Elder Conservatorium of Music

The Elder Conservatorium of Music was formally constituted in 1898 as the result of a major philanthropic bequest from the will of the Scottish-Australian pastoralist, Sir Thomas Elder.

An earlier philanthropic donation from Elder had helped to establish the Elder Professorship of Music in 1883, with the first incumbent, Joshua Ives, taking up the position the following year. The Elder Conservatorium of Music and its forerunners have been integral parts of the University of Adelaide since Ives’ era.

In its current form the Elder Conservatorium of Music is a product of three mergers: one in the late nineteenth century (1898) with the Adelaide College of Music; one in the late twentieth century (1991), with the School of Performing Arts of the then South Australian College of Advanced Education; and one at the beginning of the twenty-first century (2001), with the School of Music of the Adelaide Institute of TAFE (aka Flinders Street School of Music).

As one of Australia’s oldest and most distinguished tertiary music schools, the Elder Conservatorium plays a leading role in Australia’s musical landscape. It has a substantial history in the intensive professional training for musical performance, musical composition, research in all fields of music, and comprehensive music education.

Formerly a Faculty of the University (the Faculty of Music) it is now constituted as a professional School within the Faculty of Arts. Since 2002 it has been an associate member of the Association of European Conservatoires (AEC), and is also a partner school of the Helpmann Academy, an umbrella body created by the State Government of South Australia to promote collaboration between various schools of visual and performing arts.