It has been announced that Julian Lloyd Webber has been appointed as principal of Birmingham Conservatoire. Mr Lloyd Webber is set to take over from the current principal, David Saint, who is due to retire in April.
Once Mr Lloyd Webber has taken up his position, he will be leading the organisation through a number of changes, including the construction of a building at the new Birmingham City University campus. This will see a £46 million new building constructed on Birmingham's Eastside.
Plans are also in place that will see the conservatoire merging with Birmingham School of Acting at some point in 2017. Mr Lloyd Webber certainly seems to have his work cut out for him with the latest round of changes.
As part of his duties, the new principal is responsible for everyday management of the conservatoire, which includes aspects like student experience, overseeing the academic programme and external relations.
This is a great step for Mr Lloyd Webber, who announced in April 2014 that he was having to retire from performing thanks to a neck injury. While he will no longer be playing the cello professionally, this new role will allow him to pursue his interest in musical education, for which he is a strong advocate.
Mr Lloyd Webber said of the appointment: "I am honoured and thrilled to be chosen as the new principal of Birmingham Conservatoire. The state-of-the-art facilities being built within Birmingham City University’s superb campus will be second to none and superior to many, both throughout the UK and beyond. I am especially excited about the fantastic opportunities that will be on offer to our students."
His new position will serve to boost the classical music credentials of Birmingham, which is already home to the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra and three concert halls that are held in high regard.
The university's vice chancellor, Cliff Allen, said: "Julian’s appointment is great news for the Conservatoire as it looks forward to moving to a superb new home, as well as for Birmingham City University and for the whole city – confirming its status in classical music education and performance.
“Julian has had an extraordinary career as a performer and recording artist, working with some of the great names in music. Just as importantly, he has shown a lifetime passion for musical education, making him the perfect appointment for Birmingham City University.”