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RNCM NEWS Winter 2012

Celebrating a Century The RNCM pays tribute to Dame Kathleen Ollerenshaw

News 3 RNCM Top Place for Manchester Students 4 Anya 17 Wins Media Award 5 J amie Phillips Announced as New Hallé Assistant Conductor 6 RNCM 2012 Gold Medal Winners 7 Buffet Group Artists at RNCM FEATURES CONTENTS

 uscians excel at world saxophone 8 M congress 10 Opera role for JRNCM singer


11 International Violist Joins RNCM

RNCM Top Place for Manchester Students page 3

Anya 17 page 4

9 International Success for Nemtsov Duo

12 Zelkova Is Chamber Ensemble of the Year 13 Gold Medal page 6

Features  elebrating a Century: 14 C A Tribute to Dame Kathleen 16 Collectives and Curiosities 17 The Listening Project Jamie Phillips page 5

World Saxophone Congress page 8

Alumni news  NCM Alumna Awarded in Queen’s 18 R Birthday Honours 19 Flowers Goes Back to Her Roots 20 Keyboard Alumni to Mark 40 Years  NCM Alumni Present Powerful Opera 21 R Première Alison Cox page 12

Zelkova quartet page 12

RNCM Friends 22 RNCM Friends Supported Students 23 Making a Lasting Difference

For large print copies of RNCM News, or if you’d prefer to receive it electronically, contact: 0161 907 5338 You can also download it at RNCM, 124 Oxford Road, Manchester. M13 9RD

Stefan & Lotte page 21

RNCM Top Place for Manchester Students

RNCM’s Fellows and Honorary Members

The results, published in September, gave the College an overall score of 87% placing it higher than the University of Manchester, Manchester Metropolitan University and the University of Salford. Speaking of this year’s results, Acting Principal, Professor Linda Merrick, said: ‘The NSS is a significant survey for higher education institutions, as it provides vital information as to how students assess the quality of teaching and learning they receive. We are delighted with this year’s results, which confirm the College’s commitment to improving the student experience.’ The strong percentage also meant the RNCM was third in a list including seven of the UK’s top conservatoires, aiding Manchester’s reputation as a vibrant cultural city.

‘Manchester is home to the BBC Philharmonic, Hallé and Manchester Camerata, all of which offer placement schemes for RNCM students,’ explained Professor Merrick. ‘Through these placements, work experience with partners in the music industry, and the 350 recital and chamber music engagements we contract for students in the region, students graduate with excellent experience, important contacts and strong employment prospects.’ Conducted annually since 2005, the NSS is a national initiative running across all publically funded Higher Education Institutions in England, Wales, Northern Ireland and the majority in Scotland. Through a series of 22 questions (scored 1 to 5), final year undergraduates are asked to provide feedback on seven areas of their degree programme: teaching, assessment and feedback,


The RNCM has been recognised as Manchester’s best higher education institution for overall student satisfaction according to the 2012 National Student Survey (NSS). This year, during the RNCM’s 40th anniversary celebrations, five distinguished musicians, tutors and conductors have been chosen to become Fellows of the RNCM (FRNCM) and four influential names from the arts and music education have the title of Honorary Member (HonRNCM). Professor Linda Merrick

academic support, organisation and management, learning resources, personal development, and overall satisfaction. At the RNCM, each of the seven areas showed improvement, but students were particularly impressed with teaching, academic support and personal development. The overall result showed the College was also well above the Higher Education Council for England’s (HEFCE) benchmark of 78%.

James Clark, Leader of the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra; Jiri Hudec, Prinicpal solo bass of the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra and RNCM Principal Double Bass Tutor; international pianist and leading tutor in piano, Norma Fisher; Thomas Riebl, RNCM International Tutor in Viola and one of the world’s finest solo/chamber viola players; and Markus Stenz, General Music Director of the City of Cologne, Kapellmeister of the Gürzenich Orchestra and Principal guest conductor of the Hallé, will all become Fellows of the RNCM during the College’s Congregation of Awards on Tuesday 4 December. Darren Henley, Managing Director of Classic FM and writer of the Henley Review; Alex Poots, Director of the Manchester International Festival; Lord Sutherland of Houndwood, former Chairman of the ABRSM, Scottish academic, public servant and one of the UK’s most distinguished philosophers of religion; and Roger Wright, Director of the BBC Proms, will become Honorary Members during the same ceremony.



Anya 17 Wins Media Award


Adam Gorb, Caroline Clegg and Ben Kaye

The RNCM is delighted to announce that the libretto of Adam Gorb (Head of Composition) and Ben Kaye’s unique new opera, Anya17, has won a Human Trafficking Foundation Anti-Slavery Day Media Award for Best Stage or Film Production Raising Awareness of Human Trafficking. The opera, which premièred in March to great reviews, is the first of its kind to focus on sex-trafficking in the UK and has already gained significant recognition from UK charities, Non-Government Organisations and national media. Recalling the ceremony, Ben said: ‘Standing up there on the podium at The House of Commons, I’d almost forgotten how this project started. Having been turned down by The Arts Council for a grant to write the libretto (for about £1000 if I remember), I found myself a job working in an open-air factory in December with snow on the ground, for £30 a day. I used to go out for my 15 minute lunch break and write in the freezing car.

‘Then, despite my fragile belief, came the gradual support from the RNCM, the 11 Non-Government Organisations, The Royal Liverpool Phil, the wonderful performances in Liverpool and Manchester, the invitation to The House of Lords, then 10 Downing Street and then finally the House of Commons.

Anya17 rehearsals

‘Quite a contrast, and it does reinforce my long-held tennet that ‘If it feels right... it must be.’’

unveiled by Minister for Immigration, Damian Green MP, at the House of Lords in October.

The Human Trafficking Foundation Awards were introduced to highlight and commend the efforts of those in the media that have most effectively shed light on the issue of human trafficking in the UK. The winners were

Anya 17, directed by Caroline Clegg, was performed at the RNCM in March by the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Ensemble 10/10 and vocal students from the College. Next year it will receive performances in Romania,

with interest also coming from Germany, Australia, the USA, and The Women’s Human Rights Commission of Korea. Ben added: ‘Surely this is a testament to the power of words, music and what can be achieved when such artistically-unfettered organisations such as the RNCM and Liverpool Phil work together.

RNCM Students Accepted for Live Music Now Six RNCM ensembles have successfully auditioned for Live Music Now, the largest provider of live music to the UK’s welfare, educational, justice and health sectors. Founded over 30 years ago by Yehudi Menuhin and Ian Stoutzker, Live Music Now supports the very best young musicians embarking on professional careers and, at the same time, reaches those in the community who have less opportunity to experience the benefits of live performance. Today, over 3000 performances and workshops are given annually to some 200,000 people in special schools, community centres, prisons, hospitals, village halls and care homes.

Professor Linda Merrick, RNCM Acting Principal, said: ‘The RNCM is proud of the growing number of students and alumni of the College who are being selected for Live Music Now, and of the contribution these young musicians make to the lives of those they reach through this unique scheme. For many, their work with Live Music Now is a life-changing experience; an experience that empowers them to use their skills to transform the lives of others. We look forward to working closely with Live Music

Now over the coming years to increase the quality and reach of its offer, and to enhance the employment of RNCM graduates.’ The six RNCM ensembles chosen during last month’s auditions were: Tempest Flute Trio (Holly Melia, Helen Wilson, Sarah Bennett, pictured above), Aurora Percussion Duo (Delia Stevens, Le Yu), Nemtsov Duo (Mikhail Nemtsov, Elena Nemtsova), Phoenix Clarinet Quartet (Caroline Waddington, Hannah McCabe, Rocio Bolanos,

Tempest Flute Trio

Suzanne Clare), Trio Volant (Thomas Evans, Imogen Coe, Christopher James) and soprano Chloe Saywell with pianist Stephenie Leung. They will now deliver concerts and workshops throughout the North West.

Jamie Phillips Announced as New Hallé Assistant Conductor Young conductor Jamie Phillips has yet more reason to celebrate, becoming the Hallé’s Assistant Conductor just weeks after he was signed by Intermusica for worldwide general management.

