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Nicholas Collon

Royal College of Music announces spring season of digital performance featuring Vasily Petrenko, Nicholas Collon and Tasmin Little

Friday 18 December 2020

Spring 2021 sees the Royal College of Music welcoming a host of world-renowned artists to work with talented students at the College's home in South Kensington. The eclectic range of events and diverse programming will be broadcast to a global online audience, presented as a combination of YouTube and Facebook Premieres and on-demand content.

This season, the RCM focuses on symphonic performances, with socially distanced orchestras led by visiting conductors. Our 15 March broadcast sees Vasily Petrenko conduct the RCM Symphony Orchestra in a performance of Schubert’s Symphony no 7, the original manuscript of which resides in the RCM Library. Two programmes are also planned to take place at the neighbouring Royal Albert Hall: Nicholas Collon leads a lively broadcast in late January that includes Bernstein’s On the Town, Gershwin’s Concerto in F and George Walker’s Tangents. In February, Jac van Steen conducts a neo-classical performance of Stravinsky’s Pulcinella and pieces by Richard Strauss, Germaine Tailleferre and Rameau.

The RCM’s Chamber Essentials series will pair well-known works with lesser-known pieces by composers from under-represented backgrounds, including Ethel Smyth and Joseph Bologne, Chevalier de Saint-Georges. International Women’s Day is marked on 8 March with a concert featuring music by some of the UK’s most exciting contemporary composers, performed by the RCM’s flagship new music ensemble, New Perspectives. The programme features chamber pieces by RCM alumni Hannah Kendall and Charlotte Bray, and Eleanor Alberga.

There are masterclasses this season from internationally celebrated musicians including Tasmin Little and Maxim Vengerov. RCM alumna Alina Ibragimova revisits her alma mater to lead the RCM String Orchestra in a programme of Barber, Pärt and Shostakovich broadcast on 17 February. Composer Debbie Wiseman, who was awarded a Fellowship at the RCM in 2020, delivers the College’s annual Crees Lecture. Entitled ‘Every Note Paints a Picture’, this event will see the world-renowned composer take online viewers on the journey of composing music to picture, through the language of film music from sketch to full score.

The RCM’s popular In Focus film series returns with two immersive films produced in-house by the RCM Studios, showcasing the talent and passion of the performers and offering insightful extra content. On 12 March, In Focus: The Carnival of the Animals features one of Saint-Saëns's most popular works, with its full 14 movements recorded in multiple locations around the College. Beloved opera star and RCM Artist in Residence, Sir Thomas Allen CBE, narrates The Soldier’s Tale by Stravinsky on 26 March.

The RCM Opera Studio presents a fully staged production of Mozart’s The Magic Flute this spring, in the 230th anniversary year of the composer’s death. Directed by Polly Graham alongside movement director Jenny Ogilvie and designer Rosie Elnile, this enchanting opera explores themes of love, family, power and religion, and was first performed just months before Mozart passed away. The production is made possible with the assistance of the Basil Coleman bequest.

Elsewhere, the RCM Keyboard Festival on 21 March will celebrate the ‘prelude and étude’ with music from Chopin, Couperin, Ligeti and Kapustin, and the ever-popular Bach Bites series continues with six concerts featuring the College’s bespoke Flentrop organ, The Kennedy-Mietke Harpsichord and other instruments. 
The RCM’s online broadcasts will be available to watch on the RCM YouTube channel and Facebook page, as a mixture of live premieres and on-demand content. Further details and full listings for the RCM’s spring season will be online in early January. Sign up to our newsletter and follow the RCM on Twitter @rcmlondon for all the latest news and updates.