Adam Swayne

Photo of Adam Swayne

Deputy Head of School of Keyboard Studies and Professor of Piano

MusB (Hons), MMus, DM (Northwestern University, USA), GRNCM, SFHEA

Email: [email protected]

  • Piano Teaching
  • School of Keyboard Studies activities
  • Contemporary Piano
  • Music and Context modules
  • PhD supervision and reviewing

Pianist Adam Swayne studied on the joint course between the University of Manchester and the RNCM before completing his doctorate as a Fulbright Scholar in the USA. His principal teachers were John Gough, John Casken, Kevin Malone and Ursula Oppens.

Since returning from the US, Adam has developed a busy performing career that includes frequent concerto appearances, solo recitals and ensemble performances. He has been a pianist for Riot Ensemble since its inception in 2009. He also performs with the John Ireland Piano Trio and he was a Park Lane Young Artist in 2008.

In April 2019 BBC Music Magazine named his solo recital CD (speak to me): new music new politics as Instrumental Monthly Choice. BBC Radio 3’s Record Review said that it is ‘brave … flambouyant … a cleverly designed, exuberantly performed and arresting excerise in putting the politics back into the piano recital’. It was the only CD to be nominated in two categories at the 2019 Opus Klassik awards in Germany. His second CD for Coviello was a commemorative recital for the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks and was launched with a concert at the Wigmore Hall on September 11th 2021.

Adam’s research interests also focus on the performance and culture surrounding the nineteenth century concerto and include (re)discovery of works by German composer Ferdinand Ries.

Additionally, Adam is a composer and conductor, having served as Music Director for Contemporary Music for All (CoMA) in Sussex (2008-2017) and nationally between 2012 and 2014.

Adam began working at the RNCM in September 2017 having previously taught at Junior RAM and at the University of Chichester where he was Head of Chamber Music. Initially lecturing in Academic Studies, he joined the School of Keyboard in 2020 to replace Ashley Wass as Deputy Head.

The Times described him as ‘a pianist of formidable technique and high intelligence’ and the Evening Standard as ‘the ideal blend of panache and subtlety’.


Personal Website

Current and Future Research

1)    The Piano Concerto: (Re)discovery and development. 1750 – present

  • Publication: The original version of Ferdinand Ries’ Op.123 Piano Concerto (1806), which includes previously unheard and strikingly inventive material composed in Vienna under Beethoven’s influence. This project is also generating performances and journal articles as part of the larger investigation.
  • Performances: Alongside the premiere of the Ries Concerto in Brighton (2022), Adam has performed in recent seasons concertos by John Ireland, Edward Gregson, Grieg, Rachmaninov’s Second and Double Concertos by Mozart and Elliott Carter.

2)    International Premières: Solo and Ensemble

  • Solo Recording: 9/11:20 released in September 2021 on the Coviello Label. Première recordings of Kevin Malone (University of Manchester) alongside works by Karen Walwyn, David Del Tredici, Scott Joplin and Henry Cowell. Presentation at RNCM Research Forum 13/10/21.
  • World Première of Malone’s Sudden Memorials, Wigmore Hall 11/09/21. Second performance at Oxford Lieder Festival 18/10/21.
  • Solo Recording: (speak to me) new music new politics released in January 2019 on the Coviello Label. Première recordings of Amy Beth Kirsten (Peabody Institute) and Kevin Malone (University of Manchester) alongside works by Rzewski, Gershwin and Morton Gould. Presentation at ‘Balancing the Mix’ conference (University of Memphis) 30/03/19.
  • World Première of Malone’s The People Protesting Drum Out Bigly Covfefe, University of Manchester 15/02/18. USA première 04/04/19 (Northwestern University, USA).
  • Riot Ensemble: Recordings on HCR, All That Dust and Coviello labels. Ensemble Residencies at RAM and Kings Place. Performances at HCMF, Klangspuren, Brighton, Time of Music and Britten-Pears Festivals.



External Research Roles

Primary supervisor for three postgraduate PhD researchers.

Internal PhD Examiner.

Research Funding

Marcus Trust: Riot Ensemble Projects in 2023 (£4,500)

PRS: Riot Ensemble Projects in 2023 (£3,500)

Garfield Weston Foundation: Riot Ensemble Projects in 2022 (£25,000)

John S Cohen Foundation: Riot Ensemble Projects in 2022 (£5000)

Cultural Recovery Fund: Riot Ensemble projects in 2021, including a collaboration with RNCM PRiSM (£36,000).

Siemens Foundation: Riot Ensemble awared inaugural Ensemble Prize (€75,000) in 2020.