Jamie, who is in his third year studying trumpet on the GRNCM course with the University of Manchester, attracted considerable attention as the youngest competitor to reach the semi-finals of the 2011 Besançon International Competition for Young Conductors, and as a finalist in the Nestlé and Salzburg Festival Young Conductors Award where he conducted the Salzburg Mozarteum Orchestra and pianist Ingolf Wunder. He took up the position at the start of the Hallé’s new season in September, replacing RNCM alumnus Andrew Gourlay (trombone, 2005), whose hugely successful tenure in the position ended with the Hallé Youth Orchestra’s tour to Prague. Andrew will continue his association with the Hallé with concerts next season.

As Assistant Conductor, Jamie will work with Music Director Sir Mark Elder, conduct the Hallé in Manchester and around the country, and act as Music Director and conductor of the Hallé Youth Orchestra.


Jamie Phillips

Aaron Parker Chosen for Young Composers Scheme

Fourth year student Aaron Parker is one of six composers chosen for the LSO Discovery Panufnik Young Composers Scheme.

Speaking about Jamie Phillips’s appointment, John Summers, Hallé Chief Executive said: ‘We are delighted about Jamie’s appointment as Assistant Conductor. He was the unanimous choice of the selection panel from an extremely talented field. Jamie follows a number of outstanding conductors who have held this role, from Edward Gardner in 2002 through to Andrew Gourlay.’ Sir Mark Elder added: ‘We are all very thrilled to welcome Jamie into the Hallé family, and look forward to working with him closely over the coming years.’

RNCM Conductor Wins Prestigious Award French conductor Alexandre Bloch won the prestigious Donatella Flick LSO Conducting Competition in September, receiving £15,000 and the chance to work as Assistant Conductor with the London Symphony Orchestra (LSO) for one year.

experience, and I am extremely happy to have the opportunity to work with them. The prospect of working alongside great conductors such as Sir Colin Davis, Valery Gergiev and all the guest conductors of the LSO is also very exciting.’

The competition was created by Donatella Flick in 1990 and is open to conductors under the age of 35 who are citizens of the 27 countries having full membership of the European Union. On winning, Alexander, The Sir John Zochonis Junior Fellow in Conducting at the RNCM, said: ‘Conducting the LSO was an incredibly thrilling

Clark Rundell, Head of Conducting at the RNCM, added: ‘The Donatella Flick competition is one of the première conducting competitions in the world, not only for the monetary prize but for the invaluable opportunity to work with the LSO. We were not only delighted with Alexander’s victory but also with the presence

Aaron Parker

Devised by the London Symphony Orchestra (LSO) in association with Lady Panufnik in memory of her late husband, Sir Andrzej Panufnik, this exciting initiative offers emerging composers the opportunity to write for a worldclass symphony orchestra. Alexandre Bloch

of two other RNCM conductors in the semi-finals, Jonathan Lo and Courtney Lewis. To have a 30% RNCM presence at that stage was amazing. Alexandre is the second RNCM Junior Fellow to win the competition as the inaugural event was won by Paul Mann (1997).’

Culminating in a public workshop in which their compositions will be rehearsed by the LSO and conductor François-Xavier Roth, each composer will receive tutorials from Composition Director Colin Matthews, in addition to support from LSO players and open access to rehearsals and concerts.


RNCM Pianists Win Brant Prizes

The RNCM’s seventh Gold Medal Weekend took place in June, featuring 11 of the College’s finest performers who were competing for the much-coveted Gold Medal; the highest award offered for performance.


RNCM 2012 Gold Medal Winners

RNCM undergraduate Ugnius Pauliukonis and alumnus Slava Sidorenko have won second and third prize in the 33rd Robert William and Florence Amy Brant Piano Competition held in Birmingham this summer. The annual event was founded by Gladys Brant in memory of her parents, and later her brother who was killed in action during the Second World War. It is open to pianists aged 18 to 28 residing in Great Britain. Second year student Ugnius, who won second prize and £2000, performed Schubert’s Sonata in A minor D784, Scriabin’s Deu Poemes Op 32 and Chopin’s PolonaiseFantasy Op 61, while Slava, who graduated in 2010 with an International Artist Diploma in Solo Performance, won third prize and £1000 with a performance of Haydn’s Sonata No 59 in E flat XV14, Rachmaninov’s Sonata No 2 in B flat Op 36 and Marc-André Hamelin’s Etude No 6 Omaggio a Domenico Scarlatti.

Ugnius (left) and Slava (right) with winner Ashley Fripp

2012 Gold Medal Winners; Lan Hu, Kyran Matthews and Sarah Bennett

This year’s winners were fourth year pianist Lan Hu, who studies with Dina Parakhina, fourth year saxophonist Kyran Matthews, who studies with Rob Buckland and second year flautist Sarah Bennett, a pupil of Richard Davis and Katherine Baker.

Jury for the RNCM Gold Medal. Like my fellow jurors I was greatly impressed by the candidates, who all offered something personal and distinctive, and the care and commitment they lavished on their performances made for something truly engaging.’

The adjudicating panel comprised Professor Jonty Stockdale (former RNCM Principal), Ivan Hewett (classical music critic for The Telegraph, BBC Radio 3 presenter and tutor at the Royal College of Music), Andrew Comben (Chief Executive of the Brighton Dome and Festival) and Angela Sulivan (Director of international artist management company Sulivan Sweetland).

Angela Sulivan added: ‘I was honoured to be asked to sit on the panel at the RNCM’s Gold Medal Weekend. It was an illuminating experience, and a wonderful opportunity to witness the wealth of talent amongst the students at the RNCM. I was impressed by the high standard, imaginative programming and breadth of music-making happening at the College. The three winners were chosen for their compelling performances, outstanding technical accomplishment and, above all,

Speaking after the competition, Ivan said: ‘It was a privilege and a pleasure to be a member of the

for their ability to communicate the essence of the music.’ Three RNCM composition students, Jack Sheen, Michael Betteridge and Zakiya Leeming, were specially commissioned to write new works to be performed by three of the soloists. RNCM alumna Jennifer Watson (2009) composed Kyran’s winning recital, Urban Species, which was an exploration in music and visuals of human interactions, with and within cities. The other soloists in this year’s competition were: Daria Bitsiuk (piano), Elfair Dyer (harp), Robert Fant (French horn), Gintaute Gataveckaite (piano), Hanna-Liisa Kirchin (mezzosoprano) Peter Liang (violin), Svetlana Mochalova (piano), Le Yu (percussion), .

Roger Webster Awarded Professorship

Buffet Group Artists at RNCM As part of the RNCM’s ongoing partnership with instrument manufacturer Buffet Group, the months ahead see visits by some of the most exciting wind and brass musicians in Europe. We were delighted to welcome Buffet Artist Fabien Thouand, Principal oboist of the Orchestra of the Teatro alla Scala in Milan, who performed and give a masterclass at the RNCM Wind Weekend on 10-11 November. We are also looking forward to welcoming the dynamic young brass quartet, Exit Brass!, as Ensemble in Residence at the RNCM Festival of Brass 2013

(25-27 January 2013). The quartet, who represent Besson Buffet’s internationally renowned brass brand, are Belgian and are one of the most innovative brass ensembles working today. Paul Hindmarsh, Artistic Director of the RNCM Festival of Brass, said: ‘We are extremely grateful to Besson for supporting the visit of Exit Brass!. It is so important for our audiences and the College’s students to hear and be inspired by the most exciting young brass musicians. The RNCM Festival of Brass will showcase

Exit Brass! in what will be their most significant UK appearance to date and will celebrate the next generation of exceptional brass performers’.Now in its second year, the College’s partnership with Buffet Group provides wide-ranging support of students, performances and the RNCM’s flagship festivals. Established in 1825, Buffet Group is an international company specialising in the making and distribution of wind instruments through its five brands: Buffet Crampon, Besson, Antoine Courtois, Julius Keilwerth and Schreiber.

New Partnership for RNCM and Foden’s The RNCM and Foden’s Band are pleased to announce a new partnership offering exciting opportunities for RNCM brass students, composers and conductors.

John Barber

Speaking on behalf of Foden’s, Chairman John Barber said: ‘All at Foden’s are very proud and privileged to be associated with one of the world’s leading conservatoires, especially as a number of our players are either ex or current members of this institution. We are looking forward to a long relationship with the RNCM and have already discussed a number of exciting projects that will be reported on in due course.’ Professor John Miller, Deputy Head of the School of Wind, Brass and Percussion, added: ‘The RNCM is thrilled about this new partnership with Foden’s, and looks forward to the great possibilities for students over the next three years. This presents

As a trumpet and cornet player, Roger has performed with many of the UK’s top brass bands and orchestras, as well as with the world-renowned Alliance Brass Ensemble. He is also constantly conducting research in the area of psychotherapy, with special relevance to the needs of musicians, and has been particularly involved with the treatment of dystonia and musical stammers. On hearing the news Roger said he was ‘delighted to be awarded the title of Professor at the RNCM’, adding that he will ‘continue in my endeavours to promote the College as one of the world’s leading conservatoires.’

