Historical Performance

All students are given the opportunity to develop skills on historical instruments and to enhance their knowledge of earlier performing styles, repertoire and techniques.

This coaching and training helps to prepare students for a profession in which some knowledge of period performance practice is increasingly regarded as essential.

Orchestral and chamber music programming in College includes significant amounts of earlier repertoire, giving players on both modern and period instruments the chance to develop their awareness of performing in an informed way. Early opera is not neglected either; recent opera productions have included Monteverdi, Handel, Gluck and Mozart.

Historical Performance isn’t separated out at the RNCM – rather the idea of stylistic awareness runs through everything we do, whether using period instruments or not. So, whatever repertoire you want to explore, and whatever your current level, there will be fantastic opportunities, many of them designed specifically for you.
Roger Hamilton, Teaching Fellow in Historical Performance

How You Will Learn

The Historical Performance Teaching Fellows coordinate and coach student groups in a wide variety of music, from Baroque cantatas and trio sonatas through to chamber music of the 18th and 19th centuries. Cross-school groups are encouraged to increase your experience of working with all instrumental and vocal disciplines. Repertoire is carefully chosen to match your specific interests and level of experience.

For keyboard players the skills associated with continuo playing, figured and unfigured bass realisation, harmonisation, and sight reading are developed from the first year as these are crucial to understanding so much of the music-making of the 17th and 18th centuries. Singers can undertake classes in historical performance technique, style and repertoire. There are plenty of opportunities, both internal and external, for performances of the repertoire studied.

Historic Instruments and Tuition

The College has an extensive and increasing collection of instruments available for student loan including a complete Baroque string orchestra; a full range of keyboard instruments including harpsichord, chamber organ and fortepiano; Baroque and Classical woodwind and brass instruments. Our team of specialist tutors offer expert tuition on historical instruments, and this is available to all students.

The College is also home to the RNCM Collection of Historical Musical Instruments, which comprises in excess of 300 instruments.

I love performing baroque music. I’ve been able to borrow a baroque cello and bow from the College and join historical performance groups, which has been great. I’ve particularly enjoyed getting involved with the RNCM Baroque Ensemble. We’ve performed at several events at the College and the connections I’ve made have been invaluable – it’s always nice to meet people passionate about the same thing you are.
Mario Castelló Córdoba, MMus Cello

Recent Masterclasses and Learning Opportunities

The RNCM recently formed an exciting partnership with the Academy of Ancient Music, through which students have the opportunity to get involved in a full range of activities including performance, chamber coaching and masterclasses.

Students have also recently benefited from masterclasses, concerts and tuition from world-renowned artists such as Mahan Esfahani, Emma Kirkby, Orlando Consort, Dufay Collective, Joglaresa, I Fagiolini and Charivari Agréable.


Teaching Fellows in Historical Performance
Harvey Davies GRNCM
Roger Hamilton MA, MA, ARCM

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

Tutor in Baroque Viola
Annette Isserlis

Tutor in Baroque Cello
Susan Sheppard ARAM

Tutor in Viola da Gamba
To be announced

Tutor in Theorbo
Paula Chateauneuf

Tutor in Baroque Flute
Dr Stephen Preston AGSM, PhD

Tutor in Baroque and Classical Oboe
Anthony Robson LRAM, ARCM

Tutor in Early Clarinet
Dr Lesley Schatzberger BA (Hons), ARCM, DUniv

Tutor in Baroque Bassoon
Peter Whelan

Tutor in Recorder
Chris Orton HonBC, AdvPGDip (Prof Perf), BMus (Hons)

Tutor in Hand Horn
Rebecca Goldberg GMusRNCM, PPRNCM, PGDipRNCM

Tutor in Natural Trumpet
David Hendry GRNCM, PGDipRCM

Tutor in Sackbut and Classical Trombone
Susan Addison ARCM

Tutor in Harpsichord
Roger Hamilton MA, MA, ARCM

International Tutor in Fortepiano Studies
Stefano Fiuzzi

International Tutor in Harpsichord
Terence Charlston

Tutors in Organ
Darius Battiwalla BA, MusM, FRCO, PPRNCM
Simon Lindley FRCO(CHM), FTCL, GRSM(Lond), ARCM, LRAM
Dr Gordon Stewart

New: Principal Study in Recorder


The RNCM is delighted to announce that Principal Study is now available in Recorder at both undergraduate and postgraduate level. Recorder students will receive Principal Study lessons from Chris Orton and a newly-appointed International Tutor in Recorder, as well as tuition from all Historical Performance tutors.