Resonate: February 2023

Welcome to your February edition of Resonate!

A huge thank you to everyone in our wonderful RNCM community who donated to our Engage Appeal this winter, part of the RNCM50 Fund. Together, you helped raise an incredible £61,000 to support musical talent, growth and aspiration in young people. Funds raised will provide vital support for our Engage programmes, working with under-18’s to remove barriers to music education and help them pursue their love of music.

The latest issue of our alumni magazine The Northern is now available to read online and this RNCM50 edition is jam-packed with exciting news and features about our fabulous family of alumni.

Read on for lots of exciting news and stories from across the RNCM community this month.

There’s lots going on at the College this month, including performances by our alumni, Artists-in-Residence, side-by-side concerts with RNCM students, and more!

Take a pinch of a romantic song cycle, stir in some studio theatre and a touch of jazz, then filter the whole thing through a hessian sack of deep, dark Central European folklore and you might be somewhere in the region of Bag of Bones (10 Feb), alumna Alice Zawadzki’s bewitching new project for RNCM Artists-in Residence, Manchester Collective.

The Band of HM Royal Marines Scotland, the only Royal Marines Band stationed north of Portsmouth, is coming to the RNCM (23 Feb) and our students are joining them for a spectacular evening of music, including two world premieres and music by alumnus Fergal Carroll.

A singer in a band is singing into a microphone and pointing into the crowd.

The legendary RNCM Session Orchestra returns to the stage for a special 50th Anniversary Edition (25 Feb), paying tribute to Manchester’s iconic music scene from across the years, supported by the RNCM Gospel Choir.

We welcome another two of our Artists-in-Residence back to the RNCM later this term. In the second event of their residency, the Elias String Quartet perform side-by-side with students from the School of Strings in an evening of Brahms, Respighi & Mendelssohn (27 Feb). Stephen Hough also returns for the second event of his residency with a programme that The Guardian recently gave five stars, hailing him ‘a master pianist who lines up with the greats’.

There’s fun for all the family at RNCM Young Explorers: Wallace & Gromit – The Wrong Trousers (12 Feb). Our Young Explorers concerts are a fantastic way to introduce children to live orchestral music, and you can even make your own Gromit! You can also catch RNCM Children’s Opera: The Snow Queen (9 Feb) – our incredible flagship project, which sees 150 children from local schools performing alongside over 70 RNCM students in a fully staged new production that the children help create.

For full details of what’s on, including our ever popular Monday Lunchtimes and Thursday Lunchtimes, visit our website.

Throwing Open the Concert Doors
RNCM Receives National Lottery Heritage Funding
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We are delighted that the RNCM has been awarded £206,506 from the National Lottery Heritage Fund for a new project focusing on key recordings from the College’s sound archives.

The RNCM Archive includes recordings of nearly all concert performances since 1973, including student recitals, opera productions and masterclasses with tutors and guest artists.  Many of these are stored on magnetic tape and are steadily and irreversibly degrading, meaning they are in danger of being lost forever. Through collaboration with the Unlocking Our Sound Heritage initiative and Manchester Digital Music Archive, we will conserve and digitise many of our key magnetic reel and tape recordings, making them publicly available online and via a new interactive listening booth within the College.

A community engagement programme will also present workshops, tours, tutorials and hack days to local groups as well as a programme of oral history collection to gather memories and stories from staff, alumni, audiences and supporters.

‘Our archive is part of Manchester’s cultural heritage narrative, expanding the city’s musical significance and contribution beyond indie and Madchester to classical, jazz, brass, wind and pop. The RNCM has nurtured and launched the careers of countless instrumentalists, singers and composers, and unlocking this heritage will inspire a new generation of music lovers.’

Heather Roberts, RNCM Archivist

As part of this exciting project, we will soon be offering the chance to sponsor a reel, enabling us to digitise even more of our archive and preserve it for the future. More info to come!

Dane Lam holds a conductors baton high while standing amongst a playing strings orchestra,

Hawaiʻi Symphony Orchestra
Alumnus Dane Lam Appointed Music Director
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Congratulations to alumnus Dane Lam, who has been appointed Music Director of the Hawai’i Symphony Orchestra Symphony Orchestra from the 2023/24 season.

In his native Australia, he was the first conductor in the history of Opera Queensland to be honoured with an official position when he was appointed their Associate Music Director and Resident Conductor in December 2020, and he has been Principal Conductor and Artistic Director of China’s Xi’an Symphony Orchestra since 2014.

Dane has worked with leading orchestras and opera companies across the world, from Sydney, Australia to Opera Holland Park and we’re thrilled to hear about his latest success.


Four smiling women stand on stage at a live music venue in jumpsuits.

Vulva Voce
String Quartet Win Battle of the Bands
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We’re thrilled that string quartet Vulva Voce recently won Nonclassical’s Battle of the Bands – an annual showcase offering a snapshot into the cutting edge of the new music scene. On their performance, nonclassical commented ‘the four string players performed from memory with a striking energy and intuition for the music, creating a rousing atmosphere in the venue’.

Established at the RNCM in 2021, the quartet features alumni Georgina MacDonell Finlayson, Nadia Eskandari, Lucy McLuckie and postgraduate student Julia Sandros-Alper. The won the RNCM’s Creative Innovators Award 2022 and the Elias Chamber Music Prize. They recently performed at Manchester’s Connect Chamber Music Festival and EMPOWER’s International Women’s Day event and were the resident quartet at the South Downs Summer Music Festival this summer.

‘A breath of fresh air for the industry and an inspiration. I look forward to seeing them grow and achieve the credit they deserve.’

Sacha Lord

Night Time Economy Advisor for Greater Manchester, Co-Founder of Parklife and The Warehouse Project

A is for Aretha
New Children’s Book by RNCM Governor
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RNCM Governor, American harpsichordist and founder of The Monarch Network, Leslie Kwan, has written an exciting ABC children’s book featuring Black women musicians whose artistry and activism globally changed the way we hear and interact with music, one song at a time.

Published by Penguin Random House, A is for Aretha spotlights 26 Black women in music, celebrating the contributions they made not only within their industry, but also the social causes that often underpinned their music.

8 February 2023