Rex Richardson Announced as International Tutor in Trumpet Exceptional jazz trumpeter and Yamaha Artist, Rex Richardson, has become the RNCM’s International Tutor in Trumpet.

Professor John Miller

an amazing opportunity for RNCM brass players, composers and conductors to collaborate with a professional brass band and in particular, to explore contemporary music, which is a strong feature of our annual RNCM Festival of Brass.’

As a professional trumpeter, Rex has shared the stage with countless legendary artists and ensembles, including Benny Carter, Boston Brass, Ray Charles, Mike Clarke, Kurt Elling, Carl Fontana, Aretha Franklin, Stefon Harris, Conrad Herwig, Dave Holland, Dave Liebman, Jimmy Owens and Steve Wilson.


RNCM Tutor in Cornet and Besson Artist, Roger Webster, has been awarded the title of Professor.


News in brief


We are pleased to announce that Dr Yakubu Karagama, Consultant Ear, Nose and Throat Specialist, has accepted the position of Honorary Visiting Fellow at the RNCM.


In October, students, staff, alumni and the public gathered in the Carole Nash Recital Room to enjoy Picture the Past, an exhibition of photographs celebrating the College’s 40 year history. Second year trombonist Ryan Watkins has been awarded the British Trombone Society Young Player of the Year Award, while Junior RNCM’s Josh Cirtina reached the final of the Society’s Bass Trombone Competition. The RNCM’s School of Vocal Studies has announced a new Vocal Ensemble Prize for all schools set to take place in May 2013. Students are invited to form a vocal ensemble, and competing ensembles will be expected to prepare a 15 minute a cappella programme, comprising music from any century. The Edward Milner Award has been set up by a bequest from the late Edward Milner to support RNCM bel canto students at all levels. Edward Milner, a retired Senior Lecturer in Economics at Manchester Metropolitan University, was a life-long opera lover, with a particular enthusiasm for RNCM Opera Productions. Syuzanna Kaszo has won First Prize and ¤2000 in the 15th Concorso Pianistico ‘Stefano Marizza’ in Trieste, Italy. The prize also includs recital appearances in Italy, Slovenia and Croatia. First year soprano Alexandra Lowe and alumnus Adam Smith (tenor, 2011) reached the finals of the 2012 Junior Ferrier Competition.

Muscians excel at world saxophone congress The RNCM Wind Orchestra and Saxophone Ensemble travelled to St Andrews in July to take part in the 16th World Saxophone Congress. Taking place once every three years, the Congress has, to date, been held in major cities around the world, including Washington, Tokyo, Montreal and Bangkok. This year’s week-long event in Scotland featured over 700 performers, 250 concerts and 200 world premières, five of which were performed by the RNCM Wind Orchestra (led by Clark Rundell and Mark Heron) as they accompanied leading saxophonists in new concertos. Dr Paul Goodey, Head of School of Wind, Brass and Percussion and Dean of Performance Studies, said: ‘The Wind Orchestra was invited to play five concertos, accompanying soloists from around the world – including Eastern Europe, the USA and Japan. The invitation came as a result of the Orchestra’s exceptional reputation, and feedback following the event has been 100% enthusiastic and positive. The message that will now spread is significant; it was an amazing opportunity to show so many people the high standards our students achieve.’ The RNCM Saxophone Ensemble also performed during the week, presenting works by Professor Adam Gorb and Professor Gary Carpenter in a concert led by RNCM tutors Rob Buckland and Andy Scott.

Clark Rundell conducts the RNCM Wind Orchestra rehearsal

Other RNCM ensembles taking part were the Absolution Saxophone Quartet, currently studying for an International Artist Diploma, and the Apollo Saxophone Orchestra, comprising, amongst others, the Apollo Saxophone Quartet (established at the RNCM in 1985) and RNCM alumni, which performed works by inspirational saxophonist Barbara Thompson. RNCM Lecturer in Music, Michelle Phillips, who attended the Congress as a performer, said: ‘The Wind Orchestra blew everyone away (the percussion section in particular was stunning), and many people congratulated me on being associated with an institution with such an outstanding ensemble. The RNCM Saxophone Ensemble,

which gave an hour-long concert in the main hall on the final day of the event, was incredible - musically and professionally perfect and enrapturing. The whole event was fantastic, and made all the more special by the significant RNCM staff and student presence and contribution.’

Clark Rundell conducts rehearsals

RNCM postgraduate cellist and Leverhulme Scholar, Mikhail Nemtsov, and his sister, pianist and RNCM alumna Elena Nemtsova (2011), have enjoyed a great summer, winning First Prize in the Swedish International Duo Competition, performing to great reviews at London’s Wigmore Hall and appearing on BBC Radio 3’s In Tune. In the Duo Competition, which took place in Brevens Bruk, Sweden, Mikhail and Elena competed against 40 duos from over 20 countries to take the top prize. Speaking of the win,

Mikhail said: ‘We were delighted to have won First Prize in such a tough contest. Elena and I have been playing since we were kids and that gave us an advantage over many other good ensembles.’

Brother and sister duo Elena and Mikhail

Less than a month later, after an invitation to perform on BBC Radio 3’s In Tune, the duo presented a recital at Wigmore Hall in celebration of Mikhail’s win at the 2011 Pierre Fournier Awards. The programme consisted of Borboudakis’ ROAI II, Shostakovich’s Cello Sonata in D minor Op 40, Ligeti’s Sonata for Solo Cello and Franck’s Sonata in A for Cello and Piano. Writing for, reviewer Madelaine Jones said: ‘Opening the programme with the most obscure item, ROAI II, could have been a risk, but it

most definitely paid off…The Shostakovich Cello Sonata in D minor, a notoriously difficult sonata for cellist and pianist alike, was then carried off with technical ease and flair…For an encore, the duo returned to play the third movement of Chopin’s Cello Sonata, Op 65. The harmonic simplicity allowed Nemtsov’s rich tone a chance to fully blossom and Nemtsova’s poised yet sensitive playing provided a wonderful support, the two parts both feeding off each other and yet soaring independently, the epitome of true musical siblings.’

RNCM at Festival No 6 Several RNCM students had a summer to remember, performing at the inaugural Festival No 6 alongside New Order and Primal Scream. The Aurora Percussion Duo (Delia Stevens, Le Yu), Absolution Saxophone Quartet (Anthony Brown, Jennifer Palfreyman, Spencer Moran, Fraser Johnston) and Holly Melia and Sarah Bennett of the Tempest Flute Trio, all played sets during the much-anticipated Portmeirion event, heralded as ‘a festival unlike any other, in a place like no other.’ ‘It was fantastic to be involved with a festival in such a beautiful setting,’ said Anthony, who is studying for an International Artist Diploma with Absolution. ‘Despite the rain, a couple of us even got stuck in, went camping and managed to catch a glimpse of acts including Phil Jupitus and Primal Scream. We got a very appreciative audience who seemed to warm to the different style of music we brought to the festival.’ It was a similar experience for Tempest performer Holly, who is one of this year’s RNCM Oglesby Scholars. She said: ‘It was such a unique event to be part of, with a diverse range of music, art and culture. Portmeirion was the perfect setting for Festival No 6 as we

Absolution Saxophone Quartet

were surrounded by idyllic and inspiring scenery. The only problem was getting out of the extremely muddy car park at the end of the day, but luckily there was a tractor on hand to rescue us!’ Le Yu, who is also studying for an International Artist Diploma (supported by Yamaha) and participated in the RNCM’s tour of China in November with third year percussionist Delia, added: ‘The Festival went really well and people enjoyed it. The venue was just stunning – such a great place to be.’


International Success for Nemtsov Duo


Young Artist Award for JRNCM’s Will Druiett

Kieron-Connor Valentine

Opera role for JRNCM singer


Counter tenor Kieron-Connor Valentine has become the first Junior RNCM student to be cast in an RNCM opera.

