Former Royal High School to be reborn as National Centre for Music

A concept image of the new National Centre of Music.

A new future has been secured for Edinburgh's historic former Royal High School: a new National Centre for Music.

Edinburgh's historic former Royal High School is set to be reborn as a new National Centre for Music after the City of Edinburgh Council agreed to award a lease to the Royal High School Preservation Trust (RHSPT).

The category A-listed neoclassical building complex, which has lain largely unused since the Royal High School moved to a new home in 1968, is to be transformed into a new home for St. Mary’s Music School. £55 million of funding for the restoration and adaptation of the site has been pledged by the Dunard Fund. In addition to the boarding school, the new Centre will incorporate three public performance spaces, a café, gallery, visitor centre, and new public gardens. The project is expected to add around £100 million to the Edinburgh economy over 30 years.

Other project partners include the Benedetti Foundation, which provides orchestral music education workshops for young people.

Following a competitive tendering exercise, the RHSPT has been awarded a 125-year lease on the former Royal High School. Works to convert the building are expected to take around 30 months.

"The National Centre for Music presents us with an unprecedented opportunity to enrich the cultural life of Scotland and to serve as a beacon of true 21st century music education for the world to see", said Nicola Benedetti, founder and artistic director of the Benedetti Foundation. "The National Centre for Music will be a warm and welcoming place for all ages, abilities and backgrounds, where people can come together and be uplifted through participation in and appreciation of music."

Published: 8th October 2021