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University trumpets construction of £12.5 million Music Centre

trumpets herald new music centreToday (Tuesday 24 July 2018) marks an important milestone in the development of Scotland’s performing arts infrastructure.

The official ground-breaking ceremony for the University of St Andrews’ new Laidlaw Music Centre heralds a state-of-the-art facility that will be at once an intimate performance venue, a flexible rehearsal space, and a high-tech recording facility.

The new music building will allow the University to provide first class facilities for talented students, many of whom engage in music at the highest level in parallel with their main academic studies. It will create new opportunities for young people to connect with performing arts, allow the University to host national and international level recitalists, and provide access to the latest recording technology. The building will include three rehearsal rooms, ten practice rooms, a recording suite, a library and one of the finest chamber recital halls in Scotland.

The University has funded the project with philanthropic support from donors including the McPherson Trust, Sir Ewan and Lady Brown, and Lord Laidlaw. At the ground-breaking ceremony it was announced that the new building will be named the Laidlaw Music Centre in recognition of the £4 million donation which turned vision into development.

Master of the United College, Professor Garry Taylor, said: “The Laidlaw Music Centre, together with the Byre Theatre, is positioned to transform the east end of St Andrews into an exciting and vibrant cultural quarter. Many of our students are attracted to St Andrews because of the quality of our provision in the performing arts, and these talented musicians will benefit enormously from the new music centre, helping to strengthen the town’s musical life, both within the University and within the community, and connect St Andrews with national and international cultural life in new ways.”

The development forms part of the legacy of the University’s 600th anniversary fundraising campaign, one of the most ambitious fundraising efforts ever undertaken by a Scottish university, which reached its £100 million total last month.

The University’s Director of Music, Michael Downes, said: “The Younger hall, where our current facilities are located, was never intended to house a busy music centre which in a typical week hosts around 40 ensemble rehearsals and almost 300 individual lessons, in addition to hundreds of hours of private practice. The new building will provide facilities to match the talent and ambition we see shining bright in the St Salvator’s Chapel Choir, Byre Opera, the University Chamber Orchestra, and St Andrews and Fife Community Orchestra. I am excited by the potential not only to transform the musical life of the University, but to contribute to Scotland’s cultural and social value.”

The Centre, designed by architects Flanagan Lawrence, is being built in central St Andrews on a site on Queens Terrace; contributing to the features of St Mary’s Quadrangle, while complementing the neighbouring St Regulus Hall student residence and the Bute Building.

Completion is expected in late 2019.


The new music centre is one of the projects funded by the University’s 600th Anniversary Campaign.

Visit the StAFCO website for more information about the St Andrews and Fife Community Orchestra.

Flanagan Lawrence is an award-winning, design-led practice of architects based in London.

Contact the University of St Andrews Communications Office.

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