Historical image of the Con
Faculties and schools_

Our history

Over 100 years of history
For over a century, the Sydney Conservatorium of Music has influenced the nation's musical landscape through music education and performances of international standard. This is our story.

From the top

  • Early aerial view of the Con

    1915 - Official opening

    Conservatorium of Music officially opens under directorship of Belgian conductor and violinist Henri Verbrugghen, with the aim of ‘providing tuition of a standard at least equal to that of the leading European Conservatoriums’.
  • Poster for Henri Verbrugghen's Conservatorium Orchestra

    1916 - Conservatorium Orchestra is established

    Henri Verbrugghen establishes the Conservatorium Orchestra, Australia’s first full-time orchestra made up of staff and students of the Conservatorium.
  • The Con High School

    1918 - The Con High School opens

    The Conservatorium High School is the secondary arm of the Sydney Conservatorium of Music and the State’s only specialist music high school.
  • Opera School's performance of Hugh The Drover by Vaughan Williams

    1934 - Conservatorium Opera School is launched

    Dr Edgar Bainton becomes the third Director of the Conservatorium and launches the Conservatorium Opera School.
  • Sir Eugene Goosens

    1948/50 - Sir Eugene Goossens transforms the Con

    In 1948, Sir Eugene Goossens begins as fourth Director of the Conservatorium producing major works such as Judith, starring a young Joan Sutherland. In 1950, famed conductor Dr Richard Bonynge, graduates from the Conservatorium stating that ‘Goossens turned the Conservatorium into a genuine world-class institution, lifting standards and exposing students to sophisticated twentieth century scores’.
  • Greenway building expansion

    1957 - Greenway Building is expanded by Sir Bernard Heinze

    Sir Bernard Heinze begins as fifth Director and starts building expansion on the northern and eastern sides of the Greenway building.
  • Anderson Stuart Building

    1990 - Amalgamation with the University of Sydney

    Conservatorium of Music amalgamates with the University of Sydney as part of the Dawkins higher education reforms, and renamed the Sydney Conservatorium of Music, led by Associate Professor Ronald Smart, tenth Director of the Conservatorium from 1992.
  • Aerial view of renovations

    1997 - Major upgrade

    NSW State Premier Bob Carr announces major upgrade of the Conservatorium.
  • Aerial view of the Con

    2001 - The new Conservatorium opens

    The new Conservatorium opens in 2001 with three new concert halls, major library facilities, sound-proofed studios, practice rooms and offices, while removing 1960s additions to allow the castellated Gothic style of Greenway’s building to be seen from a distance.
  • Representatives from the Asia-Pacific Music Institutions standing on Opera House steps

    2012 - Association of Asia-Pacific Music Institutions is established

    Dr Karl Kramer, thirteenth Dean of the Conservatorium, consolidates and expands the conducting program and founds the Association of Asia-Pacific Music Institutions.
  • Celebratory jazz concert

    2015 - Centenary celebration

    The Sydney Conservatorium of Music celebrates 100 years.
  • Portrait shot of Professor Anna Reid

    2016 - Professor Anna Reid appointed as new Dean

    Professor Anna Reid, an accomplished string musician and alumna of the Con, is appointed as the new Dean of the Sydney Conservatorium of Music.