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RCM String Quartet Fellowship

RCM String Quartet Fellows 2020 Echea Quartet
This one-year fellowship provides high-level artists with a creative environment in which to grow, explore and interact with others. The successful quartet will receive ensemble coaching and mentoring, a significant performance profile and access to an established global network of professional contacts.

The RCM String Quartet Fellowship enables holders to gain experience, confidence and connections that will help to establish a professional profile as well as developing musical understanding and artistic individuality. It grants a flourishing string quartet the space and time to delve into the extensive repertoire and to examine the ever-changing dynamic of playing and performing in a small chamber ensemble. Holders of this award are considered members of the wider team of fellows and will be expected to participate fully in RCM life.

The RCM String Quartet Fellowship has been created following generous support from the late Albert Frost.

Mendelssohn Octet

Two award-winning quartets from the Royal College of Music combine to perform Mendelssohn's dazzling Octet in E flat major op 20

All fellows are expected to develop musical and communication skills by undertaking further intensive study, working with students internally and doing all they can to raise the profile of the RCM externally. They play a full and active part in the musical life of the RCM as well as functioning as RCM ambassadors. They have full use of the RCM Library with its wealth of material and work in close contact with the Creative Careers Centre, the RCM’s centre for professional skills and publicity services.

2022-23 Applications

Applications for 2023-24 are now open. The application deadline is 3 February 2023.

Current RCM String Quartet Fellows

Echéa Quartet
(Aliayta Foon-Dancoes, Rosa Hartley, David Shaw, Eliza Millett)

Recipients of the Royal Philharmonic Society’s Albert and Eugenie Frost Chamber Music Prize (2019/20), the Echéa Quartet was formed in 2017 at the Royal Academy of Music, London. They are recent winners of the ‘Tremplin' at the Philharmonie de Paris's String Quartet Biennale (2020) and prizewinners of the International Anton Rubinstein Competition (2017). The quartet are currently Chamber Music Fellows at the Royal College of Music, artists for the Concordia and City Music Foundations (2019/20) and Yeomen of the Worshipful Company of Musicians. The quartet are mentored by John Myerscough, Simon Rowland-Jones and Mathieu Herzog. With many thanks to the Harrison-Frank and City Music Foundations, the Echéa Quartet are fortunate to play on a quartet of W.E. Hill & Sons instruments and bows (2019).

The quartet has appeared at international festivals such as Ferrandou Musique (France), Festival de los Siete Lagos (Argentina) and West Cork Chamber Music (Ireland). They have also attended a residency at the Banff Centre (2019). The quartet has performed in venues such as the Musikverein (Vienna), Wigmore Hall (London), Philharmonie de Paris and collaborated with Marin Alsop at the World Economic Forum (Switzerland). The quartet was featured on BBC Radio 3's 'In Tune', and more recently on CBC National Radio (Canada) as part of their six-week tour of the west coast of North America (2019). Due to the Covid19 pandemic, the quartet were unable to attend IMS Prussia Cove and Festival d'Aix-en-Provence. They will however be Fellows for the Advanced String Quartet Program at Aspen Summer Music Festival, 2021.

The Echéa Quartet's continued dedication to new music is central to their work. They have commissioned works by UK-based composers, including Louise Drewett, Freya Waley-Cohen and Robert Laidlow. More widely, the quartet have worked closely with Harrison Birtwistle and Andrew Norman, and will be working with Mark Anthony-Turnage (2021).


The RCM String Quartet Fellows receive ensemble coaching and mentoring with RCM professors.  They will also have a significant performance profile and opportunities alongside membership of the RCM’s global musical community.


Applicants should already have successfully completed formal studies at a level equivalent to a postgraduate diploma or degree or be completing these studies in the academic year in which the application is made. Applications will be considered from those with equivalent experience.

