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A student at the RCM conducting against a purple background

Royal College of Music announces autumn season performance programme and welcomes public audiences again

Wednesday 25 August 2021

The Royal College of Music has launched the first half of its 2021 autumn events season, with more events to be announced.

Students at the UK’s top institution for the performing arts (QS World University Rankings, 2016 - 2021) are set to experience an autumn filled with music-making and opportunities to perform for the public once again. This will be the first time that audiences can experience music in the newly unveiled performance spaces at the RCM’s iconic South Kensington campus. RCM students will be joined by celebrated musicians from around the world for an exciting and wide-ranging programme.

Highlights of the autumn season include the return of a series of orchestral masterworks concerts, participation in the Great Exhibition Road Festival, and masterclasses. The first public performances in the newly redeveloped RCM Museum space will also take place, including a series of weekly chamber concerts. These intimate performances will give audiences an opportunity to experience beautiful music in this unique venue.

Under the direction of Prince Consort Professor of Conducting, Martyn Brabbins, the RCM Philharmonic perform some of Wagner’s most memorable and thrilling moments including excerpts from the Ring Cycle (7 October). As a contrast in the series, we bring a touch of Hollywood magic with the RCM Philharmonic performing works for film and screen, including Harry Potter and Game of Thrones (14 October). This season’s masterclass guests include violinist and RCM graduate Francesca Dego (21 September) and pianist Bernard d'Ascoli (8 October). We welcome back members of the Chamber Orchestra of Europe to lead RCM performers in a concert of Schumann Symphony No 3 (30 September), as well as giving a series of masterclasses. The RCM Jazz Orchestra dedicates an evening (13 October) to Mary-Lou Williams, often described as the first female jazz composer, performing her Zodiac Suite, a 12-piece celebration of the zodiac, dedicated to the musicians with whom Williams performed.

The autumn will also see the RCM take part in the Great Exhibition Road Festival, an annual celebration of science and the arts in South Kensington. The theme of this year’s festival is ‘One World’, displaying how the arts and science can inspire a greener future. RCM Chamber Ensembles will contribute to the festival with an evening of music reflective of the environment we live in including ‘The Wind in High Places’ by John Luther Adams, a composer who speaks frequently about the role of classical music in climate change. As well as hearing this stirring music, artists from the Royal College of Art will create illustrations and paintings live on stage.

In addition to welcoming audiences into the RCM, many performances will continue online, allowing audiences to experience the music made by RCM students wherever they are in the world.

Stephen Johns, Artistic Director of the Royal College of Music, comments: ‘We are delighted to welcome external audiences back to the RCM for our autumn season. Our programme is exciting and diverse and offers a wide range of possibilities and experiences. We hope to see you in-person, and we will continue to broadcast some events on our popular RCM YouTube channel, with its large international audience.’

As the RCM welcomes back live audiences, early events will operate at a reduced capacity to allow for extra space between seats and rows, ensuring that audiences feel as safe and comfortable as possible. Details of all the RCM’s autumn events, Covid-19 security and how to buy tickets are available from 25 August on the What’s On section of the RCM website.