Xiaoxiang Tao, MPerf Viola, 2015

I’m originally from China where I completed my undergraduate degree. I performed regularly with local orchestras and ensembles, which I really enjoyed, but I wanted to broaden my experience and to undertake a Master’s course overseas. Some of my former classmates studied at the RNCM and had a really great experience, so they recommended that I apply here. I also knew that the renowned violist David Aspin teaches at the RNCM, so that was a draw for me too.


I chose the MPerf because I liked that I am able to complete my studies in one intense year, and that there are excellent facilities and fantastic performance opportunities. I was amazed by the fact that there are opportunities to play with professional orchestras like the BBC Philharmonic and Manchester Camerata. When I was doing my undergraduate degree in China, I didn’t have the chance to perform as much as I would have liked, so such performance opportunities here are really invaluable.

My schedule is pretty hectic. Most days, I will have lessons in the morning and rehearsals for various performances and projects in the afternoon. I will also try to fit as much practice as possible between my commitments. If I have some free time, I will watch a masterclass or a performance at the RNCM.

One of my highlights here so far was my first public performance with the BBC Philharmonic. It was a bit nerve-wracking but a very enjoyable experience! I also really enjoyed performing one of the Brahms Sextets with Catherine Yates; I have dreamed of playing the Brahms Sextets since I was a young kid so this was a fantastic experience for me.