Headshot of King Charles III at the Royal College of Music

Royal College of Music musicians take their place in history as part of Westminster Abbey service and Windsor Castle Coronation Concert

Thursday 4 May 2023

RCM performers and composers, students and alumni feature across the Coronation weekend.
Master of the Choristers of Westminster Abbey, RCM alumnus, Andrew Nethsingha will direct the five new commissions in the main service, including a specially commissioned ‘Agnus Dei’ by composer and Royal College of Music alumnus, Tarik O’Regan and anthem by Andrew Lloyd Webber. RCM Head of Brass Jason Evans will perform as a member of the Coronation Orchestra. 
A string quartet formed of RCM students will perform at Windsor Castle on Sunday 7 May.

The Royal College of Music (RCM) is honoured that RCM musicians, both current students and alumni, have been invited to participate in the Coronation of King Charles III. RCM musicians will feature as both performers and composers, making artistic contributions across the weekend both as part of the Westminster Abbey service and the celebratory concert at Windsor Castle. RCM students will present a unique, collaborative performance at Windsor Castle on Sunday 7 May which will broadcast to a global audience. They will join members of The Royal Ballet, The Royal Opera, the Royal Shakespeare Company and the Royal College of Art in a specially created one-off performance that combines music, dance, art and theatre in celebration of King Charles III’s Royal Patronages. 

RCM alumni are involved throughout the weekend with a new Coronation Anthem ‘Make A Joyful Noise’ by Andrew Lloyd Webber, a newly commissioned ‘Agnus Dei’ by composer Tarik O’Regan, and Organist and Master of the Choristers of Westminster Abbey Andrew Nethsingha who will direct the five new commissions in the main service.

The Coronation weekend also features a number of musicians associated with the Royal College of Music. The Coronation service on 6 May includes a two-part composition ‘Alleluia (O Clap your Hands)’ and ‘Alleluia (O Sing Praises)’ by RCM Visiting Professor and Fellow Debbie Wiseman. Sir Antonio Pappano and Sir John Eliot Gardiner who both have an Honorary Doctorate from the Royal College of Music, will be conducting the Coronation Orchestra and Monteverdi choir respectively, with RCM Head of Brass Jason Evans performing as a member of the Coronation Orchestra and many other RCM teaching staff also performing. 

Stephen Johns, Artistic Director of the Royal College of Music, commented: ‘We are honoured and delighted that performers from the Royal College of Music have been chosen to represent Royal patronages in the celebration Coronation Concert at Windsor Castle. King Charles III has been President of the RCM for 30 years, and his obvious and deep love of music has been a great support and inspiration for generations of students.  It is a particular pleasure that one of our musicians will be playing on an instrument from our collection itself owned and played by His Majesty.’

Performing in the Royal College of Music string quartet are Katherine Yoon (first violin), Betania Johnny (second violin), Declan Wicks (viola) and Marion Portelance (cello) who will be playing on a cello that once belonged to King Charles III and is now in the collection of the Royal College of Music. They will perform a new arrangement of an iconic song from West Side Story with the Chorus of The Royal Opera and a visual backdrop on to Windsor Castle created by the Royal College of Art. The performance will include choreography from The Royal Ballet’s principal dancers, Francesca Hayward and Marcelino Sambé, and the Royal Shakespeare Company will perform excerpts from a Shakespeare play featuring actors Ncuti Gatwa and Mei Mac.

The Coronation Concert brings together global music icons and contemporary stars in celebration of the historic occasion with the line-up including bass-baritone Sir Bryn Terfel who has an Honorary Doctorate from the Royal College of Music and tenor Andrea Bocelli who supports the RCM through the Andrea Bocelli Foundation-Community Jameel Scholarship. The concert will broadcast live on BBC One and BBC Radio 2.

King Charles III has a longstanding relationship with the Royal College of Music. He became President of the RCM in 1993, taking over from Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother, and has visited the RCM on many occasions meeting students and staff, conferring honours to musicians, and in 2021 he officially opened the RCM’s new facilities created by the More Music redevelopment.   

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