John Ireland Trust: Grants (£1600 total) for performances of John Ireland’s Trios and Piano Concerto.

Arts Council England: Funding awarded for consecutive Riot Ensemble seasons (£12,075 in 2015, £13,001 in 2016, £22,080 in 2017, £46,611 in 2018, £85,300 in 2019, £29,500 in 2021)

Opus 2 Foundation: Funding awarded for Riot Ensemble seasons (£4000 in 2015, £3000 in 2016, £4000 in 2018, £2500 in 2019)

RVW Trust: £1000 (2019)

Hinrichsen Foundation: £1000 (2019)

Ambache Charitable Trust: £1000 (2019)

Holst Foundation: £800 (2013)

Project: University of Chichester Music Academy. During my year as Regional Coordinator for the UCMA (2011–2012) I was able to secure the support of two major venues (Christ’s Hospital School and Lancing College) to host our weekly activities free of charge. Students accessing the UCMA on a weekly basis jumped from 12 to 27, and a further 60 students benefitted from one-off Taster Days. I was also able to secure several major concert venues free of charge (Southampton Guildhall, Windlesham House) plus the support of other organisations to put on collaborative concerts (including West Sussex Music Service, Southampton Concert Orchestra, Bernardi String Academy, Shoreham Singers, Contemporary Music for All, Charterhouse School and William Penn Primary School). These activities raised the profile of the UCMA and the University as a whole, and also secured charitable support for the Chichester-based Shipwrecked Mariner’s Society.

Commission: John Wheatley (£500) for new work Gridshell (2011)

Commission: Portsmouth Grammar School (£1000) for new work Santa Dances (2008)

Commission: Ebony Duo through Arts Council Scotland (£500) for new work Tarantella (2008)

Commission: Ebony Duo through Hope Scott Trust (£100) for new work Tarantella (2008)

Commission: I was able to commission composer Ailis Ni Riain to write a major new work for solo piano Beautiful Cracked Eyes (£1500) from funds generated by Arts Council England through the National Lottery (2008).

Performance: Park Lane Group Young Artists Series (2008). The support of this organisation allowed me to put on a solo piano recital at the Purcell Room, Southbank Centre.

Undergraduate Teaching

  • Principal study piano tuition
  • Contemporary Piano
  • Music and Context

Postgraduate Teaching

  • Principal study piano tuition
  • Postgraduate mentoring

Research Supervision

Currently supervising PhD research into the piano musics of Charles Tomlinson Griffes, Kuk Jin Kim and Lyubomir Pipkov.

Selected Outputs

Scholarly Editions

    • Ferdinand Ries, Ries: Concerto Op.55, Adam Swayne, 2006, Northwestern University, Evanston, IL USA

Conference Contributions

    • Political popular music in the contemporary concert hall ,  Balancing the mix, University of Memphis,   2020
    • The Musician as Entrepreneur: the example of Ferdinand Ries’s Concerto Op.123 ,  Financing Music in Europe from the 18th to the Early 20th Century, Lucca, Italy,  October 18 2020
    • New Music New Politics ,  Hub for Artistic Research into Musical Performance, RNCM,  June 28 2018


    • Adam Swayne Hawker Hunter, 2018, Ireland Piano Trio, Piano Trio,
    • Many Dark Actors Playing Games, 2017, Contemporary Catz, Andrew Hadfield, Open Score Ensemble, , St Catharine’s College, Cambridge
    • Reaches, 2014, Soloists from Brighton Philharmonic, String Quartet, , Unitarian Church, Brighton
    • Celli-Chela, 2013, cello ensemble, , University of Chichester
    • Beatbox Concerto, 2011, University of Chichester and CoMA Sussex, Krystal Gob Beatboxer and Open Score Ensemble,
    • Lezghinka, 2010, Sam Moffitt, Karen Kingsley Trumpet and Piano, , Millenium Centre, Cardiff


