Our Students Return! – Keep Music Playing

It is an absolute joy to have our students back again after a difficult twelve months, filling the College with music whilst they prepare for their end of year recitals.

Throughout lockdown, when we were sadly unable to teach at the RNCM in person, we supported our students through enhanced digital provision. Not only did our students have their one-to-one lessons online, but they also benefited from regular performance classes and a weekly chat forum. Sessions focused on a wide range of topics from a repertoire exchange, featuring underrepresented composers, to how to develop an online presence – a crucial skill, now more than ever before. We also introduced our second year undergraduates to an exciting new module in collaboration with the School of Composition, in which our pianists performed new works by RNCM composers; a valuable opportunity for students in both schools.

We have organised online masterclasses with internationally renowned pianists, including Stephen Hough, Barry Douglas, Jean-Efflam Bavouzet, Angela Hewitt and Steven Osborne. These masterclasses have been greatly enriched by the use of our new ‘Zoom Room’. This features professional equipment, an adjustable camera and excellent Steinway pianos, allowing tutors to get a thorough sense of our students’ performance. This investment will provide our students with the facilities necessary to connect easily with musicians from around the world.

Throughout the pandemic, RNCM pianists have been able to access the building, in line with COVID guidance, to practise independently on our wonderful pianos at the College, which is essential for their development. We’re delighted that many of our students are now back in the building and able to resume one-to-one learning with their Principal Study tutors, as they prepare for their upcoming recitals.

Looking ahead, students are preparing for our annual Gold Medal competition and we’re also looking forward to many cross-school performances in the College after final examinations.

Much of this work has only been possible thanks to the generous support of our Keep Music Playing readers. Each and every donation you gave has enabled us to develop projects and invest in infrastructure, ensuring we can continue to train the next generation of musicians. Thank you. We very much look forward to welcoming you back to share our music with you all again soon.

Graham Scott
Head of School of Keyboard Studies


RNCM Students and Alumni Shortlisted
Leeds International Piano Competition

We’re thrilled that four RNCM students and alumni have been shortlisted for this year’s Leeds International Piano Competition 2021. Giulia Contaldo, Ryan Drucker, Tyler Hay and Filip Michalak are amongst the 62 outstanding pianists invited to participate in the International First Round of the 20th edition of the competition.

We wish each pianist the best of luck!

Keep your eyes peeled here later this spring for updates.

RNCM International Chair in Music Education

Nate Holder Appointed

We’re excited to announce that Nate Holder has been appointed to the new role of International Chair in Music Education. Recognised internationally as an advocate for decolonising music education, Nate will work with students across all Schools to address current issues, bias and underrepresentation and we warmly welcome him to the RNCM.

Opera Live at Home

Joanna Harries and Ashley Beauchamp

Joanna Harries

Join mezzo-soprano and RNCM alumna Joanna Harries, and pianist/conductor Ashley Beauchamp, on Tuesday 30 March for a special evening of opera arias. The livestreamed performance – including works by Handel, Mozart, Bellini, Massenet, Strauss II and Walton – will be followed by a special Q&A with the artists.

Joanna has performed with Welsh National Opera, Scottish Opera, Grange Park Opera, Opera Holland Park and British Youth Opera, and is an Emerging Artist for the Royal Opera House’s Opera Dots programme for children.

For more information and tickets, click here. To watch Joanna’s wonderful performance of Hugo Wolf’s Nimmersatte Liebe, click here.

Russell Gilmour
Berlin Classics Album

Trumpet player and RNCM alumnus, Russell Gilmour, features as a soloist in Bach’s Brandenburg Concerto No 2 on Berlin Classic’s latest release, J S Bach: The Brandenburg Concertos. Recorded with Il Gusto Barocco as part of the Ansbach Bachwoche 2019, the album also features violinists and RNCM alumni Naomi Burrell and Adam Lord. To read about Russell’s experience of the performance and recording, click here.

J S Bach: The Brandenburg Concertos is released today (26 March).

Here is Russell’s lockdown performance of Clemens Thieme’s Sonata ab. 8, with violinist/viola player George Clifford:

Steven Mead
Mortimer Medal Winner 2021

RNCM Senior Tutor in Euphonium and Baritone, Steven Mead, has been announced as this year’s recipient of the 2021 Mortimer Medal award, in recognition of his contribution to the brass band movement and his inspirational commitment to the teaching and development of future generations of players.

To hear Steven talking about his joy on being announced as this year’s recipient, and finally being able to return to the RNCM to teach after the most recent lockdown, click here.

To watch Steven’s recent performance of Soliloquy II (in the Cross…), a new work for euphonium and piano by Howard J Evans, click here.

NSM Centenary Event
Seeking Northern School of Music Alumni

We will be marking the centenary of the Northern School of Music on 31 October 2021 with a very special Alumni event, and we’d like to celebrate with as many NSM graduates as possible.

If you studied at the Northern School of Music, or if you know someone who studied or taught at the NSM, we’d love to hear from you!

Please email [email protected] to help with our search.

Keep Music Playing
Thank You for Helping Our Students to Return!

It’s wonderful to breathe life into our building again as our students return to train, practise and perform. This has been made possible thanks to the donations we’ve received from our generous supporters, enabling us to invest in the PPE and technology necessary to ensure our students’ safe return. A huge thanks to everyone who has contributed to this vital fund. As we continue to maintain our site to adhere to COVID guidelines, we will face ongoing costs over a long period of time. If you would like to find out how you can help to keep the College safely open for our staff and students, please click here for more details.

Thank you. We are truly grateful for all the help and support we receive.

26 March 2021