Keep Music Playing 31

At the RNCM, the wellbeing of our students is always our primary concern, and thanks to the small size of our student body, we really do know every individual young musician, giving us a holistic understanding of each of their personal circumstances.

It will come as no surprise that our students’ need for both emotional and financial support has increased dramatically as the pandemic has raged on. We have already received double the number of applications for hardship funding than we usually receive in an entire academic year, with more expected as the year continues.

Many of our students, who rely on income from part-time jobs in education and the hospitality sector, lost a vital source of income overnight and have now been without work for a considerable amount of time. Some are having to pay to live both in Manchester and at home, contributing to bills as they study remotely while parents’ finances continue to be impacted by the pandemic. Even with additional hardship funding available, some sadly face difficulties too great for our support to cover: 11 students have made the heart-breaking decision to defer or withdraw from study this year for financial reasons.

However, thanks to the generosity of our community who have donated to our Keep Music Playing campaign, we have been able to support more students this year than ever before.

Previously accessible only to UK musicians, our Hardship Fund is now open to all our students. We have expanded our counselling and wellbeing services, to support even more students and to enable them to approach us for help earlier, avoiding smaller problems growing. These approaches, along with a fourfold increase in the amount of financial support we’ve been able to make available this year, means we’ve been able to save more studentships this year than ever before. All this has only been possible because of your support. From all the students and staff at the RNCM, thank you.

Adam Croucher
Deputy Head of Registry


All Time is Eternally Present 
Manchester Camerata

Conducted by the internationally renowned Pekka Kuusisto, Manchester Camerata present a programme featuring two rising stars – saxophonist  and BBC Radio 3 broadcaster Jess Gillam, and BBC Last Night of the Proms composer Daniel Kidane – both RNCM alumni. Full programme details can be found here.

To read a short Q&A with Daniel, who took part in the composer project we ran with Manchester Camerata in 2008/09, resulting in his very first commission, click here.

Here is an excerpt of Jess’s exhilarating performance of Darius Milhaud’s Scaramouche at the 2018 BBC Proms:

CBSO @ Home
Peter Campbell-Kelly

CBSO Section Leader Second Violin and RNCM alumnus, Peter Campbell-Kelly has put together a specially produced performance of Biber’s Mystery Sonata No 16 ‘Passacaglia’ as part of the CBSO’s at home series. Peter’s describes his beautifully shot, meditative performance as ‘a sort of musical prayer, intended somehow for the well-being of all of us, in this desperately difficult pandemic’.

Watch Peter’s captivating performance:

The Lockdown Songbook

Last Summer, we shared news of Klezmer-ish’s second album, Dusty Road, which received a 4-star review from The Times, who described the group as ‘a joyous combination of playfulness and precision, and an assortment of styles that genuinely takes flight’.

Now, while performance venues remain closed, the group, including RNCM alumnus Thomas Verity, present their Lockdown Songbook: a free online concert series exploring new music they’ve composed in isolation. Recorded in early 2021, at the stunning Princes Road Synagogue in Liverpool, the group’s unique blend of genres are brought straight to audience’s homes.

A new track will be released every month up until the group’s planned tour this coming June, restrictions allowing. Follow Klezmer-ish on Facebook here and YouTube here, to keep up-to-date with every new episode.

Here is the first episode of their Lockdown Songbook:

Conrad Chatterton and Liam Karai
Opera North Chorus Mentor Scheme

We’re delighted to share the news that RNCM School of Vocal Studies and Opera students Conrad Chatterton and Liam Karai have been selected as the two bass/baritones to take part in the Opera North Chorus Mentor Scheme. The pair will receive mentorship from Opera North’s Chorus Manager, Howard Croft, and Chorus Master, Oliver Rundell, as well as bespoke career advice. Both Conrad and Liam are also finalists in the Frederic Cox Award for Singing 2021.

To find out more about Conrad, click here.

To find out more about Liam, click here.

Coming Up


Two more exciting Q&A sessions as part of the RNCM’s Insights series.

Tue 2 Mar // 5pm
Live Q&A with Alisa Weilerstein

Internationally renowned cellist Alisa Weilerstein ‘doesn’t give the impression that making music involves will at all. She and the cello seem simply to be one and the same’. Join us to discover how Alisa turned the pressure of a pandemic into fuel for creativity.

Watch Alisa’s spirited performance of Dvořák’s Rondo in G minor Op 94 with the Philharmonia Orchestra:

Tue 9 Mar // 5pm
Live Q&A with Caroline Shaw

New York-based vocalist, violinist, composer, and producer Caroline Shaw was the youngest recipient of the Pulitzer Prize for Music in 2013 for her Partita for 8 Voices. In this Q&A, Caroline will discuss her inspirations and the joy of performing your own music.

Thank you …
For supporting our students

Without a doubt, many of our students would have been facing financial crisis without the emergency hardship funding and wellbeing support we’ve been able to offer – all thanks to donations from our wonderful community of music lovers.

However, the financial difficulties so many of our students’ face will continue for many more months, until they are able to perform and secure part time employment again. If you are able to help a student through these hugely challenging times, you could ease the financial and emotional burdens they are carrying and ensure they are able to continue their training and keep their music playing. Please click here to find out how you can make a difference. Thank you.

26 February 2021