Performance opportunities

Woodwind students
Royal College of Music students have access to unmatched performance opportunities often in prestigious venues and with the most highly regarded guest artists. The RCM runs the largest performing programme of any UK conservatoire with more than 500 events every year, ranging from masterclasses and chamber concerts to orchestral concerts and operas.

We have several large ensembles as well as our main orchestras. Solo opportunities are numerous, with concert slots available every week, and students are actively encouraged to form chamber groups to help broaden their repertoire and develop their talent. RCM musicians benefit not just from the world-class facilities of the College but also from the chance to perform across London and further afield.

Bernard Haitink conducts Ravel Daphnis et Chloé

The RCM Symphony Orchestra and Chorus, conducted by Bernard Haitink, perform Ravel's evocative ballet score.

Perform to a global audience 

RCM students perform regularly as soloists and chamber musicians at major concert halls such as the Royal Albert Hall, St Martin-in-the-Fields, Cadogan and Wigmore Hall; at celebrated cultural venues such as the National Gallery, V&A Museum and Royal Academy of Arts; at churches such as St James’s Piccadilly and St Mary Abbots; and at community centres and music clubs. In addition, we live stream selected events to large online audiences through our website, Facebook page and YouTube channel.

Our ensembles often participate in festivals at major London venues. The RCM Symphony Orchestra has performed at the Royal Festival Hall several times, including as part of the Philharmonia Orchestra’s City of Light festival and Stravinsky: Myths & Rituals series.

The RCM enjoys partnerships with several overseas institutions, providing opportunities for students to work on projects abroad. Our close association with the Centre de musique baroque de Versailles (CMBV) has led to performances at festivals across France and with Sir Roger Norrington at the BBC Proms.

A special project with the Centre de musique baroque de Versailles in 2017, co-produced with the Académie l’Opéra national de Paris, saw the first staged UK production of Rameau’s Les fêtes d’Hébé, as well as performances at the Opéra Bastille in Paris.

Between them, our percussion ensemble PERC’M and the RCM Baroque Ensemble have toured the USA, Italy, Switzerland, France and Bolivia, as well as the UK. Exchange schemes also provide opportunities for RCM students to perform overseas. In the past this has included side-by-side performances with professional ensembles at locations as far away as Sydney.

A festival atmosphere

Our regular festivals combine concerts, workshops and masterclasses by RCM professors and world-class visiting artists with performance opportunities for RCM students. Many of our festivals are nationally and internationally renowned, attracting large audiences in person and online via RCMLive.

Our festivals include:

  • RCM International Double Bass Festival
  • RCM Festival of Percussion
  • RCM International Festival of Viols
  • Keyboard Festival
  • Super String Sunday

In addition we have a composer in residence of the highest renown at least once a year. We also dedicate series of concerts and workshops to music of particular places, times or themes.

RCM ensembles

The RCM runs a number of in-house ensembles including orchestras, choirs, jazz bands and faculty ensembles. All perform on a regular basis, giving students the chance to hone their skills in a wide variety of repertoire.

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Opera

The RCM International Opera School is recognised worldwide for its high performance standards. We present three fully-staged operatic productions a year. Our world-class production team is often joined by revered professionals, such as directors John Copley and Liam Steele. Every opera is normally double cast to maximise the number of students who can benefit from this vital experience.

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Concertos & competitions

The RCM runs several solo competitions and winners often receive showcase performances in our popular prizewinners concert series during the Autumn Term.

Our keenly contested concerto competition offers instrumentalists and singers the chance to perform alongside world-leading conductors in our prestigious orchestral concert series. Composers can also enter the competition, providing a valuable opportunity to have their works rehearsed and performed by high-calibre musicians.

Our faculties also run their own competitions for soloists and chamber ensembles.

Collaborations

We enjoy extremely productive relationships with a wide range of institutions across the UK and beyond.

For the very best orchestral students we offer formal sit-in schemes with a number of orchestras, including the London Symphony Orchestra, Philharmonia Orchestra, BBC Symphony Orchestra and English National Opera Orchestra. These mentorship programmes are extremely valuable, offering the chance to gain experience of the profession itself. Our fruitful relationship with English Touring Opera also offers RCM singers the opportunity to cover key roles in their operatic productions. 

RCM recorder player at Royal Academy art and music event

RCM recorder player performing at an art and music event at the Royal Academy

Collaborations with museums and galleries provide opportunities for our students to present their work in front of large, appreciative audiences and to consider their music making in relation to other art forms. Recent performances include events at the National Gallery and Royal Academy of Arts.

Collaborations between student composers and performers are firmly rooted in the curriculum and result in a range of public concerts. These collaborations give composers the chance to have their works brought to life by brilliant musicians, and give performers an insight into how music is conceived.

Our radical Great Exhibitionists series offers students the chance to devise their own ground-breaking events. With the full support and mentorship of the RCM, composers and performers are given the opportunity to present unique projects that redefine what classical music means today.

Specialist performance

As well as training in core repertoire, RCM students have the opportunity to be trained as world-class exponents in early music, new music and as outreach workshop leaders.

Early music

Our Historical Performance Faculty runs frequent projects for both modern and period instruments. The RCM Baroque Orchestra performs every term with additional performances at festivals in London and beyond. Singers have the opportunity to perform in Bach Cantatas with the orchestra every year.

Historical Performance musicians on tour in Italy

Follow violist Matyas Csiba as he goes on tour to Italy with members of the Royal College of Music Historical Performance Faculty.

New music

The RCM has long been a fertile creative space for new music. Holst, Vaughan Williams, Tippett, Britten and Mark-Anthony Turnage all started their careers here. Spontaneous collaborations between composers and performers spring up all the time, with student-led groups such as the explorensemble carving out an important niche in London’s rich new music scene.

The RCM was the first education institution in the UK to have its own electroacoustic studio. For more than 50 years we have been at the heart of technical innovation in musical performance. Our long-running concert series From the Soundhouse gives performers and composers the chance to present cutting-edge works that combine live performance and electronics. 

Composition & Collaboration at the RCM

RCM composer Ryan Cockerham creates installations to accompany a contemporary sculpture exhibition at the Royal British Society of Sculptors.

RCM Sparks

Our learning and participation programme, RCM Sparks, offers students invaluable experience of working with families and young people. We provide comprehensive training in workshop leadership, which also equips students with the tools to take on diverse roles in their future professional lives.

Workshop leadership with RCM Sparks

Percussionist Kizzy Brooks introduces the exciting work students can undertake with RCM Sparks