‘Studying in the Brass Faculty at the RCM will equip you with the skills necessary to succeed professionally in the ever-changing musical world.’
The Royal College of Music’s Brass Faculty is an active and supportive community. Every student is provided with the means to recognise their full ability as a performing musician. You will receive a challenging and carefully structured bespoke programme of study and performance, with particular emphasis on identifying and unlocking your individual potential.
Brass at the Royal College of Music
Head of Brass, Nigel Black, joins horn players Adrianne Rooney and Sarah Johnson to talk about the opportunities RCM students enjoy.
One-to-one lessons are at the very heart of every RCM student’s learning experience. The RCM’s impressive list of professors includes renowned soloists and principal players in major London ensembles, including the London Symphony Orchestra, Philharmonia Orchestra, London Philharmonic Orchestra, London Sinfonietta and Orchestra of the Royal Opera House. Our world-class professors offer students not only first-rate teaching but also mentorship and networking opportunities.
In addition to their one-to-one lessons, our students enjoy regular performance and ensemble classes, chamber coaching, orchestral playing and masterclasses with distinguished international musicians, who have included Stefan Dohr, Berlin Philharmonic Principal Horn, and German trumpet virtuoso Matthias Höfs.
'I feel honoured to have studied under the guidance of world-class trombonists. I have thoroughly enjoyed studying in such a friendly and encouraging Brass Faculty.'
RCM students enjoy a wide variety of performance opportunities as part of the College’s diverse events calendar, which includes hundreds of events each year. It is also possible for RCM musicians to form their own chamber groups in which they can pursue an additional body of repertoire.
All brass students have the chance to play in our orchestras, which include the RCM Philharmonic, the RCM Symphony Orchestra and the RCM Opera Orchestra. Here, students often have the opportunity to work with some of the finest conductors in the world. Recent visitors have included Vladimir Ashkenazy, Sir Antonio Pappano, Holly Mathieson, Vladimir Jurowski, Sir Roger Norrington, Rafael Payare, John Wilson and Thomas Zehetmair.
RCM brass players have joined the BBC Symphony Orchestra for BBC Proms rehearsals, as part of the sit-in scheme for postgraduate students on the Masters programme. Each participating student is assigned a mentor from the BBC Symphony Orchestra and sits alongside them in rehearsals throughout the year.
Other sit-in opportunities include schemes with the Philharmonia Orchestra, Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, Chamber Orchestra of Europe and Orchestra of English National Opera.
Trombone section rehearsing in the Royal Festival Hall
Flugelhorn soloist at an RCM Big Band concert
Brass quintet perform in Switzerland
One-to-one lesson with Nigel Black
Jazz at the RCM
Jazz trumpet and jazz trombone are available as second or related study options to promising students. Brass players also have the opportunity to join the RCM Swing and Big Bands, who perform regularly at the RCM and further afield.
Recent visiting artists
The Brass Faculty regularly hosts masterclasses with high-profile visitors. Recent visitors have included:
- Laurence Davies
- Stefan Dohr
- Alberto Menéndez Escribano
- Sarah Willis
- Katy Woolley
- Philip Cobb
- Matthias Höfs
- Gustav Melander
- Gareth Small
- Brandt Attema
- Håkan Björkman
- Dudley Bright
- Øystein Baadsvik
- Patrick Harrild
- Oren Marshall
Graduates of the Brass Faculty currently hold the following positions:
- Principal Horn, Philharmonia Orchestra
- Principal Horn, Orchestra of the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden
- Principal Horn, English National Opera
- Principal Horn, Northern Sinfonia
- Principal Trumpet, Orchestra of the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden
- Principal Trumpet, City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra
- Co-Principal Trumpet, BBC Symphony Orchestra
- Principal Trombone, Orchestra of the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden
- Principal Trombone, BBC Concert Orchestra
- Principal Trombone, Opera North
- Tuba, Ulster Orchestra
The RCM’s Creative Careers Centre, which is recognised internationally for its innovative approach to supporting young musicians, provides an unparalleled service to current students and recent alumni. The dedicated team partners with leading consultants, reputable arts organisations and local communities, delivering unique career-building opportunities and a direct route to the music industry.
