RNCM joins BBC Proms in celebration of 50th anniversary

We’re excited to be signing off our celebratory year with two appearances at this year’s BBC Proms.

On 18 July, a number of strings students will be joining our long-term professional partner the BBC Philharmonic for Prom 6, an alumni-fuelled evening entitled Sir Stephen Hough plays Rachmaninov, and on 11 August the RNCM Chamber Choir performs as part of Prom 36, A Space Odyssey, with the Edvard Grieg Kor and London Philharmonic.

Sir Stephen Hough standing at a piano

In celebration of our 50th anniversary, over 50 alumni will be appearing at the Royal Albert Hall on 18 July, including soloist Sir Stephen Hough performing Rachmaninov’s Piano Concerto No 1 and composer Grace-Evangeline Mason, whose BBC commission, ABLAZE THE MOON, will receive its world premiere.

Sir Stephen (pictured above) said: ‘When I entered the RNCM I had only visited London on three occasions, and the idea of playing a concert there, never mind the famous BBC Proms, was a distant dream. So to be able to perform there this year with the BBC Philharmonic in a celebration of Manchester, my alma mater, and their rich cultural life, is a special privilege and joy.’

Grace-Evangeline (pictured below) added: ‘I am absolutely delighted to have been commissioned to write my new work ABLAZE THE MOON for this year’s BBC Proms with Mark Wigglesworth and the BBC Philharmonic, a Prom of Manchester connections. To write for, and be a part of, the BBC Proms is an honour, and this Prom has been made even more significant to me as a celebration of the RNCM’s 50th anniversary. The RNCM has been a special place to me since I attended the Junior department before going on to study for my undergraduate there, and now continuing my relationship as an associate. I am looking forward to all that the next 50 years brings for the RNCM, and this Prom celebrates and anticipates that journey.’

Grace Evangeline Mason

The Prom on 11 August, A Space Odyssey, takes inspiration from Stanley Kubrick’s iconic film and features works by Ligeti and Strauss. A special occasion for the RNCM, the event showcases our professional partnership with Norway’s Edvard Grieg Kor (pictured below), which has been instrumental in providing vocal and opera students with unrivalled real-world experiences.

RNCM alumni are represented throughout the 2023 Prom season, with the UK’s professional orchestras showcasing a large part of our graduate success story. Alumni form a substantial part of the salaried positions and freelance players within the BBC Philharmonic, Hallé, Manchester Camerata, Opera North, Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra and Royal Northern Sinfonia amongst other national orchestras. A large part of this is down to the magnificent legacy of our Professional Experience Schemes, which gives senior students the opportunity to experience life within a professional ensemble. With over 60 students taking part in the many varied schemes each year, the results can now be seen across orchestras, operas and brass brands.

Manus Carey, Deputy Principal (Performance and Programmes), said: ‘Over the last two decades the RNCM has built up an unrivalled list of close professional partners, providing a myriad of opportunities for students to perform and learn in a professional environment. A centre piece of these partnerships are the professional experience schemes for orchestral players which have provided clear routes into the orchestra profession for so many musicians working in the industry today.’

10 July 2023