Worldwide Professional Networks

The RNCM is proud to lead the International Benchmarking Group (IBG) and Interplay, two unique and established networks, uniting outstanding institutions worldwide to enhance the professional and personal development of young musicians.

International Benchmarking Group (IBG)

Established in 2010, the International Benchmarking Group (IBG) is a network of 11 of the world’s leading conservatoires.

Its primary aim is to enhance the professional and personal development of young musicians through the sharing of best practice, ensuring that its member institutions remain at the forefront of conservatoire education and training globally.

Led by the Royal Northern College of Music, the IBG incorporates the Escola Superior de Música de Catalunya (ESMUC, Barcelona), Haute Ecole de Musique de Geneva (Switzerland), College of Music, Mahidol University (Thailand), McGill University (Montreal), New England Conservatory (USA), Norwegian Academy of Music (Norway), Royal Conservatoire, The Hague (The Netherlands), Sydney Conservatorium (Australia), University of Music and Performing Arts, Graz (Austria), and Yong Siew Toh Conservatory of Music (National University of Singapore).

The IBG draws from a bespoke, detailed and sophisticated database to inform its work and steer the agendas for its meetings. Students across the network benefit directly from unique opportunities to participate in shared online masterclasses and lectures, collaborative performance projects and exchange activities, while staff have access to regular professional development opportunities alongside their international peers.

Professor Linda Merrick, RNCM Principal, said: ‘For the past decade the RNCM has built an unparalleled network of exceptional partnerships across the world to provide students and staff with unique opportunities to develop both professionally and personally.

‘We are extremely proud of all that our International Benchmarking Group and Interplay networks have achieved to date and very excited about the future, as we roll out an array of bespoke online and live activities for our students and staff, including shared classes, projects and targeted initiatives. We believe that our global reach and interaction with international peers who share our vision and values for world-class conservatoire education and training in the 21st century will play an essential part in supporting our strategic aspiration of ‘defining the future of music.’


Complementing the International Benchmarking Group, Interplay is a parallel professional network of educators, practitioners and students from the world’s finest conservatoire-based popular music programmes.

Partners include the RNCM, Berklee College of Music Valencia (Spain), Codarts Rotterdam (The Netherlands), Conservatorium van Amsterdam (The Netherlands), and USC Thornton School of Music (USA). Together, Interplay aspires to have a major influence on the popular music profession, training its future leaders through ethical advocacy, collaborative working and the sharing of best practice.

Andy Stott, RNCM Head of Popular Music, added: ‘The RNCM has paved the way for degree-level popular music education in the UK for the past 10 years and now, through initiatives such as Interplay, we’re able to champion this on a global scale. All partners share the same aspiration as we unite to train the future leaders of the industry.’
International Benchmarking Group logo.Interplay logo