RNCM Principal’s Circle support students’ green-inspired projects

Thanks to the generosity of our Principal’s Circle, we have been able fund student projects that use music to create a conversation around sustainability and climate change, as part of the RNCM’s ‘The Future is Green’ theme during the 2023-24 academic year.

We are thrilled to have supported five RNCM students and groups in bringing their green-inspired initiatives to life. These students used a variety of skills and knowledge to develop their own unique projects, and they study across a variety of schools and programs, including our Schools of Strings, Composition and Popular Music, on our undergraduate, postgraduate and PGCE courses.

The supported students used their funding to create projects that inspire meaningful conversations, using music as a tool to encourage audiences across Manchester and the North West to consider their response to the climate crisis and what they can do to help.

Here are just a selection of the projects that were funded:

Music at Brereton Nature Reserve

Nicole Boardman, a PGCE student specialising in Instrumental Teaching, led a class of children aged 11-12 to explore Brereton Nature Reserve. They learned about the animals and plants that thrive there, the importance of conservation, and the consequences of not looking after the environment around us.

They engaged in musical activities during the visit, and later crafted instruments from items they collected at the reserve and recorded a song reflecting their experience.

Nicole highlighted that many of the shyer students really came out of their shells when performing the song, noting that the inspiring experience of being in nature allowed them to calm and express themselves, and encouraged their confidence to create music.

NOMAD perform The Gardener’s Daughter

NOMAD, a chamber ensemble co-founded by violinists Elena Orsi and Ailsa Burns, and soprano Iona Kaye, create immersive and moving performances, blending classical music with various art forms.

The Gardener’s Daughter is a music/theatre piece featuring strings, voice and choir. Through acting, staging, lighting, costumes, poetry and music, it tells the story of the titular character, who is connected to nature from birth, exploring themes of grief and resilience, whilst encouraging audiences find joy and peace in spending time outside.

To bring The Gardener’s Daughter to a wider audience, NOMAD will perform their work at venues in Manchester and Leeds during summer 2024. This marks their first venture into playwriting, and they are being supported and mentored by a tutor from the Centre for New Writing at Manchester University, allowing them to further develop their performance and skills.

Music for a Botanical Garden

Xaris Alexandratos, a postgraduate Popular Music student, collaborated with the community outreach organisation Botanical Beats, to produce music representing each biome at the Firs Environmental Research station in Fallowfield, Manchester.

Botanical Beats aim was to increase the visibility and volunteer participation at the Firs Environmental Research Station, which cares for a unique and rare 200-year-old botanical collection comprising of more than 2,000 plants. Xaris worked with 10 local musicians, recording samples from the Firs and employing improvisation techniques to produce a Botanical Beat’ for each biome.

This project culminated in the creation of a brand-new audio trail and playlist that visitors and volunteers can enjoy during their visit to the collection.

Sustainability is high on the RNCM’s agenda, and we look forward to seeing the progress of these projects and hope to continue supporting many of our students and alumni who are looking to tackle climate change in their fields.