Unique Opportunities and Brand-New Facilities – Keep Music Playing

As the only UK conservatoire with a 4-year BMus Popular Music programme, we offer a unique opportunity for our students to create music across genres, not only with each other, but also with some of the most exciting and innovative industry professionals.

This year we launched International Tutor Weeks for our Popular Music students with experts from across the music industry, from world-class record producers to international recording artists. Those we’ve worked with this year include Nile Rodgers; Merck Mercuriadis, the founder and CEO of Hipgnosis Songs Fund Ltd, currently disrupting the music business by spending over $1 billion on the publishing back catalogues of some of the biggest artists in the world; and Mark Furman, Senior Director at Virgin EMI Records.

As well as accessing online masterclasses, our students have developed a huge variety of new virtual skills that will stand them in extremely good stead as they train to become 3D musicians – fantastic performers, who are also talented composers and producers. Since March, we’ve been able to welcome them back to the building and it’s just brilliant to hear live music making again, as they prepare for their band assessments and final showcases.

From September, they’ll also have fabulous new facilities to work in; three state-of-the-art studios, which will be appearing outside the College soon. The studios will be available for all our students to use, creating even more opportunities to make and record music with each other. Providing our own in-house facilities means our students have everything they need to train, practice, perform and record on-site. We’ll also be welcoming more industry experts into the College to work with our students, building professional relationships, supporting the industry, and nurturing a vibrant creative hub. They’ll be up and running in the autumn term, so look out for them just outside the College, and we very much look forward to sharing the fabulous original music our students create with you soon.

Andy Stott
Head of Popular Music


Sam Harding and Alex Blake
RNCM Alumni Perform with Arlo Parks
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Bassist Sam Harding and guitarist Alex Blake, both RNCM Popular Music alumni, have recently been enjoying a string of high-profile performances with breakthrough artist and triple Brit Award nominee, Arlo Parks, including The Graham Norton Show and The Late Late Show with James Cordon.

Watch an interview with Arlo and her specially recorded performance of Hope, which features Sam and Alex:

Düsseldorfer Symphoniker
Alexandre Bloch Hands Baton to Alpesh Chauhan
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Alexandre Bloch hands over his baton as Principal Guest Conductor of the Düsseldorfer Symphoniker to fellow RNCM alumni to Alpesh Chauhan, who takes over the role at the start of the 2021/22 season.

The pair studied together at the RNCM and have since both gone on to glittering conducting careers, with Alexandre also currently holding the position of Music Director, Orchestre National de Lille, and Alpesh currently holding the positions of Music Director, Birmingham Opera Company and Associate Conductor, BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra.

To watch an extra special video of Alexandre handing the baton to Alpesh over on Facebook, click here.

Here is Alpesh in action, conducting the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra in Mendelssohn’s Symphony No 5 ‘Reformation’:

Virtually Live
Chameleon Quartet
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Multi-instrumental woodwind ensemble Chameleon Quartet, who formed at the RNCM in 2016, recently launched Virtually Live, a series of online concerts sharing some of their favourite music, alongside chats with the quartet.

In case you missed them, you can catch the first two concerts in the series on the quartet’s Facebook page, or on their YouTube channel. The quartet will be sharing new concerts in the series on the first Monday of each month.

Malu Lin and Giles Swayne
Relationships: Maconchy, LeFanu & Swayne
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Described by BBC Music magazine as ‘a meaty and rewarding listen’, Relationships brings together a selection of under-performed British music for violin and piano extending across 90 years.

Recorded by violinist and RNCM alumna Malu Lin, and her husband, pianist and composer Giles Swayne, the album features strong family ties between the composers and performers.

Malu studied with violinist Christopher Rowland at the RNCM, for whom Swayne composed his 1975 Duo, which features on the album. Completing this project is artwork by Malu Lin’s father, the artist Richard LIN Show Yu.

Here is Malu and Giles’s spirited performance of Giles’s Duo Op 20: 

Coming Up
Keep Music Playing LIVE
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We’re excited to share news of our upcoming online event, Keep Music Playing LIVE, taking place on Saturday 15 May.

Join broadcaster and Classic FM host John Suchet for an evening of exclusive performances and conversation with the RNCM’s incredible students, staff and acclaimed alumni, including international concert pianist Alexandra Dariescu and renowned classical guitarist Craig Ogden.

Tickets are free, but limited. Booking is essential. Click here to book now!

And finally!
A huge thank you to the Arts Council England’s Culture Recovery Fund

We are delighted to announce that the RNCM has been awarded a grant of over £133,000 as part of Arts Council England’s Culture Recovery Fund.

Throughout the pandemic we have remained committed to keep music playing, delivering an award-winning digital artistic programme of concerts, masterclasses, talks and student-led projects. This work has kept us in touch with our audiences in the UK and around the world, inspired new creative projects and put in place the building blocks for our recovery. Now, thanks to the support of the Culture Recovery Fund, the RNCM is able to plan for the future and the return of live music to our venues. We can’t wait to welcome you back soon.

9 April 2021