Bryan Fox – Why I’m Supporting the Your RNCM Campaign
Bryan Fox has worked at the RNCM in a variety of role since its inception over 40 years ago and currently provides student support through the College’s Counselling Service. Here, he talks about his admiration for the RNCM and explains why he’s investing in its future by supporting the Concert Hall campaign.
Why did you decide to support Your RNCM?
The French have this saying that you don’t go to a concert you participate in one, and they are absolutely right. Students rely so much on the engagement and support of their audience and it’s good to know that we are able to give something back through this campaign.
I’ve been an amateur musician for a long time, and when I think about what the people who come here have done, can do, and will do, it amazes me. It’s something I can’t begin to emulate, but if my support helps them achieve what they came here to do then that’s great.
How important is the Concert Hall to the future of the RNCM as a leading music college and performance venue?
The Concert Hall is central to the RNCM; it’s absolutely vital. I remember my time as Accommodation Officer when the College first opened and how we would start bookings from 7am – the only time the organist could come in – and close at midnight. It was always busy, and in the run-up to final recitals we could be booking it out throughout the night.
Back in the 1970s Principal Sir John Manduell was very keen for the RNCM to be both a college and an arts centre that would make a contribution to the community. I think the RNCM is still a bit of a hidden gem in Manchester, perhaps not as well-known as it should be, and we have an opportunity, which almost amounts to duty if you feel serious about the place, to shout it from the roof-top. The new venue will be so attractive and I’m excited to see the final result. There’s so much going on here – it’s too good to miss.
Do you have fond memories of the old Concert Hall?
Yes, definitely. The first concert was on November 15 1972 with the London Sinfonietta. It was also a big commemorative event for the BBC and when we came out the refectory was all set for a banquet. I remember hearing Mahler 5, although I can’t recall if it was pre-acoustic treatment or not, and that was amazing. I also recall seeing Sir Charles Groves conduct Mahler’s Das Lied von der Erde, which was a fantastic experience too. Another unforgettable concert was hearing Cecil Aronowitz and Terence Weil play a Brahms’ Sextet alongside the Vermeer Quartet. I was sitting in my favourite row, Row H, and I think at the end performance I became aware that for part of the performance I’d had the feeling of being up somewhere near the ceiling – an out-of-body experience. Quite amazing.
What would you say to encourage others to get involved and support Your RNCM?
That you can help in a number of ways, both large and small. My wife Jenny studied singing here with Lesley Langford and Joseph Ward and we recently celebrated our 40th wedding anniversary. The RNCM is a place we both feel very passionate about and so, instead of presents, we asked people to consider donating to Your RNCM. It was our way of giving something back and investing in the musicians of the future.
Click here to find out more about the Your RNCM campaign and how you can get involved.