RNCM appoints conservatoire’s first Professor of Baritone Horn

The RNCM has become the first UK conservatoire to appoint a dedicated baritone horn tutor.

Mike Cavanagh facing the camera in a blue blazer holding a baritone hornPrincipal specialist instruction in the instrument, which has traditionally been led by tutors of the euphonium, will be delivered by Mike Cavanagh – an RNCM alumni member and co-founder of the multi award-winning quartet A4 Brass.

Mike says the appointment is a ‘huge step forwards’  that acknowledges the growing popularity of the instrument. He will take up the appointment from September 2024, adding to his current role as SWBP tutor in Chamber Music which he has held since 2021.

Commenting on the new role, Mike said: ‘There’s much more music being written for the baritone horn – more in brass bands, in competitions, in concert music. It is being seen more as a solo instrument and yet it has remained the only brass instrument you can study that doesn’t have its own principal tutor.

‘Creating this chance to study it as a principal instrument with a specialist tutor will enhance the Wind, Brass and Percussion department and build on the incredible work of Professor Steven Mead and Dr David Thornton. The RNCM has always been forward thinking and innovative, and we hope this will sway students to look at us as their place to study.’

Mike first picked up the instrument at the age of eight as part of Stockport Schools’ Brass Band. He is now Solo Baritone in the Black Dyke Band and tutors nationally, as well as a workshop leader with charities Live Music Now and Music in Hospitals and Care. Since completing his BMus (Hons) and then postgraduate degree in chamber music at the RNCM in 2018, Mike has taken his talents all over the globe – including appearing at Glastonbury Festival and touring in Europe, Africa, South Korea, Japan, and Australia.

He co-founded A4 Brass during his undergraduate studies and, in 2018, its members were named Honorary Associate Artists of the RNCM in recognition of their success in the music profession. In 2020, they were further honoured with Associate Membership (ARNCM) – making them the first ensemble ever to be awarded the prestigious title.

Mike brings with him a wealth of professional experience. Recent performance highlights include concerto appearances with Black Dyke at the World Music Contest Gala Concert in Kerkrade, Netherlands, and the RNCM International Brass Band Festival, which was later broadcast on BBC Radio 3.

A4 Brass have been internationally recognised with multiple prizes, securing wins in the Royal Over-Seas League Chamber Music competition, the Royal Philharmonic Society Henderson Chamber Music prize, the Tunnell Trust Awards, and the Tillett Trust Young Artists’ Platform. The group has appeared at Wigmore Hall, Cadogan Hall, Bridgewater Hall, Queen Elizabeth Hall, Saffron Hall, and Purcell Room.

10 January 2024