Mark Heron

Photo of Mark Heron

Professor and Head of Conducting

Email: [email protected]

  • management & planning of School of Conducting
  • teaching Junior Fellows and Masters conducting students
  • conducting RNCM orchestras & ensembles
  • responsible for conducting electives for undergraduate & postgraduate students who are not principal study conductors
  • leadership of the RNCM’s programme of external conducting Masterclasses and short courses
  • RNCM lead for ConductIT project
  • Knowledge Exchange activity


Mark Heron is a Scottish conductor known for dynamic and well-rehearsed performances across an unusually wide range of repertoire, and his expertise as an orchestral trainer.

As guest conductor he has appeared with the BBC Philharmonic, BBC Concert Orchestra, Philharmonia, Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra, Royal Scottish National Orchestra, Manchester Camerata, Psappha, Meininger Hofkapelle, Orquesta Sinfónica de la Región de Murcia, Pori Sinfonietta, St Petersburg Festival Orchestra and many more. He is the music director of the Nottingham Philharmonic and as Head of Conducting at the RNCM, he works regularly with all of the College’s orchestras and ensembles. Mark is the conductor laureate of the Liverpool Mozart Orchestra and for ten years was Director of Orchestras at the University of Manchester.

Dedicated to working with young musicians, in addition to his roles at the RNCM and Manchester University, Mark has conducted ensembles from the Royal Academy of Music, Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, Escola Superior de Musica de Lisboa, Tilburg & Maastricht Conservatories, the National Youth Wind Orchestras of Great Britain and Israel, Slovenian National Youth Orchestra, and many more.

Mark has a keen interest in contemporary music and has given world premieres of many important works. He has collaborated with leading composers such as Kalevi Aho, George Benjamin, Sir Harrison Birtwistle, Unsuk Chin, Tansy Davies, Detlev Glanert, Heiner Goebbels, Anders Hillborg, Giya Kancheli, Magnus Lindberg, Sir James McMillan, Colin Matthews, Christopher Rouse, Kaija Saariaho, Mark Anthony Turnage and Errollyn Wallen. In 2018 he gave the the world premiere of Adam Gorb’s opera The Path to Heaven, and in 2006 the European premiere of American composer Daron Hagen’s opera, Bandanna. He has recorded dozens of CDs with the RNCM Wind Orchestra featuring contemporary wind repertoire on labels such as Chandos, Naxos, NMC, ASC and Polyphonic.

Mark studied at the RSAMD and the RNCM. Following a successful chamber music career and freelance work with many of the UK’s professional symphony orchestras, he undertook conducting studies at the RNCM and in master classes with Neeme & Paavo Järvi, Jorma Panula, and Sir Mark Elder. He worked with Sir Colin Davis and the London Symphony Orchestra on their mentoring programme for young conductors.

Alongside his conducting engagements, Mark is increasingly recognised as one of the world’s foremost conducting teachers, and students of his have achieved notable success. As well as his work across all of the RNCM’s renowned conducting programmes, he developed an elite undergraduate conducting programme at the University of Manchester, is a visiting professor to the Royal Air Force and appears often as a guest at conducting courses and master classes all over the world.

Personal Website

Current and Future Research


  • MPhil research into methods of training conductors in different parts of the world
  • Guest Editor of Winds Magazine, Autumn 2012
  • Various articles for publications & journals 



  • Joaquin Rodrigo Latin Winds, RNCM Wind Orchestra, Chandos
  • Robert Russell Bennett The Wind Music of Robert Russell Bennett, RNCM Wind Orchestra, Chandos
  • Adam Gorb Dancing in the Ghetto, Manchester Camerata & RNCM Wind Ensemble, Prima Facie Records, March 2016
  • Paul Goodey Hohler Fells – Concerto for Flutes. Karin de Fleyt and RNCM Wind Orchestra, Metier, March 2016
  • Alwyn Film Music of William Alwyn, RNCM Wind Orchestra, Naxos, February 2012
  • Ball, Fitkin, Scott, Ter Veldhuis Gameshow – Saxophone Concertos CD with RNCM Wind Orchestra, RNCM Wind Orchestra, Clark Rundell/Mark Heron, Rob Buckland & guest John Harle Saxophone & Wind Orchestra, Sospiro Records, Nov 2011
  • Adam Gorb Towards Nirvana, RNCM Wind Orchestra, NMC, May 2010
  • Stephen McNeff Image in Stone, RNCM Wind Orchestra, Campion Cameo, Jan 2009
  • Repertoire Recordings for Polyphonic, 11 CDs with RNCM Wind Orchestra fetauring composers such as Martin Ellerby, Nigel Clarke, Philip Sparke, Kit Turnbull, Gary Carpenter, Adam Gorb, Rob Wiffin, Duncan Stubbs etc

Significant Premieres & Contemporary Music performances

  • Adam Gorb – The Path to Heaven. World premiere performances of this opera, June 2018
  • Daron Hagen – Bandanna. European premiere of this 2 Act opera, May 2006
  • RNCM Composer Festivals including Harrison Birtwistle, James MacMillan, Magnus Lindberg, Unsuk Chin, Detlev Glanert, Steve Mackey, Mark Antony Turnage, Christopher Rouse, Heiner Goebbels, Giya Kancheli, Kalevi Aho, Robert Saxton, Howard Skempton, Colin Matthews
  • Broadcasts for BBC Radio 3 Hear & Now with Psappha

External Research Roles

  • Head of Conducting, RNCM
  • Music Director, Nottingham Philharmonic Orchestra
  • Conductor Laureate, Liverpool Mozart Orchestra
  • Director of Wind Conducting Faculty, Sherborne Summer School of Music
  • Visiting Professor of Conducting, Royal Air Force Music Services
  • Lead Content Author, ConductIT 

Research Funding

“ConductIT”. A 3 year Erasmus Strategic Pertnership between the RNCM, University Institute Stavanger, University of Aveiro and The Open University. €440,000 grant to develop methods of teaching conducting online.

Undergraduate Teaching

  • All undergraduate conducting electives
  • Orchestras & Ensembles 

Postgraduate Teaching

  • Junior Fellow and Masters principal study teacher
  • Graduate School Conducting Elective
  • Orchestras & Ensembles

Professional Activity

Recent performances with professional orchestras & ensembles such as:

  • BBC Philharmonic
  • BBC Concert Orchestra
  • Manchester Camerata
  • Royal Liverpool Philharmonic
  • Psappha
  • Meininger Hofkapelle
  • Royal Scottish National Orchestra

Recent Masterclasses include:

  • University Institute Stavanger
  • Hochschule für Musik FRANZ LISZT Weimar
  • Escola Superior de Musica de Lisboa
  • Hochschule der Künste Bern HKB
  • Royal Air Force Music Services
  • Royal Marines Band Service
  • Sherborne Summer School of Music
  • Melbourne Conservatorium
  • Australian Band & Orchestra Directors Association
  • Pirkanmaan Piina Masterclasses (Finland)
  • Aveiro University (Portual)

Recent recordings

  • Manchester Camerata (ASC)
  • RNCM Wind Orchestra (Chandos, ASC, Polyphonic)
  • BBC Philharmonic studio recordings
  • BBC Concert Orchestra studio recordings