• James Waters Classical

Day 381 - The Future of St Mary's Music School

We have already noted what a treasure Scotland has in St Mary's Music School which has turned into a conveyor belt for brilliant young musicians. But the premises.... It is squashed into a small site near Palmerston Place in Edinburgh and is very much the poor relation of the other three specialist schools in the UK - Chetham's, Wells Cathedral School and the Purcell School. But there is hope. The old Royal High building on Calton Hill in Edinburgh offers a perfect site and sensational plans from Richard Murphy Architects are in place (Richard Murphy masterminded the redevelopment of Perth Theatre). However there is always politics. This historic site had been sold to hotel developers to create, I think, a 7 star hotel. The Dunard Fund who are astonishingly generous benefactors of the arts in Scotland supported St Mary's to come up with a visionary alternative to an overblown hotel design and outline planning permission has been grated for the project. Lo and behold, after years, the hotel plans were thrown out. However the City has still put the building's future out to tender. One only has to look at Princes Street to see what damage can be wrought by Edinburgh's planners and we can only pray that this time sense prevails and Scotland's brilliant young musicians get the base they so richly deserve.

See Richard Murphy's plans for St Mary's Music School at the Royal High here

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