Performance and Placements

The RNCM’s unrivalled range of professional partnerships provide students with exceptional opportunities to develop personal and professional skills during their studies.

Through Professional Experience Schemes, side-by-side initiatives, mentorships, and community engagements, students have the enviable chance to build projects, embrace real-world experiences and refine their career aspirations.

Partnerships include:

BBC Philharmonic

Based in Salford, Greater Manchester, the BBC Philharmonic is known worldwide for its innovative and versatile music-making. Over 30% of its players studied at the RNCM and many teach at the College. It is also a partner in our innovative Pathfinder Scheme, proving musical opportunities for young people from disadvantaged backgrounds, and New Music Manchester Festival.

Key student opportunities include:

  • A Professional Experience Scheme providing strings, wind and horn students with the chance to audition to gain first-hand experience of working with one of the UK’s leading broadcasting orchestras.
  • A solo performance with the orchestra for RNCM International Artist Diploma students.
  • Student placements within their Learning and Participation Department.
  • The chance for RNCM conductors to conduct the orchestra, gaining valuable real-world experience alongside expert advice and guidance.
  • Side-by-side work with BBC Philharmonic players.

Black Dyke Band

Based in West Yorkshire, the Black Dyke Band is one of the oldest and best-known brass bands in the world. Lots of its players are alumni and tutors at the College and Music Director Nicholas Childs was awarded an RNCM Professorship in 2014.

Key student opportunities include:

  • A Professional Experience Scheme designed to give brass and percussion students first-hand playing as part of a world-renowned brass band. Following audition, successful students have the chance to join rehearsals and performances, in addition to receiving mentorship from the Band’s players and music director.

Chamber Orchestra of Europe

Founded in 1981, the Chamber Orchestra of Europe (COE) has its home in London and has been acknowledged as ‘the finest chamber orchestra in the world’ (BBC 2). It comprises 60 musicians from across Europe who enjoy parallel careers as soloists, members of chamber groups, and music teachers.

Key student opportunities include:

  • A Professional Experience Scheme providing two students (one from our School of Strings and one from Wind, Brass and Percussion) with the chance to join the COE, via audition, on one of their European tours. Successful students will sit in on rehearsals, receive one-to-one coaching and chamber music sessions, and experience the life or a touring orchestra.
  • A side-by-side orchestral performance at the RNCM with CEO players and strings, wind and brass students.


Based in Manchester, the Hallé is one of the world’s top symphonic ensembles and its Music Director, Sir Mark Elder, is our International Chair in Conducting. Over 40% of its players studied at the RNCM and many work as orchestral tutors.

Key student opportunities include:

  • A Professional Experience Scheme providing wind, brass and percussion students the opportunity to audition for a place to participate in invaluable side-by-side workshops with full orchestra sections.
  • Opportunities to audition for the Hallé/RNCM Advanced Orchestral String Apprenticeship for violin, viola, cello and bass.
  • Conducting workshops at Hallé St Peter’s for RNCM conductors.
  • Invitations for instrumentalists, vocalists and our Chamber Choir to participate in Halle projects, offering students the chance to perform in a professional setting.
  • Side-by-side work with Hallé players.
  • Student placements in Hallé arts administration.

Manchester Camerata

Glastonbury openers, UK Ensemble of the Year (RPS Music Awards 2017) and ‘Probably Britain’s most adventurous orchestra’ (The Times) – Manchester Camerata is redefining what an orchestra can do. RNCM alumni make up over 80% of the ensemble with many also working as instrumental tutors at the College.

Key student opportunities include:

  • A Professional Experience Scheme providing string students the chance to audition with Manchester Camerata musicians. One student from each instrument (violin, viola, cello and double bass) is then selected to join the ensemble for rehearsals and performances throughout the academic year.
  • Working with Manchester Camerata string Principals in an RNCM concert orchestra rehearsal and performance, normally directed by the Leader.

Manchester Collective

Formed in 2016, Manchester Collective is an innovative arts organisation that is redefining the way that people experience classical music. Recognised for its experimental programming and daring collaborations, its Chief Executive is Adam Szabo and its Music Director if Rakhi Singh, both RNCM alumni.

Key student opportunities include:

  • A Professional Experience Scheme offering a small number of RNCM violinists first-hand experience of the role of a touring chamber musician and collaborator, in the context of a professional touring ensemble.
  • Side-by-side opportunities with Manchester Collective.

Opera North

Opera North is a national opera company and arts organisation based in Leeds. Many of its singers and orchestral players teach at the RNCM and alumnus Garry Walker is its Music Director.

Key student opportunities include:

  • A Professional Experience Scheme with the Orchestra of Opera North designed to give brass students first-hand experience as an orchestral musician in professional opera productions.
  • A Chorus Mentor Scheme (funded by the Opera North Future Fund) for providing vocal students advice and guidance on performance/audition techniques and CV writing.
  • Weekend residencies enabling vocalists to work with directors and conductors on specific topics to enhance their skills.
  • A shadowing scheme (supported by the Leverhulme Trust) offering up to seven students the chance to attend studio and production rehearsals, meet the cast and creative teams, and receive coaching on a specific role by a member of the music department.
  • Access to rehearsals throughout the year for RNCM Junior Fellows in Repetiteur Studies.

Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra

Based at Philharmonic Hall, Liverpool, the RLPO is the UK’s oldest continuing professional symphony orchestra. Over 30% of its players studied at the RNCM, with many working as instrumental tutors at the College.

Key student opportunities include:

  • An annual side-by-side day offering rehearsal experience and expert advice and guidance for those aspiring to be orchestral musicians.
  • The chance for conducting students work alongside Domingo Hindoyan and other guest conductors.
  • Student placements as part of the RLPO’s In Harmony community project.
  • A music-making day at the College introducing young people in Liverpool to opportunities available at the RNCM and Junior RNCM.

Royal Northern Sinfonia

Founded in 1958, the Royal Northern Sinfonia, Orchestra of Sage Gateshead, is the UK’s only full-time chamber orchestra. With over 30% of its players studying at the RNCM, it has built a worldwide reputation for the North East through the quality of its music-making and the immediacy of the connections the musicians make with audiences.

Key student opportunities include:

  • A Professional Experience Scheme designed to give viola and cello students first-hand experience of the role of a creative orchestral artist and programme curator in the context of a professional chamber orchestra. The Scheme is unique in that the application process involves writing an artistic proposal for a chamber ensemble concert which responds to one of the RNS’ themed chamber music weeks.