'Every student who comes here is an individual artist with their own perspective on life. I seek to allow you the space to be yourself as well as to perform at the highest international level.'
The Strings Faculty at the Royal College of Music is a supportive community of talented individuals excited by the study and practice of music. From dedicated world-class professors to extensive performance opportunities in recital, chamber groups, large-scale ensembles and orchestras, the faculty will broaden your horizons and support you in reaching your full potential as an artist.
An introduction to the Strings Faculty
Mark Messenger, Head of Strings at the RCM, joins violist Bryony Gibson Cornish and Cellist Jamal Aliyev to introduce the excitement of life and work in the Strings Faculty.
We provide string players with an innovative programme of study combining instrumental training of the highest calibre with the skills needed to succeed as an artist. Students have regular opportunities to learn from internationally renowned visiting artists through public masterclasses and orchestral performances with some of the world’s finest conductors.
One-to-one lessons are at the very heart of every RCM student’s learning experience. Our world-class professors, who are successful soloists, chamber musicians and orchestral players in their own right, have a proven record of leading students to success in competitions and in the profession.
Additionally our visiting professors include some of today's greatest artists including Maxim Vengerov (Polonsky Visiting Professor of Violin), Pinchas Zuckerman, Nicola Benedetti, Alina Ibragimova, Torleif Thedéen, Paul Ellison, Maris Robles and John Williams.
Chamber music is a key part of your musical experience and RCM groups can receive unlimited chamber coaching from any professor. There are numerous performance opportunities (both internal and external), festivals, collaborations and competitions for RCM chamber ensembles. Students also benefit from the expertise of our Ensemble in Association, the Sacconi Quartet and our Quartet in Residence, the Harlem Quartet.
For students who want to develop skills in specialist areas, we offer additional tuition in jazz violin within the Strings Faculty, while lessons on period instruments are available through the Historical Performance Faculty.
We also offer an surgery run by our resident luthier, who provides maintenance and repairs, together with rehair facilities and practical advice.
'The RCM has helped me reach many of my goals by providing a lens on the different corners of the musical world.'
Guitar ensemble rehearsal
Double Bass Festival
Masterclass with Maxim Vengerov, Polonsky Visiting Professor of Violin
Performing at the Royal Academy of Art
Chamber coaching from visiting artist Thomas Zehetmair
One-to-one lesson with Head of Strings Mark Messenger
Chamber coaching from visiting artist Pinchas Zuckerman
Nicola Benedetti performing and working with RCM students
There are lots of opportunities for chamber groups to perform, both as part of the RCM’s chamber music concert series and at venues across London. Violinists, violists and cellists are able to work with professional accompanists to help develop their duo skills. In addition we provide specially tailored ensemble opportunities for double bass, harp and guitar students.
Our students are offered unparalleled orchestral experience. A vibrant orchestral life exists across multiple ensembles, including the RCM Philharmonic, RCM Symphony Orchestra and RCM Opera Orchestra, plus many other smaller groups. Visiting conductors have included Bernard Haitink, Vladimir Ashkenazy, John Wilson and Vladmir Jurowski. Recent student performances have included the Brahms Double Concerto, Bottesini’s Double Bass Concerto, Debussy’s Danse sacrée et danse profane, Dutilleux’s Sur la Même Accord, Elgar’s Cello Concerto, Korngold’s Violin Concerto, Prokofiev’s Violin Concerto no 2, Szymanowski’s Violin Concerto and On Open Ground by Mark-Anthony Turnage, the RCM Research Fellow for Composition.
Harpist in an orchestral rehearsal
A violin section enjoys a short break
Visiting conductor Vladimir Jurowski in rehearsal
Lower strings in an orchestral rehearsal
Visiting conductor Vladimir Ashkenazy in rehearsal
Double bass section rehearsing at the Royal Festival Hall
Visiting conductor John Wilson in rehearsal
Recent visiting artists
Our students enjoy regular masterclasses with high profile visitors including:
- Nicola Benedetti
- Paul Ellison
- Alina Ibragimova
- Marisa Robles
- Maxim Rysanov
- Jennifer Stumm
- Maxim Vengerov (Polonsky Visiting Professor of Violin)
- John Williams
- Pinchas Zukerman
- Torleif Thedéen
- Belcea Quartet
- Chilingirian Quartet
- Sacconi Quartet
- Hugh Bean
- Levon Chilingirian
- Andrew Haveron
- Daniel Hope
- Alina Ibragimova
- Sir Neville Marriner
- Peter Oundjian
- Sasha Rozhdestvensky
- Vasko Vassilev
- Tamsin Waley-Cohen
- Cecil Aronowitz
- Roger Chase
- Simon Rowland-Jones
- Christopher Wellington
- Natalie Clein
- Eileen Croxford
- Joan Dickson
- Amaryllis Fleming
- Julian Lloyd Webber
- Anna Shuttleworth
- Julian Bream
- John Williams
- Claire Jones
- Rachel Masters
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, and boasts a retractable stage, 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, 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.
The RCM Museum holds more than 15,000 instruments dating from the late 15th century to the present day, some of which are the earliest known examples of their kind. The collection is a unique resource and many of the instruments in the collection can be studied or played by RCM students.
The public museum is currently closed for refurbishment, but its vital resources are still available to our students.
Benedetti works with Johannes Marmen on Brahms' Sonata no 1 in G major op 78
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.
Latest from the Strings Faculty
Rafael Payare, Juraj Valčuha, Roderick Williams and the Harlem Quartet feature alongside RCM students in this month's online concert series, taking classic performances from our archives. We are also pleased to announce an online showcase of some of our doctoral research.
The RCM is the top conservatoire for music in the 2021 Complete University Guide Arts, Drama and Music table for the second consecutive year
The Royal College of Music is the first institution to partner with digital sheet music library nkoda, offering students access to hundreds of thousands of scores.
RCM Head of Strings, Mark Messenger, is running a marathon to raise money for the RCM Covid-19 Hardship Fund.
Join us online as our digital performance programme continues, including an orchestral masterclass with Maxim Vengerov and Dvořák Symphony no 8 conducted by Thomas Zehetmair
Contact the Strings Faculty
If you have any general queries about strings at the RCM please contact our Strings Faculty administration team. If you have any queries about auditions or the admissions process, please contact our Admissions team.
Strings Faculty administration
General enquiries about the operation of the faculty and consultation lessons
Admissions and general audition enquiries