Keep Music Playing 22 – New Season

Live music and performance are central to the RNCM experience. They offer our students the chance to play alongside some of the most inspiring artists working today and allow us to open our doors to our community of music lovers.

We know how important our concerts are to so many people. From the moment we closed our venues back in March, we’ve been offering opportunities to watch our students perform online. We know that for many people in our community these concerts have been a source of hope and pleasure through the harsh days of lockdown.

However, as the pandemic continues to affect our daily lives, we now face the realisation that live music will remain at an indefinite halt for some time. However, we promise that we will keep music playing, showcasing the very best emerging young musicians, playing alongside some of the industry’s finest artists, including; Sir Mark Elder, Chloe van Soeterstède, Manchester Collective and the Elias Quartet. We’ll also be bringing you a range of masterclasses, Q&A’s, online Festivals and an Insights series, featuring a range of exciting artists, including; Chi-chi Nwanoku, Tine Thing Helseth, Alice Coote and Stephen Hough, exploring some of the most significant music, ideas and issues of the day.

We’ll be featuring performances from across all our schools and we are absolutely delighted to be able to bring together so many of our internationally renowned staff to collaborate and play with our students.  We hope each event will offer beauty and inspiration, as we face the long winter months ahead.

So, make a date to watch at the same time as family and friends, share your thoughts and join the post-concert conversations on social media by using the hashtag #livefromtherncm. If you are able, please consider making a donation in lieu of the price of a ticket to show your appreciation. We know that a live show is a collective experience, a collaboration between musicians and audience, without you we are playing to an empty room, with you we are performing and connecting once again.

– Manus Carey, Deputy Principal (Performance and Programmes)



Thursday 1 Oct // 8pm // RNCM PIANOS

Join us tonight for our first live broadcast from the RNCM Concert Hall, featuring performances from RNCM postgraduate students Luke Jones, Jason Lam and Guilia Contaldo and Deputy Head of Keyboard Studies Adam Swayne.  The programme will include pieces by Bach, Scarlatti, Debussy, Liszt and the world première of Silver Lining by alumnus Sebastian Winter.  To close the show, Dr Larry Goves, Senior Lecturer in Composition, will talk to Giulia and Adam about how we can challenge what is perceived as ‘core’ repertoire for the piano. For more information about the event please click here and share your thoughts and join the conversation on social media using the hashtag #livefromtherncm.

If you can’t wait until tonight, click here for a preview of Silver Lining by Sebastian Winter.


Thursday 8 Oct // 8pm // RNCM STRINGS

A side-by-side performance of Brahms’ second String Sextet, live from our Concert Hall, featuring RNCM string students performing alongside alumnus Magnus Johnston (Navarra Quartet) and RNCM tutors. The concert will be followed by a talk with players discussing the experience of learning by performing alongside professional artists.

Click here to see alumnus Magnus Johnston with the Navarra String Quartet, performing the beautiful Sarabande by Felix Blumenfeld on Dutch music show Podium Witteman.

Helen Sherman – Positive Note Autumn Sessions

Australian mezzo-soprano Helen Sherman, the first ever recipient of the RNCM International Artist Diploma in Opera, has just completed filming an online festival featuring an international cast of established and rising stars, including fellow alumna Catriona Scott on clarinet. The programme includes Schubert’s Shepherd on the Rock, Finzi’s Bagatelles and Britten’s Cabaret Songs. The festival runs from the 23 October – 29 November and access to all performances and artist Q&As, will be accessible for four weeks after the end of the series. Tickets will be available from 8 October, click here for more details.

Here’s Helen with The Mozartists, conducted by Ian Page, singing Oh too lovely from Thomas Arne’s Artaxerxes in the BBC documentary Mozart’s London Odyssey.


Saxophone alumnae Jenni Watson and Emma McPhilemy wanted to find a way to increase joy and motivation in practice sessions for saxophone players currently unable to perform. They launched #lockthesaxdown, a social media performance challenge series, sharing recital music for sax and piano, coupled with performance backing tracks and demo videos, to inspire players from beginner to professional. Attracting players from across the world, the challenge has been an opportunity to connect and share work in a non-competitive, supportive space.

‘The classical saxophone community is relatively small and so we are really pleased to find a way to bring more players together.’ – Jenni Watson

Watch Emma performing Jenni’s beautiful piece Ray.

If you enjoyed the piece, please consider supporting Jenni and Emma’s Kickstarter campaign, to raise funds to produce an album of music from the series. For more details click here.

Student Support

It’s absolutely wonderful to see students back in the building again and to hear the College alive with music once more. We are very much aware of our responsibility to the health of everyone in our community, in addition to ensuring that our students are safe and supported.

We are working closely with our Students’ Union to help students settle in and ensure they are enjoying their University experience in these most isolating times. Sadly, with the limited number of casual jobs or paid performance opportunities currently available, many of our students are facing financial hardship before they even start their course this year. Coupled with the increased restrictions we’re all now facing, limiting opportunities to socialise, make new friends and perform in ensembles, this truly is the most challenging time to study.

If you are able to offer hardship support, to at least ease some of their financial worries, we would be so very grateful. Please click here for more details. Thank you.

If you would like to hear more about our current teaching and performance programme and how we are supporting our students through these challenging times, please join me along with Susan Baines (Deputy Principal, Operations) and the Principal, Professor Linda Merrick, for an online update and Q&A session at 5pm on Tuesday 13 October. Please email [email protected] to find out how to join. We would be delighted to see you there.

1 October 2020