Keep Music Playing: New Year, New Challenges

When we began sending our ‘Keep Music Playing’ emails last March, connecting our RNCM family while our doors were sadly shut to the public, we never thought that we would be in the same position at the start of the new year. I am sure you feel the same way.

Yet, as I write this first message of the year, whilst 2020 has brought many challenges, I also look back on the creativity, talent, resourcefulness, resilience and many kindnesses that inspired us all. This gives me optimism that our students and community of alumni and partners will continue to achieve great things this year, in spite of the circumstances we face.

My colleagues across the College are once again adapting and refining our academic provision and performance programme to ensure we can continue to provide world-class tuition and professional development experiences for our students while we are only able to teach online. This includes finding ways to offer piano and percussion students who have remained at their term time accommodation over the Christmas break safe access to practice rooms with quality instruments  and use of our state-of-the-art Zoom Room facilities to support their online learning. Sadly, for the majority of our students, online learning from their home addresses will once again be the norm for a few weeks to come, but as we prioritise their health and safety by complying fully with the national lockdown restrictions, we remain committed to offer them all the support they need to flourish in this environment.

We know many of you are missing watching our talented young musicians perform live. Although our performance programme will sadly be on hold until the lockdown restrictions ease and we are able to welcome socially distanced audiences back into the building, we will be continuing our online programme, including interactive Q&As with acclaimed artists and repeat screenings of some of our wonderful Thursday Lates concerts. I hope you will be able to tune in and join us.

I am proud to lead an institution so deeply rooted in our community, and have been very moved by our dedicated family of supporters, who despite the challenges they themselves have faced, have still pulled together to help the RNCM keep music playing. As we remain closed to the public for many more months and our box office and catering losses sadly only increase, we are hugely grateful for all the help you have already given and your ongoing generosity and support.

I hope you will keep safe and well at this difficult time and that 2021 will see a gradual return to live music-making at the RNCM for our students and audiences.

Professor Linda Merrick



Louisa Alice-Rose

Inspired by the challenges of being separated from loved ones over the past year, RNCM alumna Louisa Alice-Rose collaborated with composer Lyndon Samuel on You Are Not Alone, released in late November.

Featuring children from LAR Performing Arts (based in Welwyn and Tring), the track reached number one in the iTunes Classical Charts and is available to stream on all platforms or purchase on iTunes, along with Louisa’s recently released debut album Summer Rose.

Here is the music video for You Are Not Alone:

Victoria String Quartet

With a new line up for 2021, including RNCM tutors Benedict Holland and Benedict Langridge, the brilliant Victoria String Quartet, who took their name from, and made their debut at, Manchester’s historic Victoria Baths, are performing at the city’s Stoller Hall on Sunday 24 January.

Enjoy classical music live from your living room with their programme of Mozart, Beethoven and Puccini.

For more info and tickets, click here.

Coming Up

We’re delighted that our concert series Live from the RNCM was voted as the winner of the Livestreamed Series category for the 2020 Classical Music Digital Awards!

Whilst we’re unable to broadcast live from the RNCM at the moment, we’re delighted to offer the chance to catch repeats of some of our most exciting broadcasts from our Thursday Lates series last term:

Thu 14 Jan // 8pm

RNCM Session Ensemble (repeat of live broadcast from 12 Nov 2020)

Thu 21 Jan // 8pm

RNCM Pianos (repeat of live broadcast from 1 Oct 2020)

Thu 28 Jan // 8pm

RNCM Wind + Brass (repeat of live broadcast from 15 Oct 2020)

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

Tue 26 Jan // 5pm
Insights // Colin Currie 

Colin Currie, described as being ‘at the summit of percussion performance today’, is the next guest in our Insights series.

This live Q&A focusses on his championing of new music (including his close relationship with Steve Reich), and his role as soloist and Artistic Director of the Colin Currie Group.

Here’s Colin conducting the Colin Currie Group in a performance of Steve Reich’s Pulse at Fondation Louis Vuitton:

Thank You for Keeping our Music Playing

‘In times of crisis, humans turn to art for help. Staying indoors and washing our hands will help us survive. Protecting the arts will help us live.’ The Guardian

The RNCM nurtures the next generation of musicians. Our work develops this essential talent, but without support now  it is at serious risk.

We have been truly overwhelmed by the generosity of our community who have already given. Thank you to all of you. However, as we are still unable to reopen our venues, our losses are worryingly increasing daily.

We must continue to fundraise and we are so close to our transformative target of £100,000. Every single donation, of every size is collectively making a difference. Please help us to reach it, if you can.

15 January 2021