Conservatorium (ETW building)
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A conservatorium is a school for musicians, specialising in the highly cultured music required for church and state occasions.
While the emphasis is on music for a cultured and upper class audience, the education provided by a conservatorium is practical and vocational. Those who pay the fees intend to earn a living as musicians, at the very least in the orchestra of a wealthy patron and, at best, as a composer of some renown, able to choose between commissions, patrons and even nations! A conservatorium has to provide what its customers want, and they generally produce well-polished musicians who can pass themselves off, when needed, as professionals or members of the minor gentry.
Historically, many of these schools began as either royal academies of music or choristers’ schools for the great cathedrals. All music had to be performed live, and the need for new, innovative and exciting music at every state or religious event required an enormous number of musicians – and talented composers with prodigious work rates! Great composers, such as Mozart or Handel, were celebrities and royal houses outbid each other in an effort to obtain their services as a prestigious ornament to a court.