Keep Music Playing 17: Alumni Special!

The RNCM is committed to training the next generation of musicians, to drive the future of music and make a real difference to our cultural and community life.

Each year, a cohort of students leaves College, ready to embrace their professional lives. This year, our Class of 2020 graduating students are, of course, leaving within the turmoil of a hugely uncertain world. The excitement of starting their professional journeys has been turned upside down, as they enter a vastly changed music industry, forcing them to reconsider how they can be a part of it and make a living.

We are acutely aware of these significant challenges and we’re bringing together our RNCM family of staff, students, professional partners and alumni, working together to build relationships and networks, supporting our most recent graduates in every way that we can. Keep reading for more information about an exciting new space to offer ongoing support, connections and opportunities.

Throughout this pandemic, our alumni community has come together to keep in touch, to create beautiful and uplifting online performances, to contribute to local efforts by volunteering on the front line, and to continue to inspire young music students through mentoring, virtual lessons and masterclasses. You are a source of encouragement, aspiration and hope, revealing how creative and adaptable our alumni community is, through such a difficult and uncertain time.

So, a huge thank you for keeping the music playing with your wonderful performances, making our socially distanced times so much more bearable. We’re absolutely delighted to be able to share more of your news stories, projects and music here.

In the meantime, take care, stay safe and please do keep in touch, we love hearing from you.

– Lisa Pring, Alumni Relations Manager

Paganini Monday

We’re delighted to share this fantastic project by one of our most recent graduates, violinist Savva Zverev. Savva plans to film himself playing all 24 Paganini caprices in public spaces across Manchester every Monday. The first is filmed in, a very quiet, St Peter’s Square. The project is designed to raise vital funds to support music students and arts organisations; Savva writes:

‘The four years I spent at the RNCM as an Undergraduate student could not have been more memorable. Performance opportunities, masterclasses, amazing teachers and the incredible support they offer every student had a great influence on my development as a musician.  Without the full scholarship I was given I would not have been able to be a student in the UK. In times like these students need your help more than ever – make a contribution and support the future of music!’

You can find out more about Savva here. To support Savva’s campaign supporting the next generation of musical talent, please click here.

RNCM Connect

We’ve very excited to announce that we’ll soon be launching a new online community, RNCM Connect.  This new platform will enable alumni, students, staff, partners and music industry professionals to network, share knowledge, post news, promote projects and access a range of activities including mentoring, volunteering and job opportunities.  Keep checking social media with details of the launch date, coming very soon!

Waterperry Mini Festival

As we cautiously find ways to start performing live again, we’re delighted to share news that the Waterperry Opera Festival in Oxfordshire will be going ahead outdoors, with audiences able to enjoy performances of Cosi Fan Tutte and Jonathan Dove’s Ariel, from socially distanced ‘pods’ on the front lawn of Waterperry House.  The Festival, featuring current RNCM students and alumni,  Isabelle Peters (Fiordiligi), Daniella Sicari (Ariel) and Rhiannon Merrifield as part of the young creative team, offers optimism that we are able to return to live performances, connect with audiences, make new work and support emerging artists. It will take place on the 15th & 16th August, and for those not able to attend, a film will be streamed following the Festival. For more info and updates check their website here.

Hubert Harry

Our alumni work stretches from supporting our most recent graduates to sharing the stories of musicians from our more distant past. As part of archive work collated for our Northern School of Music anniversary project, we are delighted to share the story of Hubert Harry, a child prodigy, who was playing as a soloist at just nine years old. He became a legendary teacher at the Lucerne Conservatoire, but retained a strong bond, through regular correspondence, with staff at the Northern School of Music, who continued to follow and support his career. The letters provide a fascinating insight into their world and offer an opportunity to remember a very special British artist and his enduring relationship with the people and place where his career began. Find out more about Hubert’s story here and take a peek at his correspondence here.

Northern School of Music Centenary

Save the Date: Unfortunately, due to the current restrictions, we’re unable to join together to celebrate the centenary of the Northern School of Music at our planned event in September 2020. However, this is merely a postponement, and we’re delighted to announce that the celebration has been rescheduled for Sunday 31 October 2021.

Carlos Ágreda & the Empire State Youth Orchestra

RNCM alumnus, Columbian conductor and composer Carlos Ágreda, has developed a beautiful new film with the Empire State Youth Orchestra, which serves hundreds of young musicians from in and around New York. This year the Orchestra celebrates its 40th birthday and wanted a very special culmination to its anniversary season. With Covid halting its original Festival plans Carlos, the Orchestra’s Music Director, wrote a new piece, Ay Caray especially for a virtual orchestra, featuring young musicians filming themselves at home, but then synchronized into a 360-degree orchestra experience. Using Virtual Reality technology and spatial audio, the team were able to create an immersive experience that places the audience right in the centre of the orchestra.

Lockdown Presents

We love the creativity and entrepreneurship behind Lockdown Presents, a new concept connecting artists with private audiences for mini concerts over Zoom, featuring RNCM alumni from the School of Vocal Studies & Opera.

RNCM alumna Sophie Dicks, says ‘this gives singers like myself an opportunity to keep performing when venues are closed and shows have been cancelled. It’s lovely to have a reason to perform again. I enjoy being able to interact with my audiences on a more personal level and see the smiles on their faces.’

For a taste of the talented performances available, here is one of the artists, alumnus Elgan Llŷr Thomas performing the romantic aria Dein Ist Mein Ganzes Herz:

To find out more, and to book your own private concert, check out their website.

College update and thank you

Throughout the summer we are working hard to support our students and get the College ready to welcome them back safely for the new term. Our wellbeing, counselling services and hardship fund are still available to any student that needs extra support and we are immensely grateful to all our generous donors who are supporting this vital work. If you are able to make a gift, enabling us to offer sustained support for our students most in need, then please click here for details of how to give and how your gift will make a real difference. Thank you.

We hope you enjoy this week’s selection of music. We’ll be back in a fortnight with more news, stories and updates from the RNCM. Until then, stay well and keep the music playing.

24 July 2020