Keep Music Playing / 6

The RNCM has always been a welcoming home to an international community of musicians, a community I am hugely proud to be a part of.

Staff and students from all over the world come to teach and train at the RNCM, with over 200 of our 900 students coming from over 60 countries around the world.

Our season of concerts before lockdown focussed on migration, from the earliest roots of the RNCM envisioned by German born conductor Sir Charles Hallé, to performances from our current international student body, each with their own musical culture, experience and identity.

We have learnt during this crisis how music has brought communities together, from communal singing on balconies in Italy, to virtual choirs coming together online. We have been inspired by our staff and students performing and working together across continents and time zones.

We have also been moved by the news many of our students have shared from their home countries, including my own, China. In this week’s edition, we feature a selection of performances from our international community, including a short piece I’ve specially recorded that you’ll find if you keep reading! We hope that through music we can offer our solidarity, and that in time, we can all be together again.

Best wishes,

Le Yu
Deputy Director of Percussion / International Consultant (China) / Honorary Associate Artist

Nicola Benedetti Masterclass

We are delighted to announce a very special masterclass and live Q&A for our students, alumni and supporters with global classical superstar, Nicola Benedetti. Offering masterclasses with leading international artists has always been a key feature of training at the RNCM.

Now, thanks to enhanced digital infrastructure, recently procured to support our students, we are able to offer online masterclasses with some of the biggest names in the music industry.

To experience the masterclass, join us on Monday 28th April from 4.30pm on our Facebook page or YouTube channel.

If you have a question for Nicola for the Q&A, please email digital@rncm.ac.uk by 5pm on Monday 27 April.

Alexander Panfilov: Playing in quarantine

Alexander Panfilov was born in Moscow and studied at the RNCM, which was made possible thanks to scholarships from a number of generous supporters including; Helen Rachael Mackaness Charitable Trust, the Leverhulme Trust and the Musicians’ Company.

Since graduating in 2016 he has performed in venues throughout the world. We are especially proud that Alexander is one of our Honorary Associate Artists and we are delighted to share this beautiful short film of him playing in quarantine in his apartment.

I want to share this message of support with you and all people affected by this pandemic. We must stay strong and stay at home, and remember that music can help us during this difficult time.

Alexander Panfilov

A snapshot from China…

We have a long tradition of welcoming students from China and are keeping in close touch with those students who have returned home, as well as offering pastoral support to those who have stayed in the UK.

Like many students returning home Yihui Wang, one of our vocal students, experienced 14 days of self-isolation before he could see his family again. Now out of quarantine, he has been practicing, taking pictures in the local botanical gardens, cooking, and finding time for his online lessons!

We wondered what he missed about the RNCM and his answer made us smile:

I miss it too much. I miss my classmates and my tutors, I miss everything, from my all-time favourite Boesendorfer 214vc piano in the Studio3, to the prime beef burger and flat white from Brodsky.

– Yihui Wang, Nanjing China

Early Music from Malta

Dr Joanne Camilleri is a Maltese pianist and RNCM alumna. She regularly performs across Europe and many readers will have enjoyed watching her play at the RNCM Chamber Music Festival.

Joanne has a keen interest in 17th- and 18th- century repertoire and is also known for her work on the harpsichord. She has recorded this beautiful piece to celebrate Early Music Day and to reach out through lockdown, which you can enjoy here:

Guidance, recommendations and music with Rafal Zambrzycki-Payne

Rafal Zambrzycki-Payne, former BBC Young Musician of the Year and one of our most highly esteemed members of our alumni community, was born in Poland. After many years working internationally, he has returned to his home country to lead the Polish National Radio Symphony Orchestra. Rafal has kindly recorded a short film for us, ably supported by his young daughter! In it he offers advice and guidance to our current students, recommends music that’s inspiring him through isolation and performs a short recital of one his favourite Bach pieces. It’s available to view here. We hope you enjoy it is as much as we did!

Each student is really taken care of

– Rafal Zambrzycki-Payne

Classical pop

Latvian pianist, Eduards Grieznis, moved to the UK to study at the RNCM.

Now back in Latvia, but playing throughout Europe, Eduards has made his first foray into classical pop crossover, with this beautiful ballad I was Happy, which you can enjoy here:

You can find more of his music on YouTube and Spotify.

Thank you

A final thank you to all of our wonderful supporters who are continuing to donate to our hardship fund. The fund was set up to support students through unexpected circumstances and couldn’t be

more pertinent or necessary right now. We know how challenging times are for many members of our community at the moment. We promised not to forget you and we so grateful that you have not forgotten us too.

And finally

Today, although we are physically apart, the world is facing this together as one. I would like to dedicate this performance to every frontline worker on this planet for saving our lives.

At this difficult time, we all have to come together to get through it. The good days will return soon, until then, for you all, here is ‘Over the rainbow’.

Want more?

Don’t forget our student recitals at 1.15pm on Mondays and Thursdays from our Facebook page.

Keep up-to-date with all things RNCM, with our very own radio show on Tuesday lunchtimes at 1pm. You can listen in here and catch up with previous episodes.

24 April 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…