Performance is an essential part of conservatoire training and one of the most exciting things about studying at the RNCM.
With over 500 events taking place each year, we’re recognised as one of the UK’s busiest live music venues, providing a broad range of public performance opportunities as well as the chance to experience high quality live music onsite.
Driven by our diverse artistic programme, opportunities include everything from large orchestral projects and cross-school collaborations, to full-scale opera productions, intimate chamber concerts and solo recitals. Guest conductors, composers and musicians also work with students throughout the year, heightening the breadth of training and different musical perspectives we’re proud to offer. And there are plenty of chances for students to propose their own projects as part of our Spotlight series of pre- and post-concert events, Monday Recitals, or RNCM Lab Week, dedicated entirely to student creativity.
Orchestras and Ensembles
RNCM orchestras and ensembles cover genres from classical to contemporary. Varying in size and focus, there are opportunities to develop your playing as part of the RNCM Symphony, Concert, Chamber, String, Wind and Session Orchestras and Brass and Big Bands. We also have a number of instrument-specific ensembles for Brass, Wind, Baroque, Jazz, Harp, Guitar, Percussion and Saxophone, and a Brand New Orchestra and New Ensemble which première works by our composition students.
Orchestral projects range from short, intense experiences focusing on individual works, to longer, in-depth explorations of repertoire. These are regularly led by guest professional conductors and orchestra leaders, often incorporating visiting composers and soloists. Recent guests include conductors Martyn Brabbins, Elim Chan, Holly Mathieson, En Shao, Vassily Sinaisky, Markus Stenz, Duncan Ward and Simone Young, violinists Ning Feng and Henning Kraggerud, cellist István Várdai, trumpeter Markus Stockhausen, and composers Mark-Anthony Turnage, Thea Musgrave, Kaija Saariaho and George Benjamin.
We offer a thriving and energetic chamber music programme, providing valuable opportunities to develop your skills through expert tuition, masterclasses and performance.
Ensemble activity is compulsory during the first two years of undergraduate study, with 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.
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.
An understanding of early performing styles, repertoire and technique can truly enhance your musical progression. As such, all students are given the opportunity to develop skills on historical instruments during their time with us, benefitting from the expertise of our specialist tutors and visiting artists.
Our orchestra performances, chamber concerts and opera productions often feature early repertoire, and we have an extensive range of period instruments available for student loan. We’re also home to a Baroque Orchestra and Ensemble, a Collection of Historic Musical Instruments, and provide additional coaching, masterclasses and performance opportunities via our partnership with the Academy of Ancient Music.
It’s vital that everyone has the freedom to explore their interest in and passion for jazz during their studies. Ensembles such as the RNCM Jazz Collective and Big Band provide opportunities to perform to public audiences throughout the year, with our Big Band regularly featuring distinguished guest artists.
In addition, students on the BMus programme can opt to undertake jazz electives. These help you develop a knowledge of core jazz repertoire, understand how to approach improvisation, and explore the practical aspects of putting together a jazz performance. You’ll also receive specialist tuition from visiting artists and musicians prolific on the professional jazz scene, which can include participation in masterclasses and performance projects.