Applications are invited from existing string quartets that are:

  • Performing regularly as an ensemble and have evidence to support this
  • Developing a profile as an established quartet
  • Able to demonstrate potential and a commitment to the continuity and success of the group
  • Prepared to act as ambassadors for the Royal College of Music, not only in the standards it upholds, but also the philosophy and approach to music-making and the desire to reach a wider audience
  • Able to provide a portfolio of publicity material and/or commercially available recorded material
  • Motivated to develop the full potential of the ensemble through the opportunities provided by this fellowship

The RCM String Quartet Fellowship is not awarded with a bursary. Therefore, applicants are required to demonstrate that they are able to support themselves financially throughout the course of the year.

If you are not a UK resident, you must obtain permission to be in the UK from the UK Border Agency in order to hold a fellowship. RCM String Quartet Fellows are not eligible to hold or extend student visas. An option currently available for fellows who are not UK nationals is the Youth Mobility Scheme.

Find out more about the Youth Mobility Scheme

These conditions are set by the UK Government and can change. Please ensure you visit their website for the most up-to-date information.

How to apply

Applications for 2023-24 are now open for the RCM String Quartet Fellowship. The application deadline is 3 February 2023.

Applicants are required to submit a portfolio supported by a letter of application, which should indicate your suitability for the fellowship and your readiness to present yourself as an emerging professional.

Your application should contain:

Applicants from outside the UK should note that they are required to indicate on their application what evidence they can show to prove their right to be in the UK for the duration of the fellowship.

  • Letter of application addressed to the Director, including confirmation of permission to be in the UK and stating clearly that you wish to apply for the RCM String Quartet Fellowship
  • Information about the longevity of the quartet and how long the current members have been in the ensemble
  • Curriculum vitae and biography of c200 words
  • Proposal for a programme of personal study and activities you might initiate or be involved in
  • A budget outline
  • Any current publicity materials, including photographs
  • Any recorded material

Find out more about portfolio contents

Submitting your portfolio

You should submit your portfolio online through the RCM submission portal. The information you upload to the portal does not constitute your entire application, but does form an integral part of it. You should ensure you have provided everything that is required. Incomplete applications may not be considered.

How to submit your portfolio

When using the submission portal you will be asked to create a user name and password, and to provide an email address. You should select 'junior fellow' from the list of programmes and the appropriate principal study instrument. There are no restrictions to the file size or type.

If you experience any problems uploading your portfolio please contact Lizzie Sambrook.

Lizzie Sambrook

Assistant to the Artistic Director, Director of Programmes & Events Coordinator

020 7591 4370

If you are selected for the second stage, you should be prepared to discuss your application in further detail at interview. You are advised to keep a copy of whatever you submit.

Shortlisting and interviews

Shortlisted applicants will be invited to attend an audition and an interview with the Director, the Head of Strings and a member of the Strings Faculty. Interviews will be held in Spring 2023, but the dates are to be confirmed. Please check this page regularly for updates.

Should you be invited to interview, you will be required to bring original documentation (visa, passport or leave to remain in the UK) confirming that you have permission to be in the UK.

You will be required to:

  • Perform a short audition of two contrasting movements (or excerpts thereof)
  • Meet and talk with a panel
  • Discuss the contents of your portfolio and your achievements to date
  • Discuss experience and career plans and suggest ways in which you would like to contribute to the work of the RCM

Results will be conveyed as soon as possible after the interviews have taken place.

Auditions and interviews will be held at the Royal College of Music in London.

Getting to the Royal College of Music

Conditions for successful applicants

As Fellows you will be expected to:

  • Include reference to the award in your CV and in any biographical notes accompanying appearances
  • Produce a short written report on activities undertaken to date by the end of each term
  • Keep trustees and sponsors informed on a regular basis of opportunities to attend performances or events in which you are involved
  • As for all those associated with the College, to adhere to and uphold the College’s values and policies as detailed on our strategies and values pages


The RCM’s internal awards and competition funds are not available to RCM String Quartet Fellows. It is possible to take part in competitions as an accompanist or an ensemble member, but fellows may not receive any prize money, which is only awarded to registered students. This restriction includes concerto competitions as soloist. RCM awards and Access Funds are similarly unavailable.

Fellows are encouraged to support other students, particularly as accompanists, but may not perform as soloists in any of the regular chamber concerts. As part of the terms of the Fellowship, there are various special events, within the RCM and outside, in which Fellows are expected to take part, without additional payment.