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In Focus: Elizabeth Maconchy

Dates
16 November 2020, 7:00pm

Venue
Online

Tickets
Free

In Focus: Elizabeth Maconchy

Dates
16 November 2020, 7:00pm

Venue
Online

Tickets
Free

Elizaveta Saul violin
Birgit Born violin
Lia Rafaela de Marcos e Melo viola
Max Calver cello

Maconchy String Quartet no 5

Written in 1948, String Quartet no 5 is a classic example of the brooding power of Dame Maconchy’s oeuvre.

A composer during the sweeping and astonishing musical developments of the mid-20th century, Maconchy’s work is exemplary for retaining a strong sense of individual style, characterised by the economical form of her quartets for strings. The four movements of her fifth quartet offer a sparse and powerful showcase for two violins, viola and cello. 

Maconchy’s studies at the Royal College of Music were followed by competition wins and a ground-breaking performance of her piece The Land at the BBC Proms in 1930. As a female composer in the decade before the war, Maconchy successfully strode into the electrifying world of new British music, a male-dominated landscape of artists competing to write works that exemplified the shifting tides of a rapidly changing world. But it was her return to Ireland in 1939 that heralded the beginning of her richest creativity, and Maconchy would refer to herself as an Irish composer throughout her life.

Out of Maconchy’s cycle of 13 string quartets, number five is often considered her crowning achievement. This RCM film shines a light on the moving intensity of the work, leaving the audience in no doubt as to why Maconchy deserves to be remembered as a significant player in the history of Irish music.


In Focus is an RCM initiative to share unique areas of music-making at the College with our audiences. Designed to be watched online, our immersive films offer viewers the chance to experience the warmth, intimacy and richness of chamber music, wherever they are.

Filmed across our state-of-the-art venues, roving cameras offer audiences a unique perspective on our musicians’ technique and on-stage communication during the performance. There will also be the opportunity to hear more about the music direct from the performers and to discover the intriguing stories behind the programmes through the range of artefacts, instruments and paintings held in the RCM’s treasured collections.

How to watch

This event will be broadcast as a YouTube and Facebook Premiere. Join us online for live chat and to watch with audiences all over the world. If you can’t make it for the premiere event you can catch-up in your own time; the video will be available to watch on-demand afterwards.

Support the RCM

The RCM’s autumn season is free to watch online, but the College welcomes gifts of every size to its Scholarships Fund, through which talented young musicians can access world-class education, regardless of their financial means. More than 50% of RCM students currently receive financial support from the College, but with rising tuition fees and costs of living set against a backdrop of the COVID-19 pandemic, your support is more vital than ever.

Thank you.

Support our scholarships