Alchemea College, the music technology/pro-audio teaching school set up in 1992, ceased trading on Friday 1 May.
SSR (School of Sound Recording) London, a similar institution based in Camden, has agreed to take on current Alchemea students “without cost”, while those who have paid a deposit for a course will have the chance to move to SSR.
An announcement posted on the door of the Windsor Centre building in Islington – just around the corner from the PSNEurope office – explains that the building's lease is due to expire in March 2016, and while the directors had been working "flat out to attract investment to facilitate" funding a new lease, all efforts have "proved unsuccessful". The directors took professional advice and were told to put the business into administration, says the note.
Former college principal Christian Huant, posted an impassioned eulogy on his Facebook page today (Wednesday): “So, the dream Alchemea College is no more. The company I have spent 17 years with, and put all my energies and passion into, is gone. It is very sad and the love that has rippled around the globe since the news broke has been truly moving.”
Many ex-pupils and former colleagues have commented with messages of sympathy, some changing their profile pictures to photos taken in and around the college.
Erica Basnicki, PSNEurope contributor and graduate of the school, told the magazine she was “devastated” by the news.
"It is so hard to express the sense of loss I feel," writes Basnicki (Studio Sound Diploma 2008). "Alchemea College was the physical and spiritual home of a massive family of audio professionals. That's how it was run; you became part of a family from Day One. You were also brought up to be a professional – the guys who ran it made sure of that. That's why everyone who studied there loves that place so much, and why there are so many tears right now. The family home is gone, and it's a devastating loss for anyone who ever had the privilege to be a part of it."
The official announcement at www.alchemea.com reads:
‘It is with great sadness that we have to make the announcement that Alchemea College is to cease trading with immediate effect. We would like to apologise for any inconvenience or anxiety this will undoubtedly cause our students, alumni and anyone else that has dealt with us over the years. Many of you will be aware of SSR, a college similar to Alchemea in many respects. SSR have very kindly agreed to place all current Alchemea students on their courses without cost to us or our students. Anyone who has paid a deposit on one of our future courses will have the option to transfer their studies over to a comparable SSR. We are proud to recommend SSR as an excellent alternative route for anyone wishing to commence or continue studies with us. For more information please email firstname.lastname@example.org We would like to thank everyone who studied with us and supported us over the years, it’s been a great journey and we couldn’t have got this far without you.’
Huant adds in his Facebook posting: “A lot of people want to know what happened. It's hard to put it simply, but the underlying reason, I think, is that the world has changed, the audio industry has been changing for years and one could say we are yet another victim.”
Alchemea College, based just around the corner from the offices of PSNEurope in Islington, London, officially opened its doors on 15 October 1992. Twenty years later, in October 2012, sales and marketing director Mike Sinnott reflected on darker days, before the institute became a major teaching establishment for Pro Tools: “I think the industry and the studios didn’t take audio education seriously,” he told Basnicki in an interview. “We fought hard over the years and worked closely with the industry to really make them realise that we are audio engineers, we are passionate about what we do, and we want to teach what is done in the industry.”
As it closed its doors, the college was equipped with a full 5.1 dubbing theatre built around an Avid ICON D-Control work surface and Genelec monitors, while a workhorse Euphonix CS 3000 console has been replaced with a 24-channel SSL Duality. An Alchemea advert, featuring the CS console, is shown here.
Sinnott told PSNEurope on Wednesday that a further statement would be forthcoming when other matters were concluded.