10 Junior RNCM’s Will Druiett won the Young Artist Division Solo Tuba Award at the 2012 International Tuba and Euphonium Conference. Taking place at Linz, Austria, in June, the Conference featured competitions in six categories: Young Artist Division Solo Euphonium, Young Artist Division Solo Tuba, TubaEuphonium Ensemble, Artist Division Solo Euphonium, Artist Division Solo Tuba and Arnold Jacobs Mock Orchestral Tuba. Ten young artists up to the age of 18 performed in the semi-finals, including Will whose studies are supported by the Leverhulme Trust and former JRNCM student Toby Butt, who is now in the first year of his undergraduate studies at the RNCM, supported by the Eric and Margaret Kinder Charitable Trust. Toby and Will, were the only UK representatives in a category featuring competitors from eight different countries. Karen Humphries, Head of Junior RNCM, said: ‘We’re very proud to have had two Junior RNCM students in the final and many, many congratulations to Will. The Junior RNCM brass department has had a tremendous year and to have Will Druiett, Toby Butt and tutor Les Neish representing us at such a high profile international conference finished the year with a flourish.’

The 17-year-old, who studies with Richard Strivens, will perform the role of L’humana fragilita in the Prologue to the College’s autumn production of Monteverdi’s Il ritorno d’Ulisse in patria (The Return of Ulysses). Talking of the casting, Stefan Janski, Head of Opera, said: ‘Kieron’s counter tenor voice is glorious, rich and confident, which is excellent to open the opera. And he is fair-haired, fair-skinned and looks both vulnerable and youthful. His character represents the fragility of the human character, which is frail to the time, fortune and love that surrounds him.’ On being offered the role Kieron, who came second in the BBC National Eisteddfod 2011, said: ‘I auditioned for the production because it was too good an opportunity to miss and would give me

Stefan Janski

an excellent insight into the opera world. I’m elated to be offered the part. I love performing on stage and it’s such a great accolade to be able to perform in an RNCM opera.’

Sarah Gait Wins Young Composer Award Junior RNCM celebrated success this year when 18-year-old Sarah Gait won the BBC Proms Inspire Young Composers’ Competition for her composition, Portrait of a Moor. The BBC Proms Inspire scheme is for budding composers aged 12 to 18 who want to write their own music. It provides them with a friendly environment to share ideas, participate in workshops, meet other young composers and develop their creativity. The Young Composers’ Competition offers winners an unrivalled opportunity to have their music played by professional musicians at the BBC Proms and broadcast on BBC Radio 3. Each composer also receives a BBC commission. On winning the award, Sarah said: ‘I was absolutely thrilled to win! This is a fantastic opportunity, and I feel extremely privileged to have the chance to work with top-class musicians and composers. I’ve put in a lot of work on this piece, so I’m very excited to have it performed at the BBC Proms. I’m also extremely grateful to the RNCM for providing me with the incentive to write it, as it was written

for the Manchester Camerata workshop at the College in January. This was a very useful chance to discuss my piece with musicians and refine it for the BBC competition, and I’m really happy it’s had such an amazing outcome!’

Sarah Gait

The RNCM is pleased to announce that world-renowned violist Garth Knox, has been appointed International Tutor in Viola, commencing in September 2013. Garth, who presented a specialist class and masterclass at the RNCM in November 2011, specialises in new music and contemporary classical music. He performs with the Arditti Quartet and Ensemble Intercontemporain, and collaborates regularly with many of today’s leading composers. Speaking of his new appointment, Garth said: ‘I’m looking forward to setting up a Creative Viola Studio which will prepare some very high level students for the changeable and challenging musical landscape waiting for them when they leave institutions and face the real world.

‘Safe jobs in orchestras do still exist, but are becoming harder and harder to find, so young players need to have an open and creative outlook when thinking about their future. Small ensembles, whether for baroque, classical or contemporary music are now real possibilities for which they have to be trained. They need to be able to play in any style and be very quick learners, readers and improvisers. They also need to learn how to create their own possibilities for musical activities. ‘My idea is also that the class should create repertoire, learning techniques and musical resources which can be shared with other

John Fisher

classes, other instruments and even other disciplines.’ Professor Malcolm Layfield, Head of the School of Strings at the RNCM, added: ‘I am delighted that Garth Knox will be joining our viola faculty from September 2013. Garth is one of the most distinguished viola players in Europe and his creative approach to teaching will be of enormous benefit to our students across all schools of study. His role will be extremely influential in developing new teaching methods for string players at the RNCM and enhancing their career prospects in all areas of the music profession.’

Carole Nash Awarded OBE in Queen’s Birthday Honours The RNCM offers congratulations to Carole Nash, who was awarded an OBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List for charitable services in the North West of England. In 2010, the spectacular transformation of the former Lord Rhodes Room was generously supported by Carole and, in recognition, was renamed the Carole Nash Recital Room. Carole has also supported our Gala Dinners for the past two years, which have raised money towards supporting students with their fees and living expenses.

On hearing the news, Carole said: ‘When I received the letter marked ‘On Her Majesty’s Service’ I thought it was a jury summons or parking ticket, so I put it to one side for a couple of days. I couldn’t believe it when I opened it. I’m obviously delighted and extremely proud to have been honoured for something I’ve always loved doing – giving back to the community.’ Carole founded Carole Nash Insurance in 1985 as a vintage and classic motorcycle insurance specialist. She sold the business in 2007 and has

since concentrated on her philanthropic work, in particular to help keep Manchester’s place in music and the arts.

Carole Nash


International Violist Joins RNCM

John Fisher Joins RNCM

Scottish opera director, vocal coach 11 and record producer, John Fisher, will join the RNCM in 2013 as an International Tutor. John, who was educated at Glasgow University, the Royal Academy of Music and the London Opera Centre, has worked as, amongst others, General Director of Welsh National Opera, Head of Music Staff at La Scala, Milan and at La Fenice, Venice, as the first non-Italian to be appointed Artistic Director in any of the statefunded Italian opera houses. Lynne Dawson, Head of School of Vocal Studies, said of the appointment: ‘We are absolutely delighted that someone of John’s huge experience and energy has agreed to work with our students. John is an enormously talented musician and we look forward very much to having him here at the RNCM.’

Lynne Dawson performs in Paris

Lynne Dawson, Head of School of Vocal Studies, recently gave a song recital featuring the music of Delius, Richard Strauss and Debussy at the Opéra Bastille, Paris, with conductor Simon Wright, an alumnus of the Royal Manchester College of Music. While in the French capital, the soprano also gave a concert at the Salle Gaveau in celebration of the career of countertenor James Bowman.


Chart Success for The Apostles

Nine RNCM vocal students had reason to celebrate recently when a recording they were involved in reached No 4 in the official classical music charts.

Zelkova Is Chamber Ensemble of the Year The Zelkova String Quartet has been awarded the 2012 Christopher Rowland RNCM Chamber Ensemble of the Year Award.

Sean Boyes, Timothy Langston, 12 Thomas Morss, Adam Player, Stefan Berkieta, Matthew Kellett, Graham McCusker, Daniel Shelvey and Thomas Cameron recorded Elgar’s The Apostles alongside Sir Mark Elder and the Hallé at The Bridgewater Hall earlier in the year. Speaking of the experience, postgraduate bass-baritone Stefan, said: ‘It was a remarkable opportunity to share the concert platform with the Hallé, Sir Mark Elder and the other wonderful soloists on such an exciting and large-scale project. As this was a rewarding experience in itself, we are over the moon that the recording has been such a success.’

Prize. They now have the opportunity to perform at the 2013 RNCM Chamber Music Festival and at St John’s, Smith Square, London.

Zelkova String Quartet

Zelkova, comprising violinists Caroline Pether and Simran Sing, violist Rhiannon James and cellist Rachel Shakespeare, performed the second movement, Adagio affettuoso ed appassionato, of Beethoven’s String Quartet Op 18 No 1 in F major to secure both the main award and the Audience

Speaking on behalf of the Quartet, which also won the 2012 RNCM Hirsch Prize for Beethoven chamber music, Caroline said: ‘We were delighted to win the award as we have worked very hard over the last couple of years and it was especially fitting that we won playing Beethoven’s Op 18 No 1, as this is the piece we worked most intensively on. We were also very pleased to receive the Audience Prize as we understand the importance of winning over the audience and communicating the music successfully.’ The competition, which featured seven RNCM chamber ensembles, all previous prize-winners at the College, took place at the RNCM Concert Hall and was adjudicated by Lynne Dawson, Head of Vocal Studies, and violinist Richard Ireland.

