New York's Juilliard School has signed a framework agreement to set up an educational institute in Tianjin, 75 miles south-east of Beijing. If the project goes ahead, it will be the 107-year-old conservatoire's first physical expansion beyond its New York City campus.

'This is certainly the first project of its kind in China by a western conservatory,' said Christopher Mossey, Juilliard's vice president of global initiatives. According to Mossey, the institute will be built in a new financial and residential centre, currently being built outside Tianjin, and could be opened as early as 2015.

Although Juilliard has yet to announce which of its programmes will be brought to China, non-accredited music programmes are expected to be offered to students aged 8 to 18, as well as specialised pre-professional training for conservatoire graduates. According to Mossey, the institute may also offer postgraduate courses in orchestral and chamber music.

Currently, 43 of the music students at Juilliard's New York campus come from China, of which 11 are string players. At the Tianjin Conservatory of Music there are 2,898 students enrolled in undergraduate studies and 316 in graduate studies.