Strings Summer School

Our Summer School for Viola, Violin and Cello is for students aged 17+ who would like to explore their potential during three days of workshops and individual tuition. The course will provide valuable preparation for those who are looking to audition for conservatoire.

This exciting event will give you the opportunity to work with RNCM tutors and artistic partners, as well as the chance to meet, perform and socialise with like-minded talented musicians who aspire to be RNCM Strings students.

Students who would benefit from this course may be:

  • a student preparing for music college entrance auditions
  • a music education student who is planning a career in a performance setting or postgraduate study
  • a music enthusiast wishing to enhance their musical experience by working with the RNCM as part of a professional development experience

Strings Summer School attendees receive:

  • advice auditions with Chris Hoyle, Head of Strings, and Catherine Yates, Deputy Head of Strings
  • performance classes with our instrumental staff
  • technique workshops with our tutors
  • ensemble sessions
  • the opportunity to perform with current students

What are the benefits?

Immersive learning opportunities

The programme aims to develop in the individual musician the importance of a whole mind and body approach to communicating music through their instrument and is distinctive in relation to the quality of coaching that will be provided by players and teachers who have reached the highest levels of performance and education in the music industry.

Learn from highly experienced musicians and teachers

2019 musicians:

Chris Hoyle – Course Director and Head of the School of Strings

Chris Hoyle is Head of the School of Strings at the RNCM and enjoys a busy life as a chamber musician, orchestral player and teacher.

He studied with Alexander Baillie and, at the age of 16, entered the RNCM to study with Raphael Sommer. He appeared in Paul Tortelier’s televised masterclasses for the BBC and subsequently won scholarships enabling him to continue studying with both Paul and Maud Tortelier in France.

He has worked with many of the UK’s finest orchestras, including the BBC Philharmonic, of which he was a member for many years. He also plays as Guest Principal Cello with several orchestras and has given solo recitals nationwide, including a performance of Schnittke’s Cello Sonata to the composer as part of the Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival. He has performed widely as a chamber musician in the McFarlane String Quartet, Psappha and several small ensembles within the BBC. In these roles, he has frequently broadcast for radio and TV. Chris plays a prize-winning cello made by Eero Haahti in Paris.

Catherine Yates – Deputy Head of School of Strings

Catherine Yates attended Chetham’s School of Music before studying at the RNCM with Malcolm Layfield and Lydia Mordkovich. In 1989 she became a member of the Sorrel Quartet, one of Britain’s foremost ensembles, performing extensively at home and abroad, broadcasting regularly on BBC Radio and holding Artists-in-Residence positions at six of Britain’s major universities.

The Quartet’s long association with the Chandos record label saw the recording of 12 discs, including a much lauded complete cycle of the Shostakovich quartets, discs of the major quartet works of Britten and critically acclaimed recordings of Schubert, Mendelssohn and Elgar. Catherine’s musical career took a sharp change in direction in September 2007 following her appointment as Principal Second Violin with the Hallé Orchestra. She held this position for six years before being appointed Deputy Head of the School of Strings at the RNCM. She continues to perform regularly as Guest Principal with orchestras such as the Hallé, City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, Royal Northern Sinfonia, Manchester Camerata, Welsh National Opera, BBC National Orchestra of Wales and BBC Symphony Orchestra. She also continues to fuel her passion for chamber music, playing both violin and viola with a number of ensembles, including with the contemporary music group, Psappha, and the Victoria String Quartet.

Victoria String Quartet Benedict Holland, Catherine Yates, Susie Meszaros and Jennifer Langridge

The Victoria String Quartet unites some of the most experienced chamber musicians in the UK. All members have performed together in different ensembles for many years, and between them can boast an impressive pedigree: The Chilingirian Quartet, The Sorrel Quartet and Psappha Ensemble, naming just a few.

They were thrilled to join together in 2017 to explore and perform the rich and varied string quartet repertoire. The Victoria String Quartet is based in Manchester and all four of them teach at the RNCM and give masterclasses both in the UK and internationally. Future highlights include performances at the Stoller Hall, Manchester and the Buxton International Festival.

How Much Does it Cost?

The cost of the 3-day summer school is:

Course Fee: £245 (including allowance for lunch)
Course Fee + Bed and Breakfast: £377 (including 2 nights’ accommodation and allowance for lunch)

How do I apply?

Dates for the next Strings Summer School are to be announced. If you’d like to enquire about future events, please contact


COVID-19 Update: Our venues have reopened to the public and we’re looking forward to welcoming you back this Autumn. Before attending an event at the RNCM, please read our Audience Protocol…