Keep Music Playing – Welcome Week

After months of remote working, we are very excited to be welcoming our students and colleagues back to the RNCM building soon.

I am immensely proud of the way our students and staff have adapted to working online and found innovative ways to continue to make and share their music. However, to have our wonderful young musicians back in the College – and to be able to welcome a new generation of talent through our doors- will feel more special and meaningful this year than ever before. On Monday those doors will be open to our students again, as we host our annual Welcome Week.

Our overriding priority for the Autumn Term has been to create the best possible experience for students, while ensuring we protect the health and safety of everyone in our community.

None of this would have been possible without the commitment, expertise and creativity of my colleagues, who have worked tirelessly through the summer to develop highly complex plans to ensure that our students can receive an outstanding educational experience this term.

These plans include an exciting programme of performance activities as we seek to prioritise live music-making on site as part of a blended learning model. Students will be able to access a mix of live and online individual and small group tuition, as well as an exciting range of performance and recording/streaming opportunities, which will gradually build in scale as the academic year unfolds. All this will of course be subject to any further restrictions that might from time to time be imposed on us by the fast-changing Covid situation, but I am confident that we have the necessary flexibility in place to manage whatever the coming months may bring while protecting the student experience and broader community.

Although it saddens me greatly that we cannot yet welcome live audiences back into our venues, our programming team has curated an inspiring broadcast series – Live from the RNCM – running throughout the Autumn Term that will be fully accessible online. This will include Thursday Lates, a Monday lunchtime series, a Q&A Insights series with leading international figures and an end of term online festival, as well as a number of other curated one-off projects.  The performances will feature collaborations with our staff and students, and some special guests including Sir Mark Elder, Chloe Soeterstade, Manchester Collective and the Elias Quartet amongst others.  Please do log on to watch and be inspired by our wonderful performers. They value and will really appreciate your support.

Finally, and most importantly, I would like to thank everyone in the RNCM community for the wonderful messages of support and generous donations we have received over recent months. It has offered great solace to us to know how important the RNCM is to so many people and will help us to continue to transform the lives of the talented and dedicated young people with whom we have the privilege to work.  We hope we can welcome you all back into our concert venues very soon. Until then, please keep us in your thoughts, and we promise to keep the music playing.

– Professor Linda Merrick, Principal

Student Ambassadors

This year will see more students than ever before taking on roles as Ambassadors to welcome our new entrants. We’re delighted to be able to offer these paid posts to our students, many of whom have lost income they would usually secure through performing or part time work. Most importantly, this fabulous group will be providing peer support and a friendly welcome to students, who are adapting to living in a new city and starting a degree course, during these most challenging, unusual times.

RNCM at the BBC Proms

This year’s Proms have featured a wealth of RNCM and Royal Manchester School of Music and Northern School of Music alumni including; pianist Jonathan Scott, the Elias Quartet, mezzo-soprano Alice Coote and composers Sir Harrison Birtwistle and Gavin Higgins.

For those who missed it, here are two of our fabulous alumni, Stephen Hough and Alpesh Chauhan with the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, performing Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No 2, Richard Strauss’s Metamorphosen and a world première from Jay Capperauld.


Heroes: The Shadows of a Tragic Mind

Cellist and alumna Sarah Gait found herself unexpectedly in the deep countryside for six months when Covid struck. Spending time in the studio, Sarah was motivated to make opportunity from adversity and recorded several hours of unbroken improvisation. From this she created a beautiful short film, Heroes: The Shadows of a Tragic Mind, which has just won the Digital Creative Award at ISA Digital Festival in Vienna, inspired by the festival’s themes of Beethoven and heroes.

Manchester Sounds, Volume 10

We’re delighted to share news that the new edition of Manchester Sounds (Vol 10) will soon be hitting the shelves. This edition will be commemorating the centenary of The Northern School of Music, in addition to features on some of the North West’s most illustrious musicians, including iconic violist Arthur Catterall and Arnold Cooke, former professor at the Royal Manchester College of Music.

Here is Arnold Cooke’s Three Songs of Innocence, a beautiful, English pastoral work with words by William Blake, still resonating across the world, with this recent performance in Old St Mary’s Cathedral, in San Francisco.

The journal is available to buy at Forsyths.

The Untold Orchestra

It’s an absolute joy to be able to share news of live performance happening once again. The Untold Orchestra, one of Manchester’s most exciting musical ensembles, founded by alumni and featuring a host of RNCM talent, were waiting for the moment when they could play in front of a live audience again. Last week they paid homage to The Beatles at Escape to Freight Island, Manchester’s newest outdoor dining experience, performing a special and sadly rare live concert.

For a taste of what those lucky diners saw, here is I Want You (She’s So Heavy) ft. Will Jaquet, from last year at Niamos Radical Arts & Cultural Centre in Hulme, just down the road from the RNCM.

Thank you

As our students return to College, we’d like to take this opportunity to say thank you to all the donors who have supported our reopening costs and our Student Hardship Fund. As we welcome our students back, we have no doubt that many will be anxious about their financial situation as they once again face significant living expenses with little opportunity for paid work as the pandemic continues. We are expecting a greater call than ever for our emergency hardship funds so if you are able to offer support to ease the burden for our young musicians, we would be so very grateful. Please click here for more information about how your help can transform the life of one of our talented students. Thank you.

18 September 2020