Founded in 1894, Yorkshire College of Music and Drama was established to introduce music, singing and drama to the people in our region
The College was the vision of the well respected Haddocks family who were very much part of the music-making scene in Leeds.
To add a bit of context, Queen Victoria was monarch, great composers such as Brahms, Debussy and Arensky were revered, the gramophone had not yet been invented and, Edward B. Marks and Joseph W Stern wrote and published the first ever illustrated sheet music ‘The Little Lost Child’ which sold over two million copies.
In 1965, the College became a non-profit making charitable trust. An important milestone which would help to make music, singing and drama tuition equally accessible to everyone.
Today, the College is again embracing change as it launches Music House an exciting proposition which will help to secure future sustainability, greater appeal and corporate audiences. The College’s charitable trust status will always underpin everything we do.
We believe Music House is the vehicle which will help us to reach out to BAME, disadvantaged and disability groups by offering competitive pricing for individual lessons and group ensembles.
The Early Years
30 years before the College was founded, the Haddocks were instrumental in brining the first orchestral concert to the newly built Leeds Town Hall which included compositions from Beethoven, Mozart and Rossini.
With the family’s guidance, the College continued to thrive during the early twentiethcentury when the baton was handed to Victor Helliwell. During Victor’s leadership it established its reputation as a centre of excellence for singing and drama. In1964 when Victor passed away, not only did the College find itself without premises, but because Victor hadn’t made a Will – for legal reasons — the College had to change its name from Leeds College of Music (which it had been known as to this point) to Yorkshire College of Music and Drama.
A tribute to Madame Stiles-Allen
Eventually, renowned soprano Madame Stiles-Allen came to the rescue as benefactor. Her protégées included none other than Julie Andrews who started singing lessons with Madame Stiles-Allen at the age of eight.
After hearing about the difficulties the College was facing, she generously made her house available to its students. In 2010 the College moved to St Mark’s House in the heart of Leeds educational quarter. Excellent facilities mean the College can provide quality music tuition for years to come and it’s an important music hub in the city for groups and choirs.