After the RCM
Alumna Laura Peh is a multidisciplinary creative working across the fields of music, visual arts, literature, technology and business. She is an author, concert harpist, business strategist, art consultant and founder of a boutique publisher of illustrated books.
Upbeat speaks to her about how studying at the Royal College of Music helped prepare her for her entrepreneurial career.
What did you study while at the RCM, and what is your favourite memory from your time at College?
I studied harp with Daphne Boden in the Bachelor of Music programme. There were many memorable moments during my time at the College; a highlight was playing Ravel’s Daphnis et Chloé in the RCM Symphony Orchestra at the Royal Festival Hall in 2014.
How did studying at the RCM help prepare you for your work in business and in the art world?
I came to the RCM from a rigorous music training system in Paris. I loved the holistic education at the RCM – there were ample opportunities to perform, collaborate with other musicians, participate in outreach, as well as great support from the Strings Faculty and the Creative Careers Centre. My peers were already incredibly accomplished as soloists and doing amazing things with their lives so they were also a source of inspiration!
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As someone who works across many fields, how do you manage multiple roles and business ventures?
Time management, passion, determination and taking action. You need a genuine passion to love what you do day-to-day, exceptional time management for juggling multiple projects, determination to move forward when things are not going well, and taking action to make your dreams come to life.
What was the inspiration behind cinnamon art stories (a boutique publisher of illustrated books celebrating culture and creativity), which you founded in 2020?
Cinnamon art stories is my passion project. I wanted to be able to combine my background in the arts (music, art history, business) and inspiration from travels to make an impact on the next generation. I came up with the idea of illustrated books to educate young children through beautiful visuals, as well as supporting and showcasing the work of talented young illustrators.
We have since created and published titles on artists, music instruments, coffee and Singaporean culture. A forthcoming title is an introduction to blockchain, cryptocurrency and NFTs. We shape our brand’s voice by combining modern aesthetics with making niche topics accessible to young children. We hope to kindle a child’s imagination, spark their curiosity and encourage them to see the world in a different light.
How do you bring your love of music into your work?
Every time I look at a music score or listen to a piece, I feel a different sensation and new ideas flow to me. The textures and layering of music compositions, timbres of different instruments as well as visuals of opera, ballet and theatre productions also play a big role in shaping the creative direction of our books.
What advice would you give to current students or recent graduates looking to pursue an entrepreneurial career?
Keep an open mind and get involved in as many different projects and activities when you are a student. Make time for socialising with your peers and meeting people outside the music industry – the best ideas and collaborations often come around organically!