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Chetham's School of Music

Chetham's School of Music

Chetham's ¡s is a unique cultural institution that combines music, education and heritage. Home to the internationally renowned School of Music and Chetham's Library, the oldest public library in the English speaking world, Chetham's is a prestigious, surprising and awe-inspiring place to visit.

The lunchtime concerts performed by pupils are open to the public during term time and are free to attend. Tours are also available and start from £8.50.


The building that houses Chetham's is even older than the School and Library. It was built in 1421 to accommodate the priests of Manchester's Collegiate Church, and remains one of the most complete medieval domestic complexes to survive in England. The history and heritage of these buildings tell a story by turns of ecclesiastical, aristocratic and scholarly renown which are richly ingrained with English history. After the English Civil War and the Parliamentarian overthrow of the Lord of the Manor, a "Hospital School and Library" was founded in 1653 by Humphrey Chetham.

For centuries, Chetham's Hospital School continued as it had been established. It was in the 1950s and 60s that music was put down firm in the foundations and in 1969, a bold decision was taken to change the boys' Grammar School to a fully educational boarding, specialist Music School.


For over 40 years, Chetham's has thrived and gone from strength to strength. Its funding from the government's Music and Dance Scheme means that students are accepted based on their musical talent and potential, not background or ability to pay. The School prides itself on its accessibility, and 90% of students receive up to full government funding from this Scheme.

Chetham's is one of the most prestigious music schools in the world. Chetham's is the largest music school in the UK with 290 students aged 8 - 18, and it is the only music school based in the north of England.

Through a cutting-edge music programme, students enjoy exciting musical opportunities, often through collaborations with the region's cultural lights on projects and initiatives. Students develop a specialist interest to the highest professional level and all students receive choral training.

A vibrant concert diary presents students with the opportunity to perform on a variety of platforms ¨C we programme over 100 events year, which are featured in our Event Guide produced each term.

What also makes Chetham's so special are the medieval buildings it is housed around, which form an integral part of the Northwest's rich cultural heritage. Very nearly 600 years old, they help to create a very special magical atmosphere.

As a widely celebrated international music school, Chetham's is one of the Northwest's best assets in terms of its international appeal - students from around the globe study at the School and currently come from as far afield as China, Malaysia, Japan, Taiwan, Spain, Germany, Russia, and Brazil.

Students also enjoy much success on the competition circuit. In both 2010 and 2008, a third of the semi-finalists at the BBC Young Musician of the Year Competition were Chets students, with two of the five concerto finalists coming from Chetham's. Chetham's student Peter Moore was the youngest person ever to win the prize in 2008. Other recent successes include violinist Jiafeng Chen's Second prize win at the International Sibelius Violin Competition and Luke Burke's win of the BBC Proms / Guardian Young Composer Award.

Former Chets students include pianists Stephen Hough, Paul Lewis, Peter Donohoe, cellist Guy Johnston, violinist Jennifer Pike, conductor Daniel Harding, cellist Matthew Bailey and Jazz pianist Gwilym Simcock. Along with the long list of classical music successes, ex-Chets students include former Level 42 keyboard player Mike Lindup, actor Max Beesley, who achieved first recognition as percussionist with Jamiroquai and Roger Wright Controller at BBC Radio 3 and Director of The Proms!


Chetham's Library is the oldest public library in the English speaking world, which was famously visited by Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels, and remains open to visitors by prior arrangement.


Major developments are afoot to secure the future of Chetham's School of Music and Chetham's Library to reposition Chetham's from being a hidden gem to a national treasure. A new school building is being planned with space for the academic and teaching facilities alongside two performance spaces and an outreach centre. The developments will also see the revealing of Manchester's Medieval quarter.

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Location Details

Long Millgate
M3 1SB

Visit Website+44 (0)161 834 9644

Find nearest transport on map:Help 0.09 miles 0.11 miles 0.12 miles 0.14 miles 0.24 miles 8.27 miles

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