Betteridge goes There and Back Again Michael at work

In September, New Space Productions and RNCM composer Michael Betteridge presented There and Back Again, a new site-specific musical commissioned as part of the Contact Theatre’s Lost and Found festival. The actor-musician production, which featured RNCM alumni Jonathan Ainscough (bassbaritone, 2011) and Kate Blackstone (clarinet, 2011), took place on a Manchester tram as the story explored the lives of a couple travelling from Manchester Piccadilly to MediaCity and back again.

Michael Betteridge

Michael, who is currently studying for an MMus in composition supported by the Radcliffe Trust, established New Space Productions in 2011 alongside director, producer and youth art worker Eleanor Craddock to showcase young talent. The company’s début piece, Indigestion, premièred at the RNCM Studio Theatre earlier in the year.

Michael said: ‘It’s been absolutely amazing after the success of our last site-specific musical to be recognised as an up-and-coming theatre company in Manchester. New Space Productions is taking musical theatre away from theatrical spaces, which are increasingly commercial and expensive for the audience, and into the lives of everyday people in everyday situations. Hopefully There and Back Again challenged unsuspecting audiences in terms of what they consider to be ‘musical theatre’, but engaged them with contemporary issues faced by residents in both Manchester and Salford, which was a key theme throughout the performance.’

Hans Werner Henze 1926 – 2012

Graham Jackson 1967 − 2012


It is with great sadness that we record of the death of Hans Werner Henze on Saturday 27 October at the age of 86. Clark Rundell, Head of Conducting, recalled: ‘It was quite some event, with a production of his opera Pollicino, a concert by the BBC Philharmonic, the New Ensemble performing his huge Requiem on Remembrance Day and a series of talks with the RNCM’s Professor Douglas Jarman. I shall never forget it.’


Hans Werner Henze

Born on 1 July 1926 in Guterslöh, Germany, Henze was one of the most influential composers of the post-1945 era, composing over 20 operas, 10 symphonies and in excess of 12 ballets. He was also deeply committed to political art, which informed much of his work. The RNCM’s links with Henze began in 1992 when a College orchestra performed at the Cantiere Internazionale D’Arte di Montepulciano, the festival he had created in 1976. Since

then, the RNCM has been resident orchestra on 12 other occasions, performing concerts, opera and ballet as well as chamber recitals. When Henze visited Montepulciano in 1996 he was so impressed by the RNCM students that he accepted the invitation of Professor Edward Gregson, former RNCM Principal, to direct a festival of his music in 1998, at the first of the College’s now regular composer festivals.

Clark added: ‘Pictures of Henze make him look rather severe, but he was the most giving, kind person one could imagine. His humanity was extraordinary, especially when talking about the militaristic references in the Requiem. His experiences as a pacifist in the German army of the Second World War informed so very much of his future passions and politics.’ Hans Werner Henze was buried on 5 November in Marino, near Rome, where he had made his home for the last 50 years.

Sir Bernard Lovell 1914 – 2012 We were deeply saddened to hear the news that leading scientist Sir Bernard Lovell, founder of the Jodrell Bank Observatory, died on 6 August at the age of 98. An accomplished organist, Sir Bernard was a much-admired Honorary Member and Friend of the RNCM and was present for the first concert given on the College’s Concert Hall organ in 1973.

Talking in 2011, he recalled the occasion with admiration, saying: ‘I was a church organist for 40 years and if I remember rightly, I was at the RNCM for the first performance of its organ in 1973. I was sitting by an accomplished organist at the time who turned to me and said ‘this is alright for Jesus music.’ It was an impressive sound.’

Sir Bernard Lovell

Graham Jackson

We were deeply saddened to hear the news that the esteemed British conductor Graham Jackson died in August at the age of 45. Graham studied conducting at the RNCM with Timothy Reynish before joining staff at the Welsh National Opera in 1992. Throughout the 90s, he also worked with many other British opera companies, including Glyndebourne and Opera Northern Ireland, and in 2000 was appointed Principal conductor at Bremen Opera. For the past decade, Graham spent a lot of time at the Theatres Krefeld und Mönchengladbach opera company where, in 2006, he conducted the première of Stefan Heucke’s The Women’s Orchestra of Auschwitz, the first Holocaust opera to be seen in Germany. He is survived by his wife, Adrienne Kelly, a flautist, and their four children.


Celebrating a Century: A Tribute to Dame Kathleen On October 1 2012, Dame Kathleen Ollerenshaw celebrated her 100th birthday. Born in Withington, Manchester, the acclaimed mathematician and politician was Chairman of the Joint Committee and Court at the RNCM from 1972 to 1986 and remains, to this day, the College’s greatest advocate and supporter. In fact, as Michael Kennedy recalled, there are some who would say the RNCM would not exist without her, recognising her as the driving force behind its creation: ‘I first met Kathleen Ollerenshaw when she was Chairman of the Joint Committee formed to smooth the way to the merger of the Royal Manchester College of Music and the Northern School of Music into the not yet royal Northern College of Music. Smooth, did I say? Never was a word so misused. What ought to have taken a few meetings stretched out over 15 years. I learned from Kathleen’s chairmanship how to deal with plotting, obduracy, sudden forgetfulness and the best use of red herrings. Without her we might still be talking about a new college instead of celebrating its 40th year.’ Dame Kathleen’s steely determination can be traced back to 1921 when, at the age of eight, she was diagnosed almost completely deaf. Twelve years later, despite this profound disability, she graduated from Somerville College, Oxford, on the path to becoming one of Britain’s leading mathematicians, lecturing at the University of Manchester after the Second World War and writing in excess of 25 papers on the subject. Perhaps less prominent to the public, but equally important, is the role music, and in particular the RNCM, continues to play in Dame Kathleen’s life. Let’s not forget, this is the woman who prevented the College building site from being disrupted by travellers just hours before work was set to commence.

As Michael recalled in his book, Music Enriches All – The Royal Northern College of Music: the First Twenty-One Years: ‘The bulldozers were due to move on to the site on a Monday morning. The Chairman of the Joint Committee, Dame Kathleen Ollerenshaw, drove there in her white Rover from her home in Didsbury several times during the day on the Sunday. Convinced that there was a real risk of occupation, she drove round and round the site through the night. At 8.30am the work began.’ Forty years on, Dame Kathleen’s support of the RNCM remains strong, and to date, numerous students have received benefits of the Dame Kathleen Ollerenshaw Bursary, established 10 years ago in lieu of gifts from friends and family for her 90th birthday. These including Welsh tenor John Pierce (2009), who represented Wales in the 2011 BBC Cardiff Singer of the World competition, pianist Alex Winkcup, who graduated in 2010 with an MMus in Solo Performance, postgraduate mezzo-soprano Hanna-Liisa Kirchin and Russian pianist Elena Nemtsova, a 2011 graduate of the RNCM’s prestigious International Artist Diploma course. Today, it is Spanish pianist Pilar Beltran who has been chosen to receive the Dame Kathleen Ollerenshaw Bursary. The 36-year-old is currently studying for an MMus in Solo Performance (specialising in piano accompaniment) with David Jones, after spending six years teaching at the Conservatorio Superior de Música ‘Manuel Massotti Little’ in Murcia, where she studied between the ages of 10 and 19.


‘I wanted to come to England to develop my playing as an accompanist and I knew that the course for this at the RNCM was very, very good,’ said Pilar, who also studied at Barcelona’s Conservatori Superior de Música del Liceu with Eulaua Sole. ‘Unfortunately, the decision was made last year to stop all government funding in Spain, which meant that if my audition was successful I would have to fund everything myself. I was worried about this, because the economic situation in Spain is really bad, but I knew that studying here would give me skills I could share in the future, so I was prepared to take the risk financially.’ Learning that she had been awarded the Dame Kathleen Ollerenshaw Bursary, therefore, meant a great deal to Pilar. ‘My own grandmother lived to 100 and was a wonderful and inspiring woman,’ she said. ‘It made me emotional to learn about Dame

Kathleen and I feel very privileged to have received this Bursary.’ Since those inaugural meetings in 1972, Dame Kathleen has continued to support the College and its students immensely, and for this the RNCM, past, present and undoubtedly future, owes her a great deal. As former RNCM Principal, Professor Edward Gregson, said: ‘Dame Kathleen is an iconic figure in the history of the RNCM. She was highly influential in the process of its birth, and has been a continuing source of inspiration and support to the College ever since. She is a remarkable woman, and it has been a privilege to have known her; and as we celebrate her very special birthday we shall be able to reflect on her enormous personal achievements as well as her important contribution to the life of Manchester and the College.’

