School of Strings

The School of Strings provides an inspiring environment in which to pursue your training to the highest level.

Join our collaborative community of staff and students who share your passion for music, and learn from some of the world’s leading teachers and performers.

Principal Study available in:

Violin and Viola
Double Bass
Guitar (Classical)

Programmes available in:

Postgraduate Diploma (International Artist)
PGCE in Music with Specialist Instrumental Teaching 

How You Will Learn

The School has an open class policy and you will be encouraged to attend as many classes as possible given by tutors other than your own.

Throughout your degree you will receive:

  • Weekly Principal Study lessons
  • Opportunities to take part in masterclasses given by visiting tutors
  • Regular Performance Classes
  • Opportunities to be involved in chamber music sessions on core repertoire such as Brahms Sextets
  • Regular workshops and clinics on ‘How to Practise’

Your instrumental lessons are complemented by various extra classes throughout the year which have been designed to enrich your learning as a solo player or ensemble musician such as Speciality Classes, Strings Recitals or Orchestral Excerpt classes.

Performance Opportunities

You will receive a broad range of solo, chamber and orchestral performance opportunities through Recital Classes and Professional Experience Schemes with our unrivalled range of professional orchestral partners as part of The Platform.

There are twice-yearly compulsory auditions (behind screens) for RNCM orchestras and ensembles, which include the RNCM Symphony, String, Chamber, Concert and Session Orchestras. In addition, there are a number of internal competitions and opportunities to play in RNCM festivals and masterclasses, including the annual Strings Festival.

Chamber Music

The School has a strong tradition of chamber music; leading chamber ensembles such as the Brodsky, Navarra and Sorrel Quartets were formed at the RNCM. You will be given numerous opportunities to be involved with chamber music with both staff and students, and you will be able to establish your own student ensemble through the College’s Chamber Music department. You will quickly develop and refine interpretative, collaborative and rehearsal skills under expert direction provided by RNCM tutors.

Historical Performance

There are a number of period instrument chamber music events each year, and also regular concerts with a period instrument Baroque orchestra. The College owns a number of Baroque instruments, including a set of violins, violas and cellos made for the college in 1993. There are also viols and other period instruments available.

Recent School Highlights (2017/18)

  • RNCM Strings Day 2018: String players enjoyed a weekend jam-packed with concerts, masterclasses, workshops and lectures. Highlights included performances and masterclasses with Haworth International Chair in Cello Miklós Perényi, violinist Boris Belkin and Anne Denholme, Official Harpist to HRH The Prince of Wales.
  • School of Strings students have recently enjoyed a range of exciting collaborative projects including working with International Chair in Violin, Henning Kraggerud, in string ensemble performances; and a side-by-side performance with the Hallé and Sir Mark Elder. You can watch a selection of these performances on our YouTube channel.
  • The School continues to welcome a range of eminent visiting artists to work with our students, who have recently included cellists Karine Georgian and Miklós Perényi, violist Nobuko Imai and violinists Elena Urioste and Veronika Eberle.

Strings Staff

Head of School

Deputy Head of School
Catherine Yates GMusRNCM (Hons), PPRNCM

International Chairs in Violin
Yair Kless BA (Mus), MA (Mus)
Ning Feng
Henning Kraggerud

International Chair in Viola
Nobuko Imai

Howarth International Tutor in Cello
Miklós Perényi

International Tutor in Cello
Karine Georgian

International Tutor in Double Bass
Božo Paradžik

International Tutor in Strings Pedagogy and Performance
Henk Guittart

International Tutor in Violin
Alexander Sitkovetsky

Visiting Tutors in Violin
Levon Chilingirian ARCM, FRCM, Hon PhD, OBE

Tutors in Violin
Leland Chen
James Clark
Pavel Fischer
Julia Hanson
Benedict Holland PPRNCM 
Yair Kless
Gina McCormack
Sebastian Mueller
Simon Smith
Yuri Torchinsky PGDip, MDip
Cecily Ward 
Steven Wilkie GMusRNCM, PGDipRNCM
Catherine Yates GMusRNCM (Hons), PPRNCM
Yossi Zivoni FRCM, FRNCM, Graduate Tel Aviv Music Academy and Royal Conservatory of Brussels

Tutor in Baroque Violin
Dr Pauline Nobes ARNCM, GRNCM, MusM(Perf), MusB, PGDipRNCM, PhD

Visiting Tutors in Viola
Henk Guittart
Garth Knox
Thomas Riebl
Simon Rowland-Jones ARCM
Ásdís Valdimarsdóttir

Tutors in Viola
David Aspin ARCM
Veit Hertenstein
Susie Mészáros
Lucy Nolan
Martin Schäfer
Vicci Wardman

Tutor in Baroque Viola
Annette Isserlis

Visiting Tutor in Cello
Raphael Wallfisch FRAM, FGSM

Tutors in Cello
Leonard Elschenbroich
Nicholas Jones ARCM
Petr Prause
Hannah Roberts ARCM, PPRNCM, FRNCM
Victoria Simonsen
Gillian Thoday LRAM, Konzert Dip (North West German Music Academy)
Nicholas Trygstad BMus (Hons)
Eduardo Vassallo Dip (Maastricht Conservatoire), Dip (International Menuhin Academy, Gstaad)

Tutor in Baroque Cello
Susan Sheppard ARAM

Tutors in Double Bass
Ronan Dunne
Jiří Hudec

Visiting Tutor in Guitar
Gordon Crosskey BSc, ARCM, FRNCM

Tutors in Guitar
Craig Ogden BA (Mus), PGDipRNCM, PPRNCM, FRNCM
Rory Russell BMus (Hons)
Tom McKinney BMus (Hons), MusM

Tutor in Lute, Theorbo and Early Guitar
Paula Chateauneuf

Tutor in Harp
Eira Lynn Jones GMusRNCM, MMus

Tutor in Dalcroze Eurythmics
Karin Greenhead

Artistic Support and Projects Coordinator
Cheryl Law

Further Information

Click here to read more about the audition process and audition requirements.

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