The RNCM Wind Orchestra and Saxophone Ensemble travelled to St Andrews last month to take part in the 16th World Saxophone Congress.

Taking place once every three years, the Congress has, to date, been held in major cities around the world, including Washington, Tokyo, Montreal and Bangkok. This year’s week-long event in Scotland featured over 700 performers, 250 concerts and 200 world premières, five of which were performed by the RNCM Wind Orchestra (led by Clark Rundell and Mark Heron) as they accompanied leading saxophonists in new concertos.

Dr Paul Goodey, Head of School of Wind, Brass and Percussion, said: ‘The Wind Orchestra was invited to play five concertos, accompanying soloists from around the world – including Eastern Europe, the USA and Japan. The invitation came as a result of the Orchestra’s exceptional reputation, and feedback following the event has been 100% enthusiastic and positive. The message that will now spread is significant; it was an amazing opportunity to show so many people the high standards our students achieve.’

The RNCM Saxophone Ensemble also performed during the week in a concert led by RNCM tutors Rob Buckland and Andy Scott and featuring works by Professor Adam Gorb and Professor Gary Carpenter. Other RNCM ensembles taking part were the Absolution Saxophone Quartet, currently studying for an International Artist Diploma at the College, and the Apollo Saxophone Orchestra (made up of the Apollo Saxophone Quartet, established at the RNCM in 1985, plus others including RNCM alumni), which performed works by the inspirational saxophonist Barbara Thompson.

RNCM Lecturer in Music, Michelle Phillips, who attended the Congress as a performer, said: ‘The Wind Orchestra blew everyone away (the percussion section in particular was stunning!), and many people congratulated me on being associated with an institution with such an outstanding ensemble. The RNCM Saxophone Ensemble, which gave an hour-long concert in the main hall on the final day of the event, was incredible – musically and professionally perfect and enrapturing. The whole event was fantastic, and made all the more special by the significant RNCM staff and student presence and contribution.’