Richard Collins

Head of Programming

Email: [email protected]

I joined the RNCM in 2008 initially attracted to the incredible vibrancy and diversity of the public-facing programme. Ever since, it has been my overriding objective to retain that same vitality in creating experiences that have genuine impact and legacy for our students and audiences alike. 

I became Head of Programming in 2017, and am responsible for all aspects of the public performance programme in the RNCM’s venues and externally – in the region of 400 events per year. I work across all musical styles and genres, and love creating projects that bring students, artists, and communities together, and that cross traditional divides and barriers – most often in collaboration with other organisations across Manchester or further afield. 

For examples of just some of these projects:

Protest Music (in partnership with Manchester Histories and Streetwise Opera) – https://peterloo1819.co.uk/projects/protest-music/

Alice Zawadzki and RNCM students – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bReUWQa12pM

New Music Manchester/Psappha/MMU – New works inspired by childrens’ poems from the Mother Tongue Other Tongue competition in Urdu, Malayalam, Tagalog and French – https://www.rncm.ac.uk/uploads/FRI-01-NMM-Programme-1.pdf 

I Hear the Rain at Victoria Baths – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p0KsNR4kPhQ 

Paris-Manchester 2018 (in partnership with Paris Conservatoire) – https://www.rncm.ac.uk/research/research-centres-rncm/centre-for-music-and-conflict-cmc/paris-manchester-project/ 

New Order/Liam Gillick: And So It Goes (an MIF project) – https://mif.co.uk/whats-on/new-order-liam-gillick-so-it-goes/

After the Silence at Imperial War Museum North – https://www.rncm.ac.uk/research/research-centres-rncm/centre-for-music-and-conflict-cmc/after-the-silence-music-in-the-shadow-of-war/ 

Noise of Many Waters at Victoria Baths – http://www.victoriabaths.org.uk/visit/2011/noise-of-many-waters/?mdid=113

Ensuring our young people have a voice is really important to me. Finding ways to incorporate our students’ ideas and priorities into our programming, and offering opportunities for them to see their ideas come to fruition and to shape the future of music is part of the privilege of this role.

In recent years, ideas from students have led to the choice of Mr Blue Sky as a hugely successful multi-track digital project during the COVID pandemic, and Black British Music becoming a focus for the RNCM Session Orchestra. In 2020, myself and two students co-founded Underrepresented – an initiative that brings together students and staff as equals, seeking to create tangible change to address underrepresentation both at the RNCM and within the wider music industry.

In 2020/21, I took part in the Association of British Orchestras ‘Find Your Way’ leadership programme in and have since embedded coaching into my overall leadership practice. As a coaching champion, I am an advocate for coaching as a highly effective way of supporting the growth and development of individuals of all ages and stages.

Prior to the RNCM, I handled PR and communications for a range of high profile clients across the music industry including Wigmore Hall, London Philharmonic Orchestra, George Enescu Festival Bucharest, Minnesota Orchestra and Joyce DiDonato. I was also UK manager for the Skampa Quartet and began my career as an Assistant in the vocal/opera division at IMG Artists.

I have a First Class BMus (Hons) degree in Music from King’s College London, where I specialised in singing and composition and was a choral scholar in King’s College Chapel Choir. I studied singing with the tenor Ian Partridge at the Royal Academy of Music and was a baritone lay clerk in the Chapel Choir of the Royal Hospital Chelsea. And even longer ago, I was Head Chorister of Winchester Cathedral Choir conducted by David Hill.