WORLD-leading pianist Peter Donohoe was on hand to officially launch Solihull School’s new £3-million state-of-the-art music centre.
A regular performer with international orchestras and made a CBE for his services to classical music in the 2010 New Year Honours List, Peter unveiled a plaque in the David Turnbull Music School as part of the school’s 450th anniversary celebrations.
Named after a former head of music, he was joined in the music school by David Turnbull’s widow Diana, Chairman of the Governors Graham Hughes, Headmaster Phillip Griffiths and hundreds of current and former pupils, teachers and friends.
Peter Donohoe, who lives close to the school, said: “This is a fantastic building that almost makes me want to start back at school all over again. Not only is it superbly equipped but its feel, shape and ambience are musically just right.”
Offering among the best school teaching, recital and recording facilities in the country, the stand-alone centre has become part of a new performance arts quarter that already includes a modern theatre and concert space in the Bushell Hall.
Designed by Birmingham architects Malcolm Payne Group as a stunning radiating structure with a ‘saw-tooth’ arrangement, the two-storey 1,500-sq m music school has replaced an outdated smaller facility that had become difficult for teaching.
With level access into a ‘street’ space and a large lift for pupils and their instruments, the centre incorporates acoustically and physically separated practice and teaching rooms, academic and recital spaces, and a percussion room and rock room. The rooms also have remote audio connections to a built-in studio with the latest digital facilities for the recording of performances and examinations pieces.
Phillip Griffiths, Headmaster, said: “We are delighted that such a world-renowned musician should honour us by officially opening our new music school.
“This major investment, funded by the school’s Endowment, demonstrates our commitment to offering successive generations of pupils the highest quality learning experience and provides a fitting tribute to our 450th anniversary.”