If you would like to make a donation to the Dame Kathleen Ollerenshaw Bursary, which supports students in financial need each year, please send a cheque made payable to RNCM, c/o the Development Department, and with the name of the bursary on the back. This support will enable us to continue to award this Bursary into the future – a fitting tribute to a remarkable woman.


Collectives and Curiosities FEATURES

Collectives and Curiosities was set up in 2011 by PhD students Jacob Thompson-Bell and Emma-Ruth Richards, and MMus student Michael Betteridge; a group of three composers looking to step out of the concert hall and into new and interesting spaces in collaboration with other artists. Whereas traditional classical concerts tend to be set up like musical museums of fixed works, their aim is to use performance spaces to their full potential by designing responsive works for specific places and people.


Jacob said: ‘Our work embraces a broad range of disciplines including visual art, sound art, choreography and film, as well as our shared passion for the contemporary classical musical tradition. Projects have even included collaborations with practitioners outside the collective, seeking input and advice from visual artists, poets and audio specialists. We like to think our shared work draws for us is both an on our individual strengths as without resorting to a practical framework, artists stylistic blend.’

“Collaboration aesthetic and it provides a supportive environment for shared creativity…” Emma-Ruth Richards

Collectives and Curiosities can be seen as part of the LSO’s soundhub, at LSO St Luke’s in June 2013. To find out more visit collectivesandcuriosities. or follow @CC_arts on Twitter.

Collectives and Curiosities is built around three central values: re-working and re-contextualising material between events, collaboration, and challenging performance conventions. As Emma-Ruth explained: ‘Documentation, performance and reflection all become part of the event in a creative way; photography, recorded audio and video get recycled and channelled back into the creative work that we do, not just as inspiration but as raw materials which can be sculpted like a musical or visual artwork. Collaboration for us is both an aesthetic and practical framework, it provides a supportive environment for shared creativity, joint ownership and enduring existence of a piece of work. Our shared interest in the perception of music within different spaces has led us to explore different performance contexts as a means of challenging preconceptions of what classical and ‘contemporary’ classical music is, and to offer work to range of audiences.’

The trio’s latest project || : figure refraction ground: || was an interactive audio-visual installation at BLANKSPACE Gallery in Manchester. Running for five days, the installation included artwork from Hayley Andrew, Joanne McClung and Debbie Sharp in response to musical compositions by the Collective. The launch night featured solo instrumental performances of three new graphic scores by Collectives and Curiosities; whilst collaborative pieces included a solo soprano performing in a charcoal filled room with poetry etched on the walls, a string quartet surrounded by moving water and sound responsive lights, and an interactive cymatic machine which transformed sonic vibrations into a visual display. Using 10 speakers and four free-standing microphones placed throughout the gallery they created an audio loop between the different rooms. Every sound made in the gallery was collected by the microphones in the space and played back through the speakers. The recorded sounds from each day were then broadcast on all following days, creating connections between the different times of the installation, treating the entire building as a single musical composition.

Michael Betteridge, Emma-Ruth Richards and Jacob Thompson-Bell

Beyond the Collective, Emma-Ruth is currently writing a new opera; Jacob is working on a commission from the RNCM Symphony Orchestra; and Michael’s most recent work, There and Back Again, is a musical theatre piece written specifically for performance on a Manchester tram (see page 12).

Tutor in Composition and RNCM alumnus, Professor Gary Carpenter, explains the thoughts behind his exciting (not to mention nerve-wracking) new collaboration, The Listening Project.

Jane Ginsborg elected ESCOM President

Inspired by the legendary American broadcaster Studs Terkel, The Listening Project is a collaboration between the BBC and the British Library whereby any two people who are close (brothers, lovers, friends, parent/child, etc.) talk about something they have always wanted to discuss but haven’t. Three minute segments are sprinkled around local and national radio schedules and a compilation transmits weekly on Radio 4 over three month periods. All conversations can be heard edited or in full online, and are permanently held in the British Library Sound Archive. Earlier in the year, series producer Tony Philips, together with the BBC Philharmonic Orchestra, commissioned a new 25-minute work from RNCM Tutor in Composition and alumnus Professor Gary Carpenter, to be performed live against a collage of conversations covering specifically birth, conflict, memory, death/resurrection and happy endings. The result is a parallel exploration of the dialogue between ‘ordinary’ recorded conversation and the orchestra: dialogues on two levels. ‘My principal objective in writing the score was to support, reflect and occasionally comment upon the conversations,’ explained Gary. ‘By retaining a degree of relative distance, I intended to illuminate Terkel’s ‘constant amazement’ at the extraordinariness of spontaneous conversation between ‘ordinary’ people in a way that privileges the speech but not at any real expense of the musical argument. The intonation and rhythm of isolated phrases have served to initiate musical motives although they only occasionally elide with the dialogue to which they relate: I was particularly minded to avoid the Steve Reich Different Trains exemplar, which would now be something of a cliché.’ He continued: ‘At the first production meeting, the producers were particularly keen to include the word ‘symphony’ in the title. I shied away from that for reasons to do with expectation, history,

Professor Gary Carpenter

connotation and so on, but having pretty well written the piece, I’m not so averse. So who knows what the title may now be?’ The live Radio 4 broadcast will take place between 7.15pm and 7.45pm on Friday 14 December; a popular slot with listeners that leaves little margin for error. ‘The broadcast falls between The Archers and Book of the Week in the slot usually occupied by Front Row,’ concluded Gary. ‘Because of this it is anticipated that the audience will be big; but interestingly, being Radio 4, there is very little room for error in respect of overall duration so the logistics of strict adherence to timings becomes more than usually significant. As a ‘live’ event, it’ll be nerve-wracking for all of us; but it is still one of the most exciting projects one could ever wish to be involved with.’


The Listening Project

Professor Jane Ginsborg, 17 Associate Dean of Research & Enterprise, and Programme Leader for Research Degrees, has been elected President of ESCOM, the European Society for the Cognitive Sciences of Music ( ESCOM is an international non-profit society, founded in 1991, which supports theoretical, experimental and applied research in the cognitive sciences of music. It encourages European and international research collaborations and disseminates knowledge of music perception, cognition and psychology in several ways. The Society’s journal, Musicae Scientiae, is published four times a year. Its new series, Classic European Music Science Monographs, makes seminal treatises (such as Stumpf’s The Origins of Music) available in translation for the first time to English readers. In addition to regular symposia, it holds major international conferences every three years; the next one will take place at the RNCM in August 2015. Jane first presented at an ESCOM conference in 1996 when she was a PhD student, and the first of her many publications resulted from that presentation. She is therefore honoured to have become the Society’s President and determined that the next generation of young researchers, especially those at the RNCM, will have every opportunity to develop their own exciting and productive careers.


Alumni News in Brief Team GB rhythmic gymnast and British Champion Francesca Jones performed her 2012 Olympic routine to Amor, a beautiful piece written by alumnus Craig Owen (violin, 2001) for his wedding in 2006.

RNCM alumnus Emmanuel Vass (piano, 2011) was recently chosen to perform in a BBC 18 Radio 3 masterclass, forming part of the station’s Poetry of the Piano season.

Alison Cox has become the first RNCM composer to be awarded an OBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours list.

RNCM Alumna Awarded in Queen’s Birthday Honours During her studies at the RNCM, Alison won a number of prizes and awards, including the 1978 Royal Philharmonic Society Prize for her orchestral piece Trilithon and a bursary from the Ralph Vaughan Williams Trust to study film music in Australia. Talking of her time at the College, she said: ‘I shall always be grateful to the RNCM, which was a brand-new college when I first arrived in 1974. At this time, I was supported strongly by the Principal, Sir John Manduell, and my composition tutor Dr Anthony Gilbert. Nowadays, I also enjoy working with Adam Gorb and David Horne, who have both given a great deal of encouragement and support to my Purcell School composers.’

