Maritime Conservatory of Performing Arts

The Maritime Conservatory of Performing Arts (the Conservatory) is a Canadian performing arts school in Halifax, Nova Scotia, that offers courses in higher education in music, dance, and theatre. It is the largest and the oldest (1887) of such organizations for education in the performing arts east of Montreal.[1] The Conservatory has been located at the historic Chebucto School in West End, Halifax, since 1996.

Maritime Conservatory of Performing Arts
6199 Chebucto Road

, ,
Established1887 (1887)
DirectorSimon Robinson
Dean (Dance)Janet Bradbury
Dean (Music)Sibylle Marquardt
Campus typeUrban


Rev Robert Laing, founder of the Maritime Conservatory of the Arts

When the school was founded by Reverend Robert Laing in 1887, it was named the Halifax Conservatory of Music. It was founded under Chapter 91 of the Acts of the Legislature of Nova Scotia. In 1891, the first public performance was held, a concert by the Dresden Trio.[2]

In 1921, under a Special Act of the Province of Nova Scotia, the Halifax Conservatory of Music (HCM) was incorporated. Beginning in 1954, the school offered ballroom dancing instruction.[2]

In 1954 the Halifax Conservatory of Music (HCM) bought the assets of the Maritime Academy of Music (MAM), and the school was renamed the Maritime Conservatory of Music.[3][4]

In its initial years, the school awarded degrees through Dalhousie University, but became an independent institution in 1962.[1] In 1998 the school changed its name again to the Maritime Conservatory of Performing Arts to reflect the school's expansion into other performance mediums beyond music. This name change was legally changed when the Maritime Conservatory of Performing Arts was confirmed in Chapter 11 of the Acts of 2006, titled The Maritime Conservatory Reorganization Act, which received Royal Assent on July 14, 2006.

The Conservatory moved over seven times sharing and renting space until 1996 when it moved to the Chebucto School, a historic 1910 landmark building in the West End of Halifax.[5] The Conservatory acquired ownership of the Chebucto Road School in 1997 from the City of Halifax.[6] The municipality sold the building for a dollar with the stipulation that close to half a million dollars be spent on renovations. (The Chebucto Road School, built in 1910, served as a morgue following the 1917 Halifax Explosion.)

In February 2018, the Conservatory was temporarily closed when a section of its roof was blown off during a wind storm.[7]

Present day

Maritime Conservatory of Performing Arts

The Maritime Conservatory of Performing Arts continues to offer an accessible and comprehensive program of dance and music instruction, accommodating students of all ages and levels of ability.[8][9]

As of 2018, the Conservatory was registered as a private career college with the Labour and Advanced Education Department of Nova Scotia. The School of Dance now offers a two-year advanced diploma for dance instructors.[10]

The school hosts and organizes a variety of concerts and dance performances.[11][12] Each year the National Ballet School holds auditions there,[13] and the conservatory hosts a chamber orchestra.[14]

Notable students


See also



  1. ^ a b Shirley A. Blakeley. "Maritime Conservatory of Performing Arts". The Canadian Encyclopedia.
  2. ^ a b "Maritime Conservatory of Performing Arts marks 130 years".Chronicle Herald, Cynthia McMurray. September 18, 2017
  3. ^ Paul Helmer. Growing with Canada: The Émigré Tradition in Canadian Music. McGill-Queen's Press - MQUP; 22 June 2014. ISBN 978-0-7735-7624-7. p. 88–.
  4. ^ Edward John FitzPatrick (Jr). The Music Conservatory in America. Vol. 1. Boston University.; 1963. p. 156.
  5. ^ Maritime Conservatory of Performing Arts, "History"
  6. ^ Canadian Geographic. Vol. 119. Royal Canadian Geographical Society; 1999. p. 100.
  7. ^ "Wild weather causes flooding, damage across the Maritimes". CTV News, February 5, 2018.
  8. ^ "Local boys win gold medals from the Royal Conservatory of Music". The Western Star, Nov 01, 2016
  9. ^ "Four gold medals go to four young Kings County musicians". The Register/Advertiser, Nov 24, 2016
  10. ^ "Teacher Training Program". Maritime Conservatory.
  11. ^ "A real Prince Charming turns up". Chronicle Herald, Andrea Nemetz February 24, 2012
  12. ^ "Lubomyr Melnyk Maritime Conservatory of Performing Arts, Halifax NS, May 24". Exclaim!, By Ryan McNutt May 25, 2015
  13. ^ "Photos: National Ballet audition sees eight make cut". Chronicle Herald, November 27, 2016
  14. ^ "Kiwanis gala wows crowd". Chronicle Herald, By Stephen Pedersen, May 2, 2012

44°39′01″N 63°35′52″W / 44.65017°N 63.59766°W / 44.65017; -63.59766