The work of the Creative Careers Centre allows students to discover their professional identity, gain hands-on experience and new skills, develop an entrepreneurial mind-set and build a fulfilling professional portfolio.
Extensive performance and teaching opportunities are available, as well as valuable guidance on CV and biography writing, concert programming, communication skills, project management, marketing and publicity, online promotion, financial matters and how to develop a business idea.
We continually invest in our facilities to ensure RCM students have the very best opportunities. Our impressive performance spaces are matched by top-quality academic and technical provisions, such as our historic library and professional grade studios. The Royal College of Music is proud to offer some of the finest facilities anywhere in the world.
The RCM has three major performance spaces. The Amaryllis Fleming Concert Hall which has an illustrious history and is the primary performance venue for RCM orchestras and large ensembles. Our 400-seat Britten Theatre boasts excellent technical facilities for the RCM’s thriving International Opera School. The Performance Hall offers an alternative space for ensemble performances and orchestral rehearsals. It boasts a retractable stage, a Fazioli grand piano, comprehensive technical infrastructure and variable acoustics, providing versatility for the range of events staged by the College.
In addition, more intimate spaces for solo and chamber performance include the Performance Studio and The Parry Rooms, which have unparalleled views of the Royal Albert Hall, and our 100-seat Recital Hall.
As well as practice rooms and space for one-to-one and group teaching, the RCM contains dedicated opera rehearsal spaces, a number of sound-proofed Amadeus Music Pods and organ rooms. We have over 160 pianos, including 60 grand pianos and 20 early keyboards, and a recently opened Blüthner Practice Suite which holds ten Blüthner pianos, instrument storage with special facilities for harps and double basses, plus in-house instrument workshops.
RCM Studios is a commercial-grade facility, equipped with professional audio, video and composition technologies, supporting the RCM’s recording needs and enabling live broadcast of performances around the world.
The RCM Library contains more than 400,000 scores, books and recordings in its lending collection, plus access to more than 400 music journals. The library also subscribes to many online resources including Oxford Music Online, Naxos Music Library, JSTOR, Met Online and the Berlin Philharmonic Digital Concert Hall. In addition, the RCM also boasts an internationally renowned collection of original manuscripts (including examples from Mozart and Elgar) early printed editions and archives. Our musicians also have access to thousands of scores online through our partnership with nkoda, and Henle digital sheet music.
The RCM Museum holds more than 15,000 instruments, portraits, images and engravings dating from the late 15th century to the present day, some of which are the earliest known examples of their kind. These items offer fascinating insight into the past, present and future of music and provide a coherent and comprehensive resource for the documentation, research and representation of the history of musical performance and instrument-making in London, particularly between the 18th and 20th centuries. Collection items regularly feature in academic and popular publications, television and radio programmes and as loans to major international exhibitions in Europe and beyond.
As part of a £3.6 million National Lottery Heritage Funded project, the Museum collection has been greatly enhanced and revitalised in a suite of purpose-built spaces that include accessible permanent display and temporary exhibition galleries, a ‘hands-on’ discovery area, a climate-controlled performance space and a dedicated research facility.
Latest from the Brass Faculty
Royal College of Music named top institution for performing arts in the UK for sixth consecutive year and top in Europe.
The popular RCM In Focus series returns this spring with new performances by RCM musicians, filmed especially for online audiences.
Five RCM musicians have been announced as LPO Foyle Future First members for 2020/21 and one RCMJD musician joins the LPO Junior Artist scheme this year.
The Royal College of Music has launched its autumn events season for 2020, including the first performances in its brand-new Performance Hall.
Sir Antonio Pappano, John Wilson and Holly Mathieson feature alongside RCM students in this month's online concert series, taking classic performances from our archives.
Please note that the audition and application process for Fellowships is not the same as it is for our courses. Please refer to the individual Fellowship pages for more details.
Contact the Brass Faculty
If you have any general queries about brass at the RCM please contact our Brass Faculty Administration team. If you have any queries about auditions or the admissions process, please contact our Admissions team.
Brass Faculty Administration
General enquiries about the operation of the faculty and consultation lessons
Admissions and general audition enquiries