Chamber Music

The RNCM offers a thriving and energetic chamber music programme, providing valuable opportunities to develop your skills through expert tuition, masterclasses and performance.

We also benefit from close links with chamber music organisations worldwide, and as the UK’s only member of the European Chamber Music Academy our advanced chamber ensembles can participate in classes at institutions such as the Paris Conservatoire and University of Music and Performing Arts in Vienna.

How You Will Learn

Ensemble activity is independent to your Principal Study tuition and is compulsory during the first two years of undergraduate study, after which you have the option to continue it further if desired. We’ll support you in forming an ensemble when you arrive, after which you’ll receive regular lessons and classes with resident and visiting tutors. These include former and current members of the Elias, Chilingirian, Talich and Skampa String Quartets, the Gould and Sitkovetsky Piano Trios, Ensemble 360, Zephyr Winds and Apollo Saxophone Quartet.

Students have the opportunity to learn in a variety of settings. Regular performance classes take place alongside individual ensemble coaching, collaboration between composers and ensembles is encouraged and tutored, and there is a busy schedule of visiting world-class artists. Recent masterclasses have been given by Frans Helmerson, Hatto Beyerle, Ralph Kirshbaum, Kathryn Stott, Hansjörg Schellenberger and the Guarneri Piano Trio.

The annual Chamber Music Festival, directed by Jeremy Young, is the largest of its kind in Europe and attracts a truly international following. Recent festivals have featured the Borodin, Henschel and Pavel Haas Quartets, the Guarneri Piano Trio, Jane Manning and Rachael Podger, among many others.

Chamber Music Staff

Head of Chamber Music
Jeremy Young LRAM ARAM

Deputy Head of Chamber Music
Rob Buckland (Wind, Brass and Percussion)
Donald Grant (Strings)

Quartet in Residence
Elias Quartet

Ensemble in Association
Talich Quartet

Waverley Junior Fellows in Chamber Music
Elmore String Quartet

Tutors in Chamber Music
Tim Barber BMus(Hons) RNCM, PPRNCM, PGDip (Perf)
Zara Benyounes
Levon Chilingirian ARCM, FRCM, HonPhD
Leonard Elschenbroich
Pavel Fischer
Laura Jellicoe GMusRNCM(Hons), PPRNCM
Eira Lynn Jones
Katy Jones
Sally Ann Macleod
Susie Mészáros
Professor John Miller MA, FGSM, FRNCM
Petr Prause
Wu Qian
Simone Rebello GMusRNCM, PPRNCM
Dr Tim Reynish
Thomas Schulze
Andy Scott
Lindsey Stoker
Jan Talich
Chris Swann

Tutors in Historical Performance
Roger Hamilton MA, MA, ARCM
Harvey Davies GRNCM

Tutors in Jazz
Steve Berry FHEA
Geth Griffith FHEA PGcertPAE PGDipRNCM BMus(Hons)
Mike Hall BSc, PGDipRNCM

Quartet in Residence: Elias Quartet

Sara Bitlloch, Donald Grant violins
Simone van der Giessen viola
Marie Bitlloch cello

The Elias String Quartet take their name from Mendelssohn’s oratorio, Elijah, of which Elias is its German form, and have quickly established themselves as one of the most intense and vibrant quartets of their generation. The Quartet was formed in 1998 at the RNCM where they worked closely with the late Dr Christopher Rowland. They also spent a year studying at the Hochschule in Cologne with the Alban Berg quartet. Other mentors in the Quartet’s studies include Peter Cropper, Hugh Maguire, György Kurtág, Gábor Takács-Nagy, Henri Dutilleux and Rainer Schmidt.

Elias String Quartet sitting on a sofa.

Elias was chosen to participate in BBC Radio 3’s New Generation Artists’ scheme and was also a recipient of a 2010 Borletti-Buitoni Trust Award. They have performed at some of the world’s most prestigious chamber venues, including New York’s Carnegie Hall, the Washington Library of Congress, the Vienna Musikverein, the Berlin Konzerthaus, the Amsterdam Concertgebouw and the Wigmore Hall in London.

Junior Fellow in Chamber Music: Paddington Piano Trio

Tuulia Hero violins
Patrick Moriatry cello
Stephanie Tang piano

Having started their first adventure together at Paddington Station during the pandemic in 2020, the Paddington Trio has quickly emerged as a unique and versatile ensemble of a lasting entity.

Comprising violinist Tuulia Hero (Finland), cellist Patrick Moriarty (Ireland) and pianist Stephanie Tang (US), the Trio has won multiple awards to date, including first prize at the 70th Royal Over-Seas League Competition for Strings and Piano Ensemble, the prestigious 2023 Parkhouse Award held at Wigmore Hall earlier this year, and the 2022 NEW FORMATS Project Prize in Graz, Austria.

Paddington Trio sitting on a couch with their instruments.

Quartet Studio: Aestus Quartet

Leda Mileto violin
Chris Karwacinski violin
Beth Willett viola
Clara Hope Simpson cello

Since their formation at the RNCM in 2021, the Aestus Quartet have established themselves as a dynamic ensemble that is recognised for their warmth and sensitive musical approach. The name ‘Aestus’ is Latin for sea tide and is inspired by the opening of one of the staples in their repertoire: Benjamin Britten’s String Quartet No 2.

In addition to their position at the RNCM, Aestus are 2023-2024 Britten Pears Young Artists. They look forward to performances this season with organisations such as Ilkley Concert Club, Winchester Chamber Music Festival (as Quartet in Residence), Grantham Music Club, Saddleworth Concert Society, Britten Pears ‘Chamber Futures’, Tickhill Music Society, and First Light Festival.

Aestus Quartet standing with their instruments