others.
The invitation to share in this community is not limited to potential students. A vibrant programme of public concerts, in School, across the region and further afield, means that audiences can experience the musical skill and youthful energy of Chetham’s students in performance – whether in a solo recital, chamber concert or our symphony orchestra. Visitors with a historical interest are warmly welcome at Chetham’s Library, the oldest public library in the English speaking world; and a full professional concert programme in The Stoller Hall will attract lovers of classical and contemporary music, comedy and spoken word.
Chetham’s really is, truly, an oasis in the heart of Manchester; a space which unites ancient and modern, culture and history. We look forward to welcoming you very soon.”