Pathfinder – Supporting Aspiring Young Musicians

Now in its fourth year, the RNCM Pathfinder programme is designed to increase opportunities for children and young people who are curious, full of potential and love nothing more than playing music, but who face social and/or economic barriers to their musical progression.

Building strong relationships with our students and their families, we offer core workshops in improvisation, composition and chamber music, and develop a bespoke plan including mentorship for those Pathfinders who’d like to progress into studying music further.

Beyond the RNCM and in partnership with the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra, Pathfinder also delivers creative sessions and further supports young people from their In Harmony programme.

During the pandemic, we adapted our workshops so that we could stay connected and keep offering this valuable music education online, and it was fantastic to see these young people return to the RNCM in person recently and to be able to engage with like-minded young people in our Pathfinder Chamber Music weekend. Playing side-by-side with current RNCM and Junior RNCM students, tutors and alumni, our Pathfinder students worked on chamber music ranging from Bach to Dua Lipa!

The central aim of Pathfinder is to enable young people to build their confidence so they can take the next step as musicians independently, and we have students going on to study at Junior RNCM, Chetham’s School of Music, taking their grade exams, choosing to take music at GCSE or A-level and all doing so successfully!

We regularly receive feedback about the lifechanging impact the programme has on the lives of these young musicians and families. As an additional externally funded programme, we wouldn’t be able to offer any of these opportunities without the generous support of our donors.

You may have seen former Pathfinder and current Junior RNCM Student Joseph Sweeney perform at our recent online event, Keep Music Playing Live. None of this would be possible without the incredible support we receive. If you would like to support this life changing programme please click here to make a gift today.

From the bottom of our hearts, thank you.

Kelly Prause
Pathfinder Manager (Maternity Cover)

‘Joseph’s hopes and aspirations to study music in further education started to become more achievable as Pathfinder and Junior RNCM teachers gave him the confidence to work hard and believe in himself as a talented young musician. Without Pathfinder, our son Joseph would not be where he is today.’ The Sweeney Family


RNCM Pathfinder Students Perform ‘Manchester’
Dedicated to the victims of the Manchester Arena bombing

The aim of our Pathfinder Easter school was to create a virtual performance where each of our Pathfinders could share what they’d learned. Working on Manchester, Morecambe, Marrakesh, a short suite written by our main facilitator, Ian Gray, they took part in a variety of sessions, including a Digital Skills session delivered by RNCM Digital Ambassador Merel-Magali Cox.

Initially intended to be a keepsake for the participants, we decided together to dedicate the first movement of the performance, Manchester, to those who lost their lives in the Manchester Arena Bombing, 22 May 2017. Watch their performance:

Cardiff Singer of the World 2021
Sarah Gilford

Congratulations to soprano and RNCM alumna Sarah Gilford who, following her win at the Welsh Singers Showcase 2021 earlier this year, will represent Wales at the Cardiff Singer of the World 2021.

Now in its 20th edition, the biennial competition has launched the careers of some of the world’s most successful opera stars. This year’s competition will take place from 12-19 June. For more information, including how you can watch and listen, click here.

Watch Sarah’s emotive performance of ‘With darkness deep’ from Handel’s Theodora, on stage at St David’s Hall, Cardiff with the BBC National Orchestra of Wales:

Green Man Rising – Vote Now!
Paige Kennedy

Paige Kennedy is an artist and producer currently studying on our Popular Music programme. Creating an energetic mix of funk, electronic and indie infused alt-pop, Paige has received wide support from BBC Introducing in Manchester and BBC Radio 6 Music.

Paige and her band of fellow students James Cooke, Kieran Murphy and Jacob Bentley, has now made it on to the long list to play at this year’s Green Man festival, ahead of over 3000 other artists.

An incredible opportunity to gain exposure to some fantastic labels, managers, and radio executives, they need your help to make it to the shortlist, which will be voted on by a panel of industry professionals.

Click here to read more about Paige and click here to vote for them to play at Green Man! Voting closes Wednesday 9 June.

Here is the video for Paige’s catchy new single Crush:

Coming Up

Tue 8 Jun // 5pm
Insights // Live Q&A with Max Richter

Max Richter stands as one of the most prodigious figures on the contemporary music scene. His ground-breaking work as a composer, pianist, producer and collaborator has led him to an impressive body of work encompassing solo albums, ballets, film and television scores and theatrical works.

Here is the music video for Max Richter’s All Human Beings, a film by Yulia Mahr:

Wed 16 – Thu 17 Jun
Future Music #3 (featuring a world première by Memo Akten)

This third edition of Future Music – our deep dive into developments in new music and technology –celebrates our love of cross-disciplinary collaboration. Produced by the RNCM’s very own Centre for Practice & Research in Science & Music (PRiSM), we’re excited to link machine-learning specialists with audiovisual artists, and hear health data researchers perform music created from their own COVID-19 experience.

We’re thrilled to present The Awesome Machinery of Nature, a new work commissioned especially for Future Music #3 by our first PRiSM Scientist in Residence, Memo Akten.

Journey Across the Impossible
Apollo Saxophone Quartet
Find out more

The ground-breaking Apollo Saxophone Quartet present the online premiere of Journey Across the Impossible, a unique set mixing music with ‘crazy and wonderful’ films from the early years of the silent movie era.

An RNCM ensemble in association, the quartet are all College alumni and include three current staff members, including our Head of Saxophone, Rob Buckland. As an ensemble, they have made the largest single contribution to UK saxophone quartet repertoire in recent years, commissioning and premiering over 100 works.

You can catch nightly streams of Journey Across the Impossible through this weekend, or watch on demand from June 7-13. For more information, and to watch on, click here.

Here is the trailer for the event:

The kindness of our community
We can’t do it without you!
Find out more

We are incredibly proud of our amazingly resilient students and alumni, who have continued to practise, develop and find innovative ways of performing through the pandemic.  To be able to share news of so many RNCM musicians performing live to audiences once again, is a source of great happiness and relief.

We hope you are able to see them online or in person. We have missed our wonderful, warm and generous audiences. Although performances are happening outdoors, we are sadly still unable to safely reopen our building to the public. This has now been a very long closure of our venues, leading to a multimillion-pound loss of vital income, which directly supports the College and our students.

We are hugely dependent on the generosity and kindness of our community to keep us going. If you can help, please click here to find out how every single gift directly supports our students and work. We quite simply couldn’t do it without you. Thank you.

6 June 2021