Hannah McCabe

Photo of Hannah McCabe

Fellow in Creative and Professional Practice

Email: [email protected]

Module Leader UG4 Creative Project

Module Leader UG3 Professional Placement

Developing new partnerships with local and national arts organsiations to facilitate student placement activity and professional opportuntiies

Artist Development 1 and 2  – Lectures and Seminars

UG3 – Professional Placement – Assessment, Lectures and Tutorials

UG4 – Creative Project – Assessment, Lectures, Forums and Tutorials

RNCM Get Creative Fund / Creative Innovators Award – Producer, Presenter, Student Engagement and Tutorials 

JRCNM – Clarinet Tutor (covering maternity leave) 

Hannah McCabe is a diverse performer whose career as a Clarinet and Sax player includes work with Manchester Camerata, Sinfonia Cymru, Opera North, Phoenix Dance Theatre, Royal Exchange Theatre, The Unthanks, BBC Folk Awards, Kabantu, Giffords Circus with live broadcasts on BBC radio 3, BBC radio 2 and television.

Hannah graduated from the Royal Northern College of Music (2009) with an MMus with distinction winning the RNCM Concerto Competition and the Gilbert and Fell Soloist Award during her time there. She was a founding member of Phoenix Clarinet Quartet and with them won the International Clarinet Quartet Competition 2012and the MBF Emerging Excellence Artists of 2013-2014. Phoenix were supported in their work by awards such as the PRSF Women Make Music Award for their commissioning of new music, in particular a collaboration with Jason Singh for Eve Harrison’s ‘Alveolar Ridge’ written for clarinet quartet and beatboxer.

As a session musician Hannah has performed and recorded with groups including Mercury Music Prize nominees The Unthanks and is the Clarinet and Bass player in the Upcetera Band for BBC Folk winner Jim Moray with whom she has performed live on BBC Radio 2 and TV. In 2014 Hannah became multi-instrumentalist for the Gifford’s Circus Live Band, working as part of a six-piece ensemble that composed, arranged, and performed the music for three sell out UK tours directed by Cal McCrystal.

Hannah’s work focuses on creative collaborations with artists from different art forms and musical backgrounds with co-composing and improvisation being at the centre of her projects. Recent collaborations include Phoenix Dance Theatre, Manchester International Roots Orchestra (MIRO), Kabantu, Vonnegut Collective and ‘Mothertongue’ with Abel Selaocoe, Alice Zawadzki, Oliver Wass & Sidiki Dembélé.

Hannah is a member of ‘Sounds of the Engine House’ (a new music collective dedicated to performing works by living composers) whose recent highlights include a Sound and Music supported tour of NW England performing at Sheffield University, Huddersfield University and the RNCM. 

Through her interest in exploring music from the Balkans Hannah founded ‘The Rubber Duck Orchestra’, a Manchester-based Balkan Band that weaves together elements of Balkan, Roma, Klezmer and Swing. Recent performances include TedX at Manchester’s Bridgewater Hall, The Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Music Room and headline appearances at WOMAD, Boomtown Fair Festival, Bristol’s Invisible Circus and Birmingham’s Hot Club de Swing. 

Promoting inclusivity, access and a wider engagement within the Arts is a focus of her work and Hannah works with a range of organisations to design and deliver creative outreach projects with different communities. As a chamber musician she has spent many years designing interactive concerts and performing on the Live Music Now! Scheme and she is currently a Lead Artist for UK-based music charity Jessie’s Fund who help children with additional and complex needs to communicate and express themselves through music. Through her residency in Bethlehem, Palestine (2009 / 2010) and through her subsequent work with Manchester Camerata, Opera North, The Royal Exchange Theatre, Manchester Art Gallery, Clonter Opera Theatre, DIY Theatre, Manchester International Roots Orchestra, Made by Mortals and Music Action International, Hannah’s work focuses on delivering participant-led creative projects alongside staff training and mentoring.  

In 2014 Hannah was appointed Fellow in Creative and Professional Practice at the Royal Northern College of Music and in 2015 was made Senior Lecturer of Clarinet at Leeds College of Music. 



Professional Activity


·  MBF Emerging Excellence Artist Award 2013-14 

·  PRSF ‘Women make Music’ Award: Collaboration with Beatboxer Jason Singh 

·  Winner – International Clarinet Quartet Competition 2012Spain 

·  Winner – Royal Northern College of Music Concerto Competition 2009 

·  Winner – The Gilbert / Fell Award, RNCM Soloist Prize 2009


Recent Performances / Collaborations / Broadcasts

  • Manchester Camerata
  • Phoenix Dance Theatre 
  • Sinfonia Cymru & Kabantu: Close to Folk Tour 2019
  • ‘Mother Tongue’ currated by Abel Seleocoe 
  • BBC Folk Awards and UK Tour – Jim Moray’s Upcetera Band
  • The Unthanks (Peformance / Recording) 

Giffords Circus UK Tour (2014, 2015, 2018)

Woodwind player for Gifford’s Circus, directed by Cal McCrystal (One Man, Two Guvnors / RSC / English National Opera). A six-piece band that composed, arranged and performed from memory the music for three sell out tours, ‘The Thunders’ (2014), ’Moonsongs’ (2015) and ‘My Beautiful Circus’ (2018). An onstage costumed role including BBC broadcasts.

Phoenix Dance Theatre CC Lab 2019

One of four UK musicians selected to perform with Phoenix Dance Theatre on the 2019 CC LAB with Director Sharon Watson and Musical Director Alexander Campkin.

Manchester Internation Roots Orchestra 

Performer and Development Board Member. 


Education and Outreach Work:

Senior Lecture Clarinet – Leeds College of Music

Clarinet Tutor – JRNCM 


Jessie’s Fund – Lead Artist 

Live Music Now! 

Music as Therapy Residency, Palestine

Manchester Camerata: ‘Camerata in the Community’

Royal Exchange Theatre: Songlines – Composing an Opera with children with Aspergers

Opera North 

Clonter Opera – Musical Director, Schools’ Theatre Project

Manchester Art Gallery 

Bridgewater Hall