Music chiefs back plans for iconic Edinburgh building


MUSIC industry leaders have backed a bid to site Scotland’s only independent music school in a landmark Edinburgh building.

The Royal High School on Calton Hill. Pic: Wikicommons/Suprgolden

Mercury music Prize judge Simon Frith, percussionist Dame Evelyn Glennie and the Queen’s former composer Sir Peter Maxwell Davies want St Mary’s Music School to take over the Royal High School building on Calton Hill.

If successful, it is set to become Scotland’s newest concert venue as well as a top-notch school for young musical talent.

The news comes just weeks after plans to turn the stunning A-listed building into a hotel were rejected.

Mr Frith, who has chaired the Mercury Prize since 1992, said: “This is a wonderful opportunity for the school and would make a major contribution to the musical life of Edinburgh and Scotland.

“This is too good an opportunity to miss.”

Dame Glennie wrote on Twitter: “Hugely excited by @stmarys_music plans at former Royal High School site.

“Massive opportunity for music and the arts in Scotland.”

Sir Peter Maxwell Davies, who was Master of Queen’s Music for ten years, said: “I strongly support the enlightened proposal to restore the former Royal High School as a home for St Mary’s Music School.

“It is essential that we continue to invest in the future of specialist music education in this country.

He added: “The proposed development of this iconic building would celebrate the many achievements of St Mary’s Music School and its pupils and would blaze abroad Edinburgh’s commitment to Scotland’s young musicians and the country’s vibrant culture.”
City of Edinburgh Council had agreed a lease on the building with hotel developers in 2010, subject to planning permission.

St Mary’s music school teaches children between nine and 19, and is linked to St Mary’s Cathedral in Edinburgh.

It is currently at Grosvenor Crescent, near Haymarket station in the city