Keep Music Playing: Connect and Create

This year may not have started as any of us would have wanted, but here at the RNCM we are finding ways to adapt to the unique situation we’re currently in, and the ongoing challenges surrounding making music together while we are so far apart.

We’re aware that many of our readers are keen to find out how we are continuing to support, train and inspire our students while we are forced to close our doors. To achieve this, we have developed a rich range of activity created specifically for online learning, to ensure that we are still developing students’ skills in performance and collaborative playing.

Connect and Create is a brand-new project designed to build students’ skills in developing new work for digital consumption. Students will participate in a carefully crafted training programme, followed by support from a digital mentor, to create exciting new work across schools and instrumental groups. We look forward to sharing some of the final work our students create soon.

In addition to ongoing 1-1 lessons and classes, students will be involved in online training focussing on leadership, advanced rhythms, and techniques’ sessions, as well as professional experience activity with our partners including the BBC Philharmonic, Manchester Camerata, Manchester Collective and Opera North. Training will include sessions on How to Futureproof Your Career and How to Audition, Perform and Live in a Professional Orchestra – areas of focus more vital than ever in such challenging times for artists entering the music industry.

We will also continue to offer exciting live content for our audiences at home, including a second chance to watch our recent Thursday Lates broadcasts and a new series of Insights – our Q&A’s with leading international artists. We have also found new ways to deliver our popular annual instrumental events and are delighted to be able to broadcast online versions of our Brass Band Festival and Percussion Day. Please keep reading for more information about how you can watch, interact with and enjoy our music from your own home.

As musicians, we live to perform and share our music and we all await a time when we can do that once again in person. In the meantime, we promise to keep training the next generation of exceptional young talent and finding ways to reach you with performances that are beautiful, inspiring and which we hope will help keep your spirits high through these long days of lockdown.

Manus Carey

Deputy Principal (Performance and Programmes)


Regards sur l’Infini

Sam Armstrong & Katharine Dain

In March 2020, pianist and RNCM alumnus Sam Armstrong moved in with his recital partner, soprano Katherine Dain, for what they thought would be a few weeks of quarantine and rehearsal. Those few weeks turned into months of lockdown, and those months produced ‘a memorable, effortlessly polished album’ of French-language songs by Messiaen, Debussy, Delbos, Dutilleux, and Saariaho.

Regards sur l’Infini was recently named the Guardian’s classical album of the week.

Here is Sam and Katharine performing De rêve from Debussy’s Proses lyriques:

Stoller Hall Performance

Martin Roscoe

With an extraordinary career spanning over four decades, RNCM alumnus Martin Roscoe is one of the UK’s best loved pianists. In partnership with the Manchester Chamber Concerts Society, Martin returns to the Stoller Hall on Tuesday 9 February to perform a livestreamed recital of European music, including Mozart, Schubert, Haydn and Beethoven. This is a programme full of music which connects us and feeds our imaginations.

For more info and tickets, click here.

Here is Martin’s most recent performance at the Stoller Hall with acclaimed violinist Tasmin Little:


Brass Band Festival & Day of Percussion

The RNCM presents two special online events to mark what would have been this year’s Brass Band Festival and Day of Percussion.

Sun 31 Jan // 2pm
RNCM Brass Band Festival – An Online Tribute
Artistic Director Paul Hindmarsh hosts an online event, with special guests, looking back at highlights from the Festival over the years, followed by a live Q&A with Brass Bands England.

Sun 7 Feb // 24 hour access to videos from 10am
RNCM Day of Percussion – Virtual Edition
Simone Rebello hosts performances from current RNCM students and alumni, a students’ Q&A with renowned artist Keiko Abe, ‘top tips’ videos from our team of staff, and a celebration of Ian Wright’s amazing 42-year contribution to the RNCM Percussion department as he begins his retirement.

Both events are free to view, booking required.

Coming Up

RNCM Livestreams 

Tue 2 Feb // 5pm
Insights // Simon Keenlyside
Baritone and RNCM alumnus Sir Simon Keenlyside is well known for his highly charged performances on the operatic stage, his charismatic and nuanced concert recitals, and his extensive discography of song. In this Q&A, Simon introduces us to his world as one of the most sought-after singers around the globe.

Here is a clip of Simon singing the titular role in Mozart’s Don Giovanni with the Metropolitan Opera:

Thu 4 Feb // 8pm
Thursday Lates Repeats // RNCM Sinfonietta
Another chance to see rising star of the conducting world and RNCM alumna Chloé van Soeterstède conduct the RNCM Sinfonietta in works by Beethoven, Saint-Saëns, Ravel, and RNCM student composer Flowers Tannenbaum.

Full event listings and links to each livestream are available here , or watch over on Facebook.

Cultural Hardship Fund for Freelancers

Support for Freelancers in Manchester

In March 2020, the lights were dimmed on Manchester’s Arts and Culture sector and with the nation in another lockdown, the future is uncertain for many cultural organisations and the freelancers who work with them. The Savannah Wisdom Foundation has created a discretionary fund to support freelancers working in the creative and cultural sectors who are facing financial hardship as a result of COVID-19. The charity is making up to £500,000 available in grants of £1,500 to individual freelancers.

For more information, including eligibility and how to apply, click here.

Thank you for Keeping our Music Playing

Every pound makes a difference

The pandemic has changed so much for so many. At the RNCM we have worked tirelessly to find innovative ways to keep training and supporting our students and sharing our music.

We know how challenging this year has been for everyone and we’ve been overwhelmed by the support we’ve received from so many people, including music legends such as superstar guitarist and songwriter, Johnny Marr:

We are absolutely delighted to report that we have now not only reached, but exceeded, our initial fundraising target of £100,000, enabling us to; continue to train  and support our students, run our community education programmes virtually and broadcast online events to keep sharing our music.  None of this would have been possible without your generosity.

Although our doors will sadly remain closed over the coming months and our financial situation remains pressing, we want to take this opportunity to thank everyone who has so kindly supported us through these tough times. As we remain in lockdown, we will keep this vital fund open while we are closed and facing ongoing uncertainty. However, we promise we will continue our work and thanks to your help, always do everything we can to keep our music playing. Find out more.

29 January 2021