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In tune. Informed. Indispensable.

New initiative, The Alternative Conservatoire is offering transformational solutions for the future of music education


  • The Alternative Conservatoire is a multi-disciplinary accelerator course for young music creators who defy conventional categorisation

  • Partnerships with Nonclassical, GOKUMI Ensemble, Freeze Productions, Rich Mix and funding by Arts Council England, Cosman-Keller Art and Music Trust and Marchus Trust, make this initiative entirely free for its participants

  • To celebrate the culmination of its inaugural accelerator course, Alternative Conservatoire Presents "Entwined" showcase concert - Saturday, 18th May at Rich Mix


The Alternative Conservatoire offers a multi-disciplinary accelerator course tailored for young music creators who both defy and feel alienated by institutional or traditional conservatoire categorisation, and who may also face financial constraints. Designed to match innovation in art with innovation in education, the course was created by Dr Joel Bell and Dr Bushra El-Turk and is entirely free for all participants.

In recent times, the music education landscape has been shifting. We have seen a series  of high-profile music departments face closures and our institutions are no longer serving the zeitgeist. Yet the need for innovative, inclusive, and accessible education has never been more pressing. Against this backdrop, the Alternative Conservatoire's three month accelerator programme stands out as a disruptor, delivering a transformational educational experience for young music creators.

Alternative Conservatoire three month accelerator course

Tailored for individuals outside of the mainstream, this course embraces post-classical, avant-pop and improvisational realms and cutting-edge disciplines of music, aesthetics and culture. Craft is central, with each participant contributing their unique perspectives, enriching the collective journey. This alternative education nurtures dynamic interactions, hands-on learning, and boundary breaking exploration of methodologies from both East and West.

During the intensive three-month course, young music creators receive personalised project development, mentor guidance, creative leadership, and immersion in a craft drawn from many cultures.  They study, learn, and work in a curated community of artists, musicians, and mentors who think differently. Collaborating with professional musicians in the 'house band', the cross-genre ensemble GOKUMI, they refine their craft through immersive workshops, lectures, and practical assignments. With no student fees and a tailored curriculum, the programme nurtures emerging talent in a supportive, creative environment.


Dr Joel Bell, Co-Director of the Alternative Conservatoire says
Alternative Conservatoire is for artists who struggle to find a home. We try to provide a community to develop your voice, experiment and relish living in those in-between spaces that make music exciting.

Dr Bushra El-Turk, Co-Director of the Alternative Conservatoire says
Alternative Conservatoire is a course that is tailor-made for the musical misfits of our generation. 

Ben McDonnell, Senior Lecturer (Fine Art), Norwich University of the Arts says
At a time when funding is harder to apply for and tuition fees other costs are exclusionary to undertaking higher education, the Alternative Conservatoire is uniquely placed to provide an expansive, bespoke and collaborative education to those that might not otherwise be able to access it.

Edie Bailey, music composer, Alternative Conservatoire says
Knowing who I am as a composer, and being able to confidently call myself  a composer - I can do that now. I have been given the time and space to find my own voice, compositionally. Especially within such an amazing group of talented individuals who have been able to inspire and support each other.


Alternative Conservatoire Presents "Entwined"

Showcase concert - 7.30pm Saturday 18th May at Rich Mix
Pre-concert talk at 6.15pm

To celebrate the culmination of its inaugural accelerator course, The Alternative Conservatoire invites you to a final concert showcase at Ric Mix on May 18th. This event will feature performances by nine emerging composers for cross-genre ensemble GOKUMI alongside the Conservatoire Artist Ensemble and Choir. This large interdisciplinary ensemble weaves together improvisation, global musical practices and storytelling.

Located on the Shoreditch fringe, The Premises serves as the backdrop for Alternative Conservatoire's progressive work in music education. Established in 1986 by local jazz musicians Dill Katz and Colin Dudman, it is a cornerstone of the London music scene that offers a cost-effective alternative to traditional recording studios whilst providing a vital space for nurturing creativity and artistic excellence. 

The Alternative Conservatoire is a new movement to redefine music education, empower emerging talent and non-traditional composers.  It seeks to create a more inclusive and equitable industry and a brighter future in music.


Watch the video:  ‘Life at The Alternative Conservatoire’

Join us on May 18th at Rich Mix and find out more about the Alternative Conservatoire’s three month accelerator programme at

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