Plans to replace the shabby, makeshift buildings that have housed Sweden’s Royal College of Music for over half a century have been thrown back and forth for the last five years, but last spring the Land and Environment Court finally gave the go-ahead to construct what will be the world’s most modern music college.
Parts of the old school are now just rubble, teachers and students cram into what is left, but by the summer of 2016 the new campus, which is already under construction, will be completed. Connected by covered walkways, the two buildings will include four concert halls, the largest of which will have capacity for a full Symphony Orchestra.
Benny Andersson, a member of the Royal Swedish Acadamy of Music, said of the project: “Kungliga Musik Högskola educates world-class musicians and music teachers. KMH will produce songwriters, record producers and studio musicians who are able to work together with the world’s top artists. Therefore, it is important for Sweden and our extensive music tradition to continue investing in this indispensable music education.”
However, although the Academic House (Dept. of Education), will pay the SEK 750m (approximately US$115m, £ 75m) construction costs, the Royal College of Music must themselves find the additional SEK 114m (US$17.7m, £11m) needed to finance the infrastructure and interior of the new buildings. The problem is that the college largely lacks the money. It has received 45 million by two donations from the Knut and Alice Wallenberg Foundation and the Erling-Persson Family Foundation, but the remaining 69 million is not currently available.
“Had the Academic House funded the entire project, the music school’s rent would have risen much higher. We want to use the money for teaching instead. As the music world is changing, it is not cheap. We have to be a top class international education establishment,” explained the Royal College of Music’s newly appointed rector, Cecilia Rydinger Alin.
KMH has therefore taken the initiative and established ‘Music for Millions’, a fundraising project. According to Rydinger Alin the project’s success is absolutely critical: “We have a national mission. We will train the next generation of musicians and superstars. It is important for us to offer a music college that is world-class in terms of interior design, acoustics and technology,” she said.
Benny has become part of the business advisory group set up to steer the project. Speaking at yesterday’s press conference he said: “I hope to help in the acquisition of technology for the studios and concert halls through both technical advice and contacts that can reduce the price. The technical equipment is necessary. If you have not mastered the current technology, you cannot realise your musical ideas.
“If things go as is expected, it will also attract people who have nothing actively to do with music. I think they will find their way here and say, “This is a pretty nice place to be, we can see it, we can listen to it. It can really become a living place and I’ll do what I can to contribute to it.”