Resonate: June 2023

Welcome to your June 2023 edition of Resonate!

As we reach the height of our 50th anniversary celebrations, there’s a buzz of activity at the RNCM this month and a summer performance programme like never before.

We’re excited to see that over 20% of this year’s Glyndebourne Chorus are RNCM graduates, as our alumni staff and students gear up to perform at a myriad of festivals over the coming months, including the BBC Proms (read on for more!).

As well as a celebratory month of performances, we’ve got lots of exciting news for you this month, with members of our community winning prestigious awards and securing success in the charts!

It’s a jam-packed month at the RNCM as we celebrate the peak of our 50th anniversary performance programme. Here are some of the highlights:

RNCM 50th Birthday Celebration
Thu 22 Jun // 6.30pm
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Raise a glass with us and journey through three innovative performances across an evening of celebrations. The RNCM String Orchestra and Chamber Choir join forces with guest leaders from Manchester Camerata, BBC Philharmonic, and Solem Quartet for a stunning choral opening before guest conductor Alpesh Chauhan OBE unleashes the sheer power and excitement of the RNCM Symphony Orchestra. Our Session Orchestra promises an electrifying closing act that turns up the dial on some of popular music’s most iconic tunes from our founding year, 1973.

RNCM Opera Gala with The Orchestra of Opera North
Wed 28 Jun // 7.30pm
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RNCM vocal and opera students join The Orchestra of Opera North, conducted by their Music Director and alumnus Garry Walker, for a fantastic evening of operatic scenes.

We’re delighted that several of our internationally renowned vocal alumni will join us for this 50th anniversary celebration concert including Carolina Krogius, Soraya Mafi, Linda Richardson, Kathleen Wilkinson, Andrew Greenan, Philip Smith, Christopher Turner, Elgan Llŷr Thomas, and Roland Wood.

RNCM Wind Orchestra with Mikhail Nemtsov (cello)
Thu 29 Jun // 7.30pm
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Join our Wind Orchestra for a riveting evening of new works, including Luis Serrano Alarcon’s Cello Concerto with soloist and RNCM alumnus Mikhail Nemtsov, alongside a UK premiere by Jennifer Higdon.

Infused with energy, this programme is built around commissions by Tim Reynish MBE, a pioneering conductor and influential figure in the development of the RNCM Wind Orchestra. We’re also delighted to be joined by our guest leaders, many of whom are staff and alumni.

Why not kickstart you evening with our free student-led spotlight concert: Duets & Arias – Scenes from Donizetti’s L’elisir d’amore (6.30pm // Free admission, ticket required)

There’s fun for all the family as our RNCM Young Explorers series continues with music from Sing and Sing 2 (18 Jun), and students from our Young Programmes present a vibrant evening of music making in our RNCM Young Programmes Showcase (30 Jun).

Vocal and conducting student present some of opera’s greatest moments in RNCM Opera Scenes  before The Joyce and Michael Kennedy Award for the Singing of Strauss (13 Jun), while students from our School of Keyboard Studies journey through Rachmaninov’s 24 Preludes (14 Jun), and the RNCM Guitars present an evening showcase on 19 Jun.

We’re thrilled to showcase our Popular Music students as we present the next generation of artists and their original music at RNCM Session Orchestra: Original Artists Edition (17 Jun).

Join us for the RNCM’s most prestigious prize, the RNCM Gold Medal, across three performances (16 Jun), or performances by our leading student ensembles as they compete for the prestigious title of the Christopher Rowland Chamber Ensemble of the Year (26 Jun).

For full details of our performance programme, visit our website.

Stephen Hough, Jennifer France and more…
RNCM Alumni, Staff and Students at BBC Proms
Full programme

It’s wonderful to see so many of our graduates, staff and students involved in this year’s BBC Proms.

International Chair in Piano and alumnus Sir Stephen Hough performs Rachmaninov’s Piano Concerto No 1 as part of Prom 6 (18 Jul), which also features the world premiere of a new work by RNCM Associate Member Grace-Evangeline Mason.

Soprano and alumna Jennifer France and the RNCM Chamber Choir perform works by Ligeti as part of Prom 36 (11 Aug).

Other appearances include bass and current student Dominic Carver as part of VOCES8 (Prom 34), contralto and Principal Study Vocal Tutor Hilary Summers (Prom 43), Manchester Collective (Prom 46), mezzo-soprano and alumna Alice Coote OBE (Prom 64) and many of our students, staff and alumni performing in the orchestras and choirs.

Grant Kirkhope
RNCM Alumnus Wins Ivor Novello Award
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Congratulations to composer and alumnus Grant Kirkhope on winning an Ivor Novello Award for Best Original Video Game Score at The Ivors 2023, alongside composers Gareth Coker and Yoko Shimomura. The trio won the accolade for their work on Mario + Rabbids Sparks of Hope.

Grant graduated from the RNCM in 1984 and is a leading video game composer known for his work on titles such as Banjo-Kazooie, Donkey Kong 64 and GoldenEye 007, among many others.

You can read more about Grant’s career highlights and his memories from the RNCM in an earlier interview with him on our website.

The Lottery Winners
RNCM Alumni Reaches Number 1
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Congratulations to graduate Joe Singleton and his band The Lottery Winners, who secured their first UK Number 1 Album last month with their latest release, Anxiety Replacement Therapy. Joe is the drummer in the Leigh-based indie-rock band, which formed during his time at the RNCM.

Anxiety Replacement Therapy features collaborations with Boy George, Shaun Ryder and Frank Turner, and reached the top spot on the Official Albums Chart ahead of new releases by Nines and Jessie Ware.

You can catch The Lottery Winners performing this Sunday (4 June) at Irlam Live, on tour around the UK through July and August, or at Manchester’s O2 Apollo in December. For more info, visit their website.

Tackling the Music Crisis
RNCM Awarded Prestigious International Award
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We are incredibly proud to have received a prestigious international award for our research and activity in breaking down barriers to music education. Awarded to Professor Jennie Henley, Director of Programmes, the Parson Music Advocacy Award recognises excellence in music education.

One of only two winners in Europe, the RNCM is renowned for its work in this area, generating evidence-based research to support the value and benefits of music learning and continued participation or involvement in music making.

Funding received will support the RNCM Engage Transitions Project, enabling us to continue to develop solutions to tackle the music education crisis in schools across the UK, with a specific focus on 16 to 20-year-olds who need targeted support to transition and be inspired to pursue music at Higher Education and/or professional level.

Professor Henley said: ‘Through RNCM Engage we have a bold vision to develop, secure and advocate for the different routes into studying music at conservatoire level for people of all backgrounds… This award and funding will enable us to focus on the critical ‘drop off’ age and through research-led practice, ensure they don’t give up, and develop our vision to secure the future of music’.

2 June 2023