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Manchester's creative scene set for musical revival with major new academic centre

Manchester's creative scene set for musical revival with major new academic centre

UK’s leading specialist Popular Music College, transforms legendary music hang-out with £1m facility

Manchester is globally renowned for its rich musical heritage and plethora of talent, and later this year it's set for a musical renaissance when Access to Music opens its 9th centre in the former legendary Jilly’s Rockworld and Music Box nightclubs (AKA Fagins and Rafters), on Oxford Street.

The purpose-built centre is breathing new life into a building where many musical names once graced its floors and is creating a suite of rehearsal rooms, a full-size recording studio, spacious class rooms and a dedicated performance space (with a capacity of approx.100 people).

The centre is the first of its kind in Manchester and has been created for young musicians from across the region by Access to Music.

Established in 1992, Access to Music aims to develop a student’s creativity, intellect and vocational ambition and has developed a bespoke music curriculum with Rockschool, the UK’s only popular music awarding body. To date, the college has trained thousands of performers and producers, including BRIT award winning Ed Sheeran and chart topper Rita Ora.

Chief Executive Adrian Armstrong said: “Depeche Mode, Joy Division, Lisa Stansfield and Edwin Starr, are just some of the names that have a history with our new building and we’re extremely excited about training the next generation of musical talent from a place that has such a rich musical heritage, embracing genres from electronic, pop, rock and all manner of styles in between”.

The new building is owned by Bruntwood and the centre has been designed by Atul Bansal from the Sheila Bird Group.

Speaking for Bruntwood, Property Marketing Director Colin Sinclair said: “This has been a very exciting project for the team here at Bruntwood and we are proud to be bringing the space back into use for the music industry. Access to Music will bring a new era of creative talent through the doors of St. James’ and it further enhances our plans for West Village”.

There are a limited number of places available for 16-18 year olds on a variety of music performance and music technology courses. Anyone interested in starting a course in September is encouraged to attend the open day on Wednesday 6th August (3.30 – 5.30pm) at Manchester Music Base, 77 Newton Street, M1 1EX or register their interest by visiting www.accesstomusic.ac.uk. Courses will start at Manchester Music Base in September and transfer to the Oxford Street centre in October.

Access to Music has a number of patrons, including Sir George Martin CBE and Jools Holland. In April 2013 it was awarded a ‘Good’ grade in full Ofsted inspection.