Rebecca Goulden (soprano, 2005) performed Yum Yum in The Mikado at the 2012 Buxton Festival. Steven Daverson’s (composition, 2007) piece, Escher’s Pharmacy, received its German première in October. It was performed at the Morat Institute in Freiburg by Ensemble Reserche. Sipho Fubesi (tenor, 2011) has been awarded the Wessex Glyndebourne Association Award, established in 1997 to support the career of a promising member of the Glyndebourne Chorus. Clarinettist Mark Simpson (JRNCM 2006) is one of seven musicians chosen for BBC Radio 3’s New Generation Artists Scheme. Benjamin Wallfisch (composition, 2001) recently orchestrated and conducted the music for Anna Karenina, starring Joe Wright, Jude Law and Kiera Knightly. Over the last nine months he also composed the music for Conquest 1453, a battle epic about the fall on Constantinople, Summer in February, starring Emily Browning, Dominic Cooper and Dan Stevens, and Hours starring Paul Walker.

Alumnus Trevor Green was also recognised in the Honours list, being awarded the Order of Australia for his services to music.

Alison Cox

Alison, who joined the College in 1974, one year after it became the RNCM, is Head of Composition at the Purcell School, in addition to being founder and co-director of The Commonwealth Resounds (an organisation promoting music and musicians across the Commonwealth through collaborative events worldwide with particular focus on young people and the developing world) and Creative Director and Key Tutor of the Sound and Music Summer School for Young Composers. She was awarded the title in recognition of her services to the community in the UK and overseas. ‘I am absolutely delighted to have been awarded an OBE, and should like to sincerely thank all the wonderful musicians and composers who have worked so hard with me over the years,’ she said. ‘I strongly believe that their expertise and commitment has contributed in no small way to my good fortune, and they have inspired children and communities throughout the UK and in many Commonwealth countries too.’

Trevor, who lived in Burnley before settling in Australia, is Chief Executive and Deputy Chairman of Leeds International Piano Competition. He joined the RNCM when he was 20 studying piano on a scholarship awarded by Burnley Education Authority. His citation reads: ‘For his service to arts administration, particularly through the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, to Australia’s symphonic sector, and as a supporter of young artists and composers.’ The Order of Australia is the equivalent of the OBE and is the highest recognition for outstanding achievement and service in the Australian honours system.

Trevor Green

Alumna Kate Flowers made a welcome return to the RNCM in October when her company, Co-Opera Co., presented Humperdinck’s Hansel and Gretel and Mozart’s The Magic Flute at the RNCM Theatre. Kate, who joined the College as a soprano when it opened in 1972, established the company alongside production and lighting designer Paul Need four years ago with the intention of offering professional training and performance opportunities to aspiring artists.

Following the inaugural success, Co Opera Co. presented a further eight workshops that year, with young singers working on Britten’s Albert Herring and Puccini La Bohème, which they later presented to audiences at Portsmouth’s Theatre Royal.

‘I was working with Paul on an opera production a few years ago and we were both struck by how little stage experience young singers entering the profession had received,’ said Kate, who won the Curtis Gold Medal during her studies at the RNCM. ‘We knew the industry was changing and moving towards a real, true performance where you had to act as much as you had to sing. With this in mind, we both decided to do something about it, and in January 2009 we got together with some of the best singers and tutors in the business to present a new workshop for aspiring singers, offering them the chance to learn everything they needed to know about working on stage and in opera.’

Kate said: ‘From then on it just grew and grew. We are totally self-funded so what we worked on had to be accessible. For example, in the second year we toured with La Bohème and The Marriage of Figaro, and last year we did 25 performances across the UK of The Magic Flute and Carmen.’ This year, they continued the success of The Magic Flute in addition to presenting new productions of Hansel and Gretel and Don Giovanni, all of which featured several RNCM students and alumni. ‘We revived The Magic Flute because it really is a fantastic production by Christopher Mule and the response last year was great. The other two are brand new productions which we were really excited to present,’ concludes Kate. ‘In terms of workshops, we extended the summer season this year so singers benefitted from three solid weeks of training and performance, followed by an assessment week. They learnt from professionals such as Stefan Janski, Lynne Dawson and Mary Plazas, who gave their valuable time to help the next generation of opera stars; and that’s what it’s all about.’

Sophie’s a Leading lady Recent graduate Sophie Goldrick (2012) performed the lead in Focus Opera’s production of Bizet’s Carmen at Weston Underwood this summer. The mezzo-soprano, who sang the role of Arsamenes in the RNCM’s spring opera, Xerxes, also performed as Morena in Beyond the Screen, a new opera written by Benjamin Ellin and Keith Cheetham as a partner to Menotti’s The Telephone. Carmen also featured RNCM alumni Aimee Toshney (soprano, 2012) and Phillip Shakesby (baritone, 2005).

Sophie Goldrick as Carmen © Simon Ballard

Composer Chosen for LPO programme


Flowers Goes Back to Her Roots


Daniel Kidane

Composition alumnus Daniel Kidane has been selected as a young composer in the London Philharmonic Orchestra’s (LPO) Leverhulme Young Composers programme. The 25-year-old, who graduated this year with an MMus in Composition, is one of four promising but unpublished composers chosen for the 2012/13 scheme, which offers them the chance to develop, workshop and compose a new piece for a 30+ piece orchestra comprising LPO musicians and players from the orchestra’s Foyle Future First Development Programme. The compositions will then be premièred at the Queen Elizabeth Hall next summer. Daniel’s appointment means the RNCM’s association with the programme continues, as fellow alumni David Curington (2011), Laura Bowler (2008), Emily Wright (2012), Steven Daverson (2007), and fourth year composer Aaron Parker, have all been selected in previous years.


Première Paintings

Stephen Hough

20 In addition to being one of the most important and distinctive pianists of his generation, Stephen Hough, the RNCM’s International Chair in Piano Studies who graduated in 1981, is also a talented artist. In October, a selection of his paintings went on display at the Broadbent Gallery in London marking Stephen’s first UK exhibition.

Alexandra Dariescu

In July, Romanian pianist Alexandra Dariescu (2008) made her début at Carnegie Hall, New York. The opportunity came from world-renowned pianist András Schiff, who invited a select few to take part in lessons and masterclasses, resulting in a recital at the prestigious venue. Speaking of the week, which focussed on the music of Béla Bartók. Alexandra said: ‘Playing at Carnegie Hall is every musician’s dream. Well mine came true this year and I felt that it was the best week of my life. Not only the joy of seeing New York for the first time but, most importantly, being in the presence of the musician I’ve admired and looked up to my entire musical life: András Schiff.’

Keyboard Alumni to Mark 40 Years Nine of the School of Keyboard Studies’ most distinguished alumni return to the RNCM during its 40th year to present masterclasses, concerts and adjudicate prizes. Starting in October with a masterclass by Steven Osborne (1994), the school is set to enjoy visits from RNCM alumni Stephen Hough (1981), Vovka Ashkenazy (1983), Peter Donohoe (1976), Mark Anderson (1998), Ian Fountain (1993), Jin Ju (2002), and RMCM graduates Martin Roscoe and Christian Blackshaw right through until July next year. Graham Scott, Head of the School, said: ‘I am delighted that during the College’s 40th year we have a spectacular line-up of some of our most distinguished alumni returning to share with us their expertise, artistry and knowledge. Not only does this reinforce the RNCM’s role in nurturing some of the world’s most exciting musicians, it also inspires the next generation of our graduates through having such immediate and approachable role models.’

Jin Ju

Eisteddfod Success for Elgan The 2012 National Eisteddfod proved unforgettable for recent graduate Elgan Thomas. The 22-yearold tenor won three competitions and a prestigious award at the annual event, which took place in the Vale of Glamorgan in August. Elgan, who sang the title role in the RNCM’s 2011 autumn opera Albert Herring, took first place in three categories – Solo from a Musical (over 19), Operatic Solo (19-25) and Welsh Solo (19-25) – in addition to being presented the Blue Riband award for soloists under the age of 25. ‘I’ve been aiming for the Blue Riband award for a number of years because it’s so prestigious,’ said Elgan. ‘When they called my name out it was a great feeling but a shock at the same time. It seemed the perfect way to end my time at the RNCM.’

Elgin Thomas in the 2011 RNCM production of Albert Herring

The Eisteddfod Festival is the pinnacle of the Welsh cultural calendar, offering an eclectic mix of old and new, traditional and modern.

Soprano Zoë Milton-Brown (2010) and bass-baritone Richard Strivens (1994) presented the première of Stefan and Lotte in Paradise alongside baritone Jeremy Huw Williams and Psappha at the University of Salford in September.

