A Busy Summer – #KeepMusicPlaying

Whilst our students take a well-deserved summer break, there’s still lots going on within the RNCM community!

As many virtual concert seasons are drawing to a close, many of our students, staff and alumni are now busy performing to audiences in person once again, from the BBC Proms to Reading and Leeds Festival.

We’re proud to see a whole host of alumni in this year’s BBC Proms line-up, which kicked off last Friday with soprano and RNCM alumna Elizabeth Llewellyn opening the First Night alongside the BBC Symphony Orchestra. Read more here.

This year’s Lake District Summer Music Festival is also jam-packed with RNCM students, alumni and tutors, and whilst it draws to a close this weekend, many of the performances have been recorded and will be available for streaming later this month. More details below.

There’s also news of two new albums: Rob Buckland’s fabulous collection of new works for saxophone – full of new writing by UK composers – and Laurence Perkins’ journey through twentieth-century bassoon repertoire, beginning in 1900 with Richard Henry Walthew and ending in 1999 with David Bedford.

There’s plenty of video content featuring our alumni, too, including a programme of new works for cello and piano, and a timely Olympic themed video from RNCM string alumni 8Strings.

We’ve recently streamlined our social media handles. You can now find us @rncmlive on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and TikTok to keep up to date with all things RNCM.


Rob Buckland
Just Because: Short Stories for Solo Saxophone

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RNCM Head of Saxophone Rob Buckland’s wonderful new CD, Just Because: Short Stories for Solo Saxophone, features nine new solo works by UK composers alongside a suite of original works composed by Rob himself.

For more information and to hear samples of each track on the album, click here.

Here is Rob’s rousing performance of Michael Ball’s Concerto for Alto Saxophone & Symphonic Band at the Palmela International Saxophone Festival:

Laurence Perkins
Voyage of a Sea-God

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Bassoonist and RNCM alumnus Laurence Perkins celebrates the extraordinary versatility of twentieth-century bassoon repertoire on Voyage of a Sea-God, recently featured on BBC Radio 3’s ‘Record Review’ and named The Times’ album of the week.

One of the most substantial collections of bassoon music ever created, the album features a whole host of RNCM alumni and tutors, including harpist Eira Lynn Jones, members of the Carducci String Quartet and City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, and Northern School of Music alumnus, pianist Michael Hancock.

To read more about the project, including personal notes from Laurence, click here. You can listen to extracts of each piece over on the Hyperion website by clicking here.

Chariots of Fire

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Acclaimed Classical-crossover duo 8Strings, formed by RNCM alumni Thomas Mathias and Stuart Bramwell, have recorded a fresh new take on Chariots of Fire. With the Tokyo Olympics in full swing, this iconic theme dazzles on the white sands of Wales in 8Strings’ latest video for violin and orchestra:

Lake District Summer Music Festival
Catch this Year’s Festival Online

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This year’s Lake District Summer Music (LDSM) Festival draws to a close this weekend, but there’s still chance to catch recorded performances from an abundance of RNCM students, alumni and tutors online. The festival, founded by Lady Renna Manduell MBE, the former Head of our School of Keyboard Studies and wife of founding Principal, Sir John Manduell, features some of the cream of RNCM talent, including: Steven Osborne, Manchester Collective, Nathaniel Boyd (Albion String Quartet), Freeman Quartet, Benjamin Frith (Gould Piano Trio), and Kathryn Rudge & Jonathan Fisher, plus other international artists.

Visit the LDSM website here to book tickets for online performances, which will be made available later this month.

Watch RNCM Fellow and alumnus, pianist Steven Osborne’s recent performance for the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C:


There are even a few tickets left if you’d like to catch RNCM Associate Member and alumna, mezzo-soprano Kathryn Rudge performing with RNCM staff pianist Jonathan Fisher tomorrow morning (Saturday 7 August).

Bonnie Kemplay
Reading and Leeds Festivals

A few months ago, we shared news that singer-songwriter and RNCM Popular Music student Bonnie Kemplay was announced as the winner of the BBC Radio 1 Live Lounge Introducing competition.

We’re thrilled let you know that Bonnie will be performing at this year’s sold-out Reading and Leeds Festivals on the BBC Introducing Stage!

Here is Bonnie performing her cover of The 1975’s If You’re Too Shy (Let Me Know) in the Radio 1 Live Lounge:

New Works for Cello and Piano

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New music ensemble Psappha recently shared six brand new works for cello and piano performed by cellist Jennifer Langridge and pianist Benjamin Powell, both RNCM alumni and staff members.

The new works were created through Psappha’s 2020-21 ‘Composing for Cello & Piano’ scheme, part of their long running ‘Composing for…’ scheme, and include pieces by RNCM alumni Michael Betteridge and Florence Anna Maunders alongside four other emerging composers.

Watch the concert in stunning high definition, recorded at Manchester’s own Hallé St Peters:

New Look Blog Coming Soon

As we look towards our recovery from the deep-felt impacts of the pandemic, we’re busy preparing for the new academic year and putting the final touches in place for our new look blog – featuring even more events, news from the RNCM family, and some treasures from our archive.

6 August 2021