The Vancouver Academy of Music (VAM) is pleased to announce its participation in a multi-partner collaboration that will see Hong Kong’s historic Haw Par Mansion re-adapted into a state-of-the-art music academy, slated for completion in 2017. The Hong Kong Government awarded the project, valued at approximately 22 million Canadian dollars, following a competitive application process that called for proposals to restore heritage landmarks into public institutions.
VAM was invited into the partnership due to the Academy’s internationally recognized expertise in music education. The 44-year old institution will provide insight and guidance in developing the Hong Kong music academy’s curriculum, business model, and physical layout.
“Through this project we will build an organization that facilitates the highest caliber of learning and fosters significant international relationships,” said Joseph Elworthy, Executive Director of the Vancouver Academy of Music. “This institution will constitute a vibrant new bond between Hong Kong and Vancouver; creating two schools that are intersecting – not independent – and that are engaged in a constant exchange of faculty, students, and ideas.”
The full list of collaborators involved in the initiative includes Bing Thom Architects, business leader Tom Chan, The Hong Kong Chinese Orchestra, The Royal Conservatory of Music, and philanthropist Sally Aw, heiress to Tiger Balm, whose family originally built Haw Par Mansion in 1935. It was Aw who formed the Aw Boon Haw Foundation, which united the various parties and forwarded the redevelopment application, formerly known as the Haw Par Music Farm proposal, to the Hong Kong government.
The second will involve developing a systematic music training program modeled on those developed by the Vancouver Academy of Music and Royal Conservatory of Music.
The mansion is expected to complete its architectural conservation work for re-adaptive use in early 2017. An interim, off-site music academy will open in January of 2014, so that staff, curriculum, and an operational model are in place when the mansion’s re- adaptation is completed.
“The Royal Conservatory is delighted to collaborate with our strategic partner, the Vancouver Academy of Music, in bringing a pan Canadian method of music education to Hong Kong,” said Peter Simon, CEO and President of The Royal Conservatory of Music. “Canada has an impressive record of producing internationally acclaimed performing artists, many of whom have been the beneficiaries of the Royal Conservatory examination system. The combination of VAM’s operational expertise and the proven value of the Royal Conservatory’s examination curriculum, will undoubtedly have an appreciable benefit for future generations of Hong Kong musicians.”
The music academy project was selected following a comprehensive submission process where the Hong Kong government vetted many strong proposals for the ‘Batch III Heritage Revitalization Scheme’. The program exists to restore historic properties within the city and re-purpose them into organizations that serve and benefit the general public.
About Vancouver Academy of Music (VAM):
VAM is a non-profit institution founded in 1969 by the Community Arts Council of Vancouver. VAM is permanently housed in a modern facility at Vanier Park near the city centre with large classroom space, a library, teaching studios, the Koerner Recital Hall, rehearsal rooms for orchestra, choir, and ballet. The instructional programs at VAM offer a wide range of classical training for students of instrumental, vocal music, and ballet.
In addition to private lessons and class instruction, VAM students have the opportunity to participate in master classes, technique classes, opera workshops, and chamber music. For students of orchestral instruments, VAM is home to three symphony orchestras: Junior Symphony, Intermediate Symphony, and the VAM Symphony Orchestra under the direction of Maestro Leslie Dala.
From its inception, VAM has had one fundamental purpose: to improve substantially the quality of music training in Western Canada. Central to the curriculum, and constant at all stages of study, are private instruction and public performance. Accordingly, VAM recruits faculty members with strong professional backgrounds who are devoted to fostering a new generation of performers, teachers, composers, and audiences