Keep Music Playing / 10

These weeks have been difficult, taking a huge toll on people directly or indirectly. Yet there’s also been an outpouring of generosity that has offered hope.

Nearly one million people volunteered for the NHS and at the same time so many of our students and alumni have given their time across many sectors of UK life.

The community spirit at the RNCM has been exemplary. We have staff, students and alumni all over the world and, with the help of the internet, we’ve been able to remain close and support each other. Another vital part of our community is our audience and many loyal supporters. I’ve enjoyed speaking to many of you across the last few weeks. These conversations have offered comfort, counsel and even the unexpected treat, such as recipe suggestions.

I’ve heard a community unified by a desire to see the College and its students flourish. I’ve heard a community united by a love and appreciation for music, music makers and the role they can play to bring joy and comfort. I’ve heard a community who want to help our students at a vulnerable time. And I know this community will help us heal when this is over. Thank you to everyone who has had a conversation, sent a message, asked how we are, or made a donation to our Student Hardship Fund. Your support and encouragement means a lot to us all.

I’m grateful to my colleagues, to our students and alumni who continue to inspire us all making music in whatever way they can. I’m grateful to our audience members and supporters who’ve raised over £18,000 to ensure no RNCM student in need will have to struggle.

We continue to navigate uncharted waters. We don’t know when we might be able to enjoy the pleasure of watching or making music together in real life, in the same space. But I am sure of one thing; that the RNCM community will continue to provide inspiration and hope – and will do that together.

Suzie Thompson,
Director of Development

RNCM Great Big Charity Music Quiz Tuesday 2 June // 6:30pm

Do you know your Mozart from your Morrissey? Tickets are now available here for the RNCM Great Big Charity Music Quiz on Zoom.

blog charity quiz

Hosted by music industry legend Pete Waterman and supported by a brilliant RNCM musician, playing live to really animate each music round! We promise questions covering a huge range of musical tastes, to both delight and confound you. It promises to be a lot of fun and a great way to support the RNCM Student Hardship Fund and our wonderful friends saving lives at the Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust.

Sign up here

The Nutcracker and I / World Piano Day Alexandra Dariescu

Alumna and Honorary Associate Artist, Alexandra Dariescu is one of the most in demand pianists performing today. Last year she returned to the RNCM with The Nutcracker and I, combining live piano and ballet with ground breaking digital animation projections.

The piece told not only the classic Nutcracker story, but also Alexandra’s own journey – inspiring young audiences to follow their dreams, as it moved audiences across the world. Here is a charming short film about the show.

As you would expect, Alexandra has still been performing in recent weeks, albeit in a very different way. Here’s a delightful party piece, from her living room to yours – Villa-Lobos’ Polichinelle, recorded at the beginning of lockdown, to celebrate World Piano Day.

Lockdown Projects, Bach and Bassoons

We particularly enjoy uncovering and sharing the projects that our students, staff and alumni have been creating during lockdown.

Here’s Peter Whelan, RNCM Baroque Bassoon Tutor and Principal Bassoonist with the Scottish Chamber Orchestra, having a lot of fun creating his own wonderful musical pieces online. Watch him throw everything at Bach’s Cantata 149 Aria!

Desperate times, desperate measures for this aria from Cantata 149. The app doesn't allow you to edit takes making it as taxing to put together as it will be for you to stomach. Apologies for perpetuating vocal stereotypes. And regular apologies too for everything else. #zwischenfach #portfoliodiversification #Zippelfagottist

Posted by Peter Whelan on Wednesday, 25 March 2020

Single Release, Second Circle

This week we’re absolutely thrilled to be able to share the first single from global fusion collective, Second Circle, featuring our alumni, students and staff – fronted by RNCM alumnus Nick Lockewood, and including one of my brilliant team members, Ed Keeble, on electric guitar.

Ed is usually administrating your donations as they come in and designing this weekly bulletin. Supporting each other to find the time and emotional space to still create and fulfil professional and personal goals is hugely important during these times, and I’m delighted to be able to share this wonderful piece with you.

Short Piece, Cobalt Brass

Cobalt Brass quintet were formed by a group of friends who met while studying at the RNCM. They explore and stretch the boundaries of their repertoire, while also placing equal focus on inspiring the next generation.

‘All of us at Cobalt Brass have benefitted from musical education during our formative years, so we know first-hand the importance of exposing younger minds to live performance. Not only does it help spark a fundamental curiosity in music, but it also helps other key areas of a child’s personal development, too.’

This short piece couldn’t be a better example of positivity during these challenging times.

Fundraising Partnership RNCM & BHF // Monday Lunchtime Concerts

Over recent weeks, we’ve seen first-hand how music has played a crucial role in uniting communities and shining a light in the darkest of times. Under usual circumstances our students would be delivering community projects as part of their professional training.

So, we’re delighted to announce that we’re continuing to reach out to our community, joining forces with the British Heart Foundation, every Monday at 1.15pm, streaming live concerts on our Facebook page in partnership.

These short recitals are the perfect way to take a little time out of your day, to relax, unwind and enjoy live music in your home.

If you’re able to give a donation following the performance, all proceeds will be split between the RNCM Hardship Fund and British Heart Foundation. Helping to safeguard our students’ futures and supporting vital services to those affected by heart and circulatory disease, who are most at risk from coronavirus.

Research Project Music for Wellbeing from Northumbria University

Part of a fascinating research project developed by Northumbria University; the Music for Wellbeing website selects music that best fits your mood.

If you’ve reached the point of staring at your record collection or digital playlists and feeling uninspired, then why not give it a try?

Tell it how you feel and what you need, and it may well select the perfect piece of music for you.

Why Your Support Matters / RNCM Hardship Fund

So far this year, the RNCM has spent £1.5 million directly on student support, with around 20% of our student body requiring financial assistance.

However, now, due to this unprecedented crisis, we are seeing even greater demand for both financial and emotional support.

We do not want to turn any of our students away, but we simply cannot afford to do this without you. If you have not yet been in touch, we’d love to hear from you. And thank you for your continued support for our students.

If you are able to help, and wish to do so, you can donate here. Thank you.

22 May 2020



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COVID-19 Update: Our venues have reopened to the public and we’re looking forward to welcoming you back this Autumn. Before attending an event at the RNCM, please read our Audience Protocol…