Ronnie Scott’s Début for Jazz Trio

GoGo Penguin


RNCM Alumni Present Powerful Opera Première

GoGo Penguin made its 21 Ronnie Scott début this autumn, supporting New Orleans Grammy Award-winning trumpeter Terence Blanchard during this year’s London Jazz Festival. The Manchester-based jazz trio, comprising alumni Chris Illingworth (piano, 2007), Grant Russell (double bass, 2009) and Rob Turner (percussion, 2005), formed in 2009 and released their début CD, Fanfares, in November.

Richard Strivens (at the desk)

Roscoe at 60 Jeremy Huw Williams and Zoë Milton-Brown

Written by Salford academic and composer Alan Williams and Brazilian composer Marcos Lucas, and commissioned by the University with support from Arts Council England, Stefan and Lotte in Paradise is a dramatic and powerful hour-long chamber opera chronicling the life of Austrian Jewish writer Stefan Zweig and his wife, Lotte, who both committed suicide in 1942. Talking of the production, Zoë, who sang the role of Lotte, said: ‘It was a great privilege to be part of a production dealing with such a significant subject matter and to portray a character whose tragic journey has been so widely documented. ‘Lotte Zweig was a particularly poignant figure as it seems her participation in the Zweig’s double suicide was motivated entirely by her love for her husband rather than her own personal depression or despair. It was the ultimate sacrifice.’

Zoë Milton-Brown

Stefan Zweig was, at one time, the most translated author in the world. In 1934, after Hitler’s rise to power in Germany, he was forced to leave Austria and in 1940, after living in England and New York, moved to Brazil. The libretto for the opera was written by prizewinning playwright Philip Goulding and deals with the themes of persecution, migration and exile, while the music includes fragments of Zweig’s hand-written scores, housed at the British Library, and the sounds of Brazil. Zoë concluded: ‘I had previously performed compositions by both composers at The Bridgewater Hall and Royal Exchange Theatre and was intrigued by the idea of them working together on a project. The resulting score is a coherent and dynamic piece of writing which is, from a singer’s point of view, very sympathetic to the needs of the voice.’

To mark Martin Roscoe’s 60th birthday The Bridgewater Hall has made him an Associate Artist. Over a three month period which started in October, Martin, former Head of Keyboard Studies at the RNCM and RMCM alumnus, will perform three recitals and give several concerto performances with the Hallé and BBC Philharmonic.

Martin Roscoe


RNCM Friends Supported Students RNCM Friends subscriptions help the College with everything we do, including supporting students directly with bursaries and travel grants and improving facilities. This year, Friends subscriptions are supporting:


Alistair Vennart

Josh Poole

Violist Alistair is in his second year studying for an MMus with Dr Louise Lansdown after graduating from the University of Manchester with a First Class honours degree in music.

Josh has played the saxophone from an early age. Before beginning his university Studies he won numerous competitions with funk band Conscience. He was also winner of Reading Young Musician of the Year, and was given the opportunity to perform a concerto with the Reading Symphony Orchestra in 2009.

As a soloist, Alistair has presented several successful recitals at Hexham Abbey, and in 2011 took part in the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra’s Professional Experience Scheme. He is currently playing with the BBC Philharmonic on its Access Scheme. As a chamber musician, Alistair performs with Sinfonia Cymru, a professional chamber orchestra based in Cardiff, and is a member of both the Solem Quartet (winner of the 2012 Nossek Prize) and the Melia trio. Growing up in Northumbria, Alistair took a keen interest in folk music. In 2007 he was part of Gazinty, a band which was a semi-finalist at the BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards.

Josh has just completed his undergraduate degree in music at Oxford University. He has toured with the Oxford University Big Band to perform at the Vienna Jazz Festival, as well as playing for the opening of the World Expo Festival in Shanghai. Now studying for an MMus at the RNCM, Josh is hoping the course will prepare him for a career as a professional saxophonist in both the classical and jazz idioms.

Jake HolerNewsham Eighteen-year-old tenor Jake Horler-Newsham is currently in his second year studying at the Junior RNCM with Jeffrey Lawton. In April 2010 he gave his first public performance as the tenor soloist in Nelson Civic Choir’s production of Handel’s Messiah. He then progressed to join The Scholars Male Opera Quartet, performing at various locations and charity events throughout the North West. More recent achievements include competing at this year’s Llangollen International Musical Eisteddfod, and performing at the Cattedrale di Verona, Italy and St Mark’s Cathedral, Venice, all with Cantores choir. Jake was also lucky enough to be selected to perform the role of Fairfax in the Junior RNCM’s 2012 production of Yeomen of the Guard.

Emma Rushworth Emma has been a member of the Junior RNCM since the age of eight and currently studies violin with Leland Chen. She has been in various orchestras and ensembles including the National Children’s Orchestra, Capriccio, Vacation Chamber Orchestra and National Youth Strings Academy. Emma was Leader of the Hallé Harmony Youth Orchestra, and currently leads the Hallé Youth Orchestra and the JRNCM Symphony Orchestra. She recently presented a 40-minute lunchtime recital at The Bridgewater Hall. Emma’s most recent success was being placed Third in the Rotary Young Musician National Finals. She has played in many music competitions and won all three classes in the 2012 Alderley Edge Music Festival, achieving the highest overall string mark in her performances.

The RNCM’s 40th Anniversary is a time for reflection and an opportunity to celebrate all that has been achieved since the founding Colleges were brought together in 1973. Friends who have left legacies to the RNCM have played a significant role in that achievement and their generous gifts continue to benefit students in many different ways. As we look ahead to the next 40 years and the challenging and changing landscape for young musicians, we are particularly grateful to those Friends who have left their gifts to be used at the discretion of the College. Many Friends will remember the late Mr Fred Ahlsberg, who was a longstanding supporter of the College. We would also like to record our thanks for bequests from Mrs Winifred Jackson, Mr

Lawrence Harris, Mrs Gladys Emily Woolston, Mr Bernard George Quinn and Mr Alan Morris.

Join the RNCM Friends

The late Miss Riga Heesom studied piano at the Northern School of Music in the early 1950s and retained many warm memories of her time in Manchester, not least from when she was lucky enough to meet and speak to the legendary Kathleen Ferrier. Although she moved away from Manchester many years ago, we are delighted that she remembered the RNCM in her will and that her name is commemorated in the Riga Heesom Award.

Whether you are an occasional or regular visitor, you could be more than just a member of the audience by joining the RNCM Friends. Membership starts from as little as £2.50 a month and you will have access to special behind the scenes events and opportunities to attend opera dress rehearsals, as well as receiving ticket and dining discounts at the Box Office and in Brodsky restaurant. Membership also makes the ideal gift for music-loving friends or family, providing enjoyment throughout the year.

Our most recent bequest is from the late Edward Milner, who was a Senior Lecturer in Economics at Manchester Metropolitan University. Edward was a life-long opera lover who, after retirement to the Isle of Man, was able to

Edward Milner

continue enjoying productions involving RNCM students in Port Erin. It was after meeting RNCM Head of Opera Stefan Janski, who directs the Mananan Opera Festival, that he decided to leave legacies to both the RNCM and to the Erin Arts Centre. If you would like to discuss leaving a legacy to the RNCM, please contact the Christine Henstock in the Development Office on 0161 907 5392 or email

Upcoming Friends Events Tuesday 27 November 1.30pm How to design an opera set Join us backstage at the opera with Theatre Designer Lara Booth for a fascinating insight into the process of set and costume design. This exclusive opportunity to step on stage, get an up close look at the set and costumes and meet the set designer is not to be missed. Tickets £10

Thursday 6 December 7pm Opera Preview Claudio Monteverdi’s Il ritorno d’Ulisse in patria (The Return of Ulysses) See the opera first. Friends receive the exclusive opportunity to book tickets for twice-yearly opera preview performances. Tickets £12.50

Book now at the RNCM Box Office, call 0161 907 5555. For further details email or call 0161 907 5338.

Subscriptions provide the College with valuable support for everything from assisting students with bursaries and travel grants to reaching further with artistic and academic programmes and working with the community. There are opportunities to support through the RNCM Benefactors scheme and philanthropic gifts at these levels may support an individual student with a bursary or a specific area of academic or capital need. For more information please call us on 0161 907 5338, email or visit or


Making a Lasting Difference



RNCM News Winter 2012  
RNCM News Winter 2012  

The latest news from the Royal Northern College of Music