    • Ailís Ní Ríain/ Geoffrey Poole New Commissions, Adam Swayne Solo Piano, Purcell Room, Southbank Centre
    • Satie, Debussy, Thomas Kotcheff et al Radio Broadcasts, , Tate Modern, Studio, Southbank Centre, Jan/ Aug/ Oct 2016
    • Amy Beth Kirsten (speak to me) UK/ EU premières, vocalising pianist, Coviello Classics, London/ Segura (Spain), Feb 2017
    • Debussy Préludes (1er livre), piano, St Martin in the Fields
    • Grieg, Addinsell, Rachmaninov, Gregson, John Ireland, Gershwin Concertos, King Edward’s Orchestra Macclesfield, Birmingham Symphonic Winds, Manchester Wind Orchestra, St Aldhelm’s Poole, Anthony Houghton, Keith Allen, Ralph Corrigan, Ian Lowes
    • John Ireland and New Music Brighton Trios, Ireland Trio, St Luke’s Church, Brighton
    • Rzewski The People United Will Never Be Defeated, piano, The Forge Camden, University of Chichester, St Luke’s Church
    • Shostakovich Second Sonata, Preludes and Fugues, Fantastic Dances, piano, University of Chichester, St Luke’s Church
    • Andrew Peggie USA première, Winston Choi, Daniela Mineva, Fiona Queen, Adam Swayne, 2 pianos, 8 hands, Roosevelt University, Chicago
    • Gavin Bryars, David Bedford Titanic Centenary Commemorations, Southampton Concert Orchestra, CoMA, University of Chichester, Shoreham Singers, West Sussex Music, Large Ensemble, Southampton Guildhall, Charterhouse School
    • Kevin Malone Commission/ Premiere: The People Protesting Drum Out Bigly Covfefe, Piano, University of Manchester, February 15, 2018
    • Elliot Carter Double Concerto, Riot Ensemble, Aaron Hollway Nahum, Adam Swayne and Goska Ipshording Piano, Harpsichord, Two Orchestras, LSO St Luke’s
    • Tom Coult Premiere: Inventions (for Heath Robinson), Adam Swayne solo piano, Petworth Festival
    • Kevin Malone, Amy Beth Kirsten USA Recital, Adam Swayne solo piano, Northwesten University, USA
    • Heloise Tunstall-Behrens Picea 433, Adam Swayne Piano, Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival
    • Wigmore Hall debut, Riot Ensemble, Wigmore Hall, London
    • Kevin Malone, Karen Walwyn, David Del Tredici, Henry Cowell, Scott Joplin Wigmore Hall recital, Piano, Wigmore Hall
    • Tom Coult, Kevin Malone Oxford Lieder Festival, Piano, Jacqueline du Pre Music Room, 18/10/21
    • Cameron Michael Graham Untitled, or the thing about shoegaze is it doesn’t, Piano, University of Surrey, 14/05/21
    • Ferdinand Ries Premiere of Ferdinand Ries Concerto, Musicians of All Saints, Andrew Sherwood, Adam Swayne Piano and Orchestra, St Mary’s Church, Brighton
    • Julius Eastman Adam Swayne Gay Guerrilla, RNCM pianists, six pianos, RNCM Concert Hall, 30/06/21


    • Adam Swayne, Patrick Harrex, Ric Graebner et al … because it’s spring, Debbie Bridge, Adam Swayne, Anne Hodgson, Steve Dummer, Adam Bushell voice, piano, flute, clarinet, percussion, New Music Brighton, University of Chichester, April 2011
    • Kevin Malone A Clockwork Operetta, Ebb Trio, Fidelio Trio, Emily Howard Cobley voice, viola, piano, clarinet, Divine Art, University of Manchester, June 2013
    • Lee Westwood Two EPs: ‘Miniatures’ and ‘The Visitor’, piano, cello and piano, Jan 2014
    • Malone, Kirsten, Rzewski, Gershwin, Gould (speak to me): new music new politics, Piano, Coviello Contemporary, RNCM, August 2018
    • Kevin Malone, Karen Walwyn, David Del Tredici, Henry Cowell, Scott Joplin 9:11/20, Piano, Coviello Contemporary, RNCM, July 22-23 2021

Talks, Workshops and Masterclasses

  • Leeds Conservatoire Masterclass ,  , ,  19/04/21
  • London Music Fund ,  Workshop with young musicians and Riot Ensemble, London,  28/11/21
  • From Beethoven to Bourgeiosie: the journey of Ferdinand Ries’ Concerto Op.123 ,  University of Manchester Research Series, G16,  Jan 30
  • Festival of Contemporary Music for All ,  CoMA Festival, ,  Mar 2018 and 2020
  • Dead Cat Bounce and Numberless Fingers ,  Contemporary Music for All Conference, London,  5 Mar 2016

Professional Activity

Riot Ensemble: Pianist (since 2009)

Competition Juries: BBC Young Musician of the Year (2022)

Masterclasses: Leeds Conservatoire (2021)

CoMA (Contemporary Music for All): Music Director for Sussex Ensemble (2008-2017) and Conductor of National Ensembles (2012-2014)

Leeds Conservatoire: External Examiner (from 2021)

University of Essex: External Examiner (2011-2014)