The Guildhall School of Music and Drama is a conservatoire and drama school located in the City of London, United Kingdom. Established in 1880, the school offers undergraduate and postgraduate training in all aspects of classical music and jazz along with drama and production arts. The school has students from over seventy countries. It was ranked the number one UK conservatoire in the 2021 Guardian league tables for music and as the sixth university in the world for performing arts in the 2020 QS World University Rankings.

Based within the Barbican Centre in the City of London, the school currently numbers just over 1,000 students, approximately 800 of whom are music students and 200 on the drama and technical theatre programmes. The school is a member of Conservatoires UK, the European Association of Conservatoires and the Federation of Drama Schools. It also has formed a creative alliance with its neighbours, the Barbican Centre and the London Symphony Orchestra. Notable alumni of the school include Sir Bryn Terfel, Sir James Galway, Daniel Craig and Michaela Coel.


The Guildhall School was awarded taught-degree awarding powers in 2014 by the Privy Council. Doctoral degrees are validated by City, University of London.


The Guildhall offers a four-year undergraduate program for musicians along with the Guildhall Artist Masters in performance or composition and the highly advanced Artist Diploma programme. Students can specialise in classical or jazz performance (either as an instrumentalist or vocalist), composition, historical performance and electronic music. At master’s level, vocal students are able to specialise in Opera Studies. In addition to this, the school offers postgraduate degrees in opera writing (in association with The Royal Opera) and in music therapy.


The Guildhall School offers a three-year BA Honours in Acting and the MA in Acting preparing students for the world of professional theatre. The School also delivers the BA Honours in Acting Studies in partnership with the Central Academy of Drama in Beijing. A full time, four-year programme with two years of training at each institution, the BA Honours in Acting Studies takes in a cohort of students every other year, exploring cross-cultural approaches to acting.

Production Arts

The School also offers a three-year vocational degree in production arts where students can specialise in either Stage Management, Costume, Theatre Technology or Design Realisation.[17] The school is one of a handful to offer specialist training in stage automation, with computer controlled flying installations in three of the venues provided by TAIT, based upon their eChameleon platform.

Youth Learning

Guildhall School offers a Saturday school for advanced young musicians under the age of 18. In addition to this, the school the UK’s largest provider of music education to under 18s by incorporating the Centre for Young Musicians (CYM) and creating new music “hubs” in Norfolk and Somerset; the school achieved recognition for Guildhall’s music outreach and opera programmes through two Queen’s Anniversary Prizes (2005 and 2007).