In addition to performing in their own groups, Royal College of Music students often perform together in our fantastic range of ensembles, which are highly regarded by audiences and critics alike.
Some ensemble projects are built around short, intense rehearsal periods that mirror professional conditions and offer valuable real-world experience. Others benefit from extended periods of expert sectional training, offering scope for reflection and deeper artistic development. RCM ensembles regularly work with some of the world's greatest conductors, choral directors, bandleaders and opera directors, many of whom have commented on the excellent musicianship, dedication and passion of our students.
You can watch performances by a range of RCM ensembles on our YouTube channel.
The RCM runs orchestras of different sizes, representing a variety of specialisms. Between them, the RCM Symphony Orchestra, RCM Philharmonic, RCM Opera Orchestra, RCM Classical Orchestra, RCM Baroque Orchestra, RCM String Orchestra and RCM Wind Orchestra give our students ample opportunity to explore a variety of repertoire and benefit from a range of orchestral experiences. We enjoy close relationships with a number of world-class conductors. Bernard Haitink, Vladimir Ashkenazy, Vladimir Jurowski, Sir Roger Norrington and John Wilson are just some of the names who return to the RCM time and again.
Our orchestras play a significant role in performing life at the RCM. In addition to regular events, such as our Orchestral Masterworks series, they provide several highlight concerts every year and orchestral performances are often streamed around the world via RCM Live. Outside the RCM, our orchestras are regularly invited to perform across London at prestigious venues such as the Royal Festival Hall.
Our choirs are trained by some of the UK’s best choral conductors, including David Hill and Neil Ferris. Every musician at the RCM has the opportunity to sing with the RCM Chorus in a public performance. The ensemble routinely performs large repertoire with the RCM Symphony Orchestra, often under the stewardship of world-famous orchestral conductors.
The RCM Chamber Choir performs regularly at the College as well as in venues around London and beyond. The ensemble represents a fantastic opportunity for singers in the vocal faculty to develop their choral skills to a very high level. In 2012 the RCM Chamber Choir was invited to perform at the grand finale of The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Thames Pageant, watched by a worldwide TV audience.
The RCM Big Band and RCM Swing Band enjoy regular slots in the College’s annual programme of events, often playing to sell-out crowds. Both ensembles receive invitations to perform at a range of high-profile venues across London and at the London Jazz Festival.
Our faculties run a number of smaller ensembles, which allow students to explore specific repertoire and benefit from specialist coaching.
The RCM Brass Ensemble and RCM Wind Ensemble both perform regularly at the College and beyond. The RCM Brass Ensemble also provides music at graduation ceremonies and other formal events.
Our percussion quartet PERC’M, which is coached by professional percussionists, features in our regular percussion concerts and often tours, both in the UK and abroad.
RCM New Perspectives, our flagship new music group directed by Timothy Lines, performs new and recent works by RCM composers and eminent names in contemporary music, including our composers in residence.
The RCM Opera Studio is recognised worldwide for its high performance standards. We present three fully staged operatic productions a year, along with opera scenes and special projects. Some of the world's most acclaimed directors, designers and choreographers join us for these productions, providing a professional experience within a supportive environment. Every opera is normally double cast to maximise the number of students who can benefit from this vital experience.
Find out more