Resonate: September 2023

Welcome to your September 2023 edition of Resonate!

As our students enjoy the final few weeks of the summer break, we’re looking forward to welcoming our community back into the building for our autumn programme and are excited to soon be joined by a brand-new intake of students ready to start their journey with us.

This month we’ve got news of a pair of fantastic new releases by alumni, a review of our wonderful Chamber Choir’s recent performance at the BBC Proms, and an update on the RNCM Ukrainian Musicians Fund.

Our performance programme kicks off later this month, and we can’t wait to see our venues full with audiences and music again soon!

Manchester Collective: Different Trains
Wed 20 Sep // 8pm
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Manchester Collective return as Artists-in-Residence, joining us for three spectacular events across our 2023-24 season.

Inspired by Steve Reich’s childhood memories of railway journeys, Different Trains intricately weaves together a live score for strings with field recordings and fragments of spoken word. Samuel Barber’s iconic Adagio, Hans Abrahamsen’s 10 Preludes and a new work by subversive British-Malaysian composer Jasmin Kent Rodgman complete the programme.

Manchester Camerata and RNCM Chamber Orchestra
with Agata Zając (conductor)
Sat 23 Sep // 7.30pm
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We’re delighted to welcome Manchester Camerata to perform alongside our students as outgoing Mills Williams Junior Fellow in Conducting, Agata Zając, takes the helm one final time at the RNCM.

Grażyna Bacewicz’s rhythm-driven Divermento is a whirlwind opening, before RNCM Concerto Competition winner Ethan Gillespie performs one of Mozart’s popular piano concertos. Dvořák’s profoundly intimate Symphony No 7 in D minor draws this magnificent night of music to a close.

Monday Lunchtimes
Mon 2 Oct // 1.15pm
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Enjoy a midday musical interlude as our students perform solo and duo chamber music, featuring Debussy’s Estampes and Poulenc’s Sonata for Oboe and Piano.

Thursday Lunchtimes: RNCM Piano Ensemble
Thu 5 Oct // 1.15pm
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Our six-piano spectacular returns with a riveting performance of John Psathas’ Voices at the End. Fusing live performance, video, and recorded sound, join us for a musical exploration about human civilisation and our relationship with the natural world. We are delighted to welcome pianist Dawn Hardwick as she performs side-by-side with staff and student pianists to bring this incredible work to life.

The Easy Rollers: Drop Me Off in Harlem
Thu 5 Oct // 7.30pm
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The Easy Rollers are a roaring seven-piece jazz outfit — ready to transport you back to the golden age of jazz. Experience their sensational cabaret-style show Drop Me Off in Harlem, featuring hits from The Jazz Age through to The Swing Era. Many of the band’s members are RNCM alumni, and we’re delighted to welcome them back for this incredible event.

Alongside this performance, there are two Spotlights, our free concert series where students create and perform their own innovative programmes.

6.30pm // The Gardener’s Daughter: Nomad present their immersive new work where one girl’s tale of birth, growth, loss, and rediscovery is brought to life through an enchanting musical journey.

9.30pm // Our Human Experience: A story about personal relationships, imaginary cities, natural landscapes, and moments where the passage of time refracts and bends, told through contemporary jazz.

RNCM Ukrainian Musicians Fund
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Last year, in response to the invasion of Ukraine, we established the RNCM Ukrainian Musicians Fund to support musicians displaced from their training to study with us.

To date, thanks to the generosity of our supporters, we are proud to have raised funds to support seven talented Ukrainian students across our undergraduate, Junior RNCM and Young Artists programmes.

Without this support, these young talented musicians simply wouldn’t have been able to continue to pursue their love of studying music at the RNCM.

The situation in Ukraine remains devastating and we are committed to supporting as many young musicians as possible through the fund. For the 2023-24 academic year, a new student with join Junior RNCM and we have an additional four students who hold offers to study with us as undergraduates – two pianists, a violinist and a viola player – and we hope we can welcome them all to the RNCM soon.

Donations will support full fee bursaries for the entire duration of students’ studies, and fund the health and wellbeing support and specialist English language tuition they will need.

By donating, you will provide security to those who never imagined they would be forced into this position. All contributions will reassure these gifted young people that the RNCM is ready to welcome them into our community to safeguard and continue their future in music.

For more information, visit our website.

Thank you.

‘Intense and finely focused’
★★★★ review for BBC Proms
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The RNCM Chamber Choir, and soprano and alumna Jennifer France, recently performed as part of Prom 36: A Space Odyssey, alongside the London Philharmonic Orchestra, conducted by Edward Gardner.

In a wonderful four-star review, The Guardian wrote that ‘the combined forces of the London Philharmonic Choir, Royal Northern College of Music Chamber Choir, and Norway’s Edvard Grieg Kor sang with furious intensity.’

On France’s performance, they wrote ‘Jennifer France and Clare Presland were the hieratic soloists, their voices finely blended’.

Read the full review on The Guardian. You can listen to the full performance over on BBC Sounds until 9 Oct.

New Alumni Album Releases
Elgan Llŷr Thomas and Alexandra Lowe
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Elgan Llŷr Thomas: Unveiled

Tenor Elgan Llŷr Thomas released his debut album Unveiled, an album of music composed by queer composers, including Britten, Tippet, and a premier recording of a cycle by Ruth Gipps.

As Colin Clarke writes on Classical Explorer, Elgan ‘became increasingly frustrated by opera’s traditional focus on heterosexual relationships and resolved to find more LGBTQ+ representation in vocal music’, as presented on this album.

Since graduating from the RNCM, Elgan has been a Harewood Artist with the English National Opera and a Scottish Opera Emerging Artist and has performed with companies including the Royal Opera House Covent Garden, Opera North, and Opera Holland Park.

Click here to listen to Unveiled.

Alexandra Lowe: Le Voyage

Soprano Alexandra Lowe also recently released her debut album, Le Voyage, which explores music and text inspired by Greece, the Middle East, and Lowe’s home country, Spain; an international journey told through French romantic song.

Since graduating, Alexandra has taken part in the prestigious Jette Parker Young Artist Programme at the Royal Opera House and has received rave reviews for her performances at Covent Garden, on tour with Glyndebourne and beyond.

The disc is dedicated to the late Dr Joyce Kennedy who, alongside her husband, set up the Joyce and Michael Kennedy Award for the Singing of Strauss at the RNCM, which Alexandra won in 2015.

To listen to Le Voyage on Spotify, click here.

7 September 2023