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Updates Spring 2024

Alumni updates

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From recognition in the New Years Honours List to critically acclaimed performances and recordings, RCM alumni continue to make an impact worldwide.

Performances and premieres  

Composer Laurence Osborn was awarded the 2024 Royal Philharmonic Society Award for Chamber-Scale Composition for his work TOMB!

Pianist Alim Beisembayev will give the world premiere performance of the Piano Concerto composed for him by Eleanor Alberga in a concert with the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra on 25 April.

Conductor Andrew Gourlay’s new arrangement of Wagner’s Parsifal into the Parsifal Suite has been performed worldwide and was released by Orchid Classics last year.

Connor D’Netto’s Uncertain Planning was given its European premiere by the Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra conducted by Simone Young, and was performed in Canada by the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra conducted by Jessica Cottis.

Dr Gregory Hamilton’s music continues to be played throughout the USA and internationally, with recent premieres including a suite for solo recorder played by Jody Miller and a work for organ performed by Carson Cooman. Hamilton was selected to be a part of the Towards the Shining Light ‘50 by 50’ composer project, and gives regular recitals as a lutenist.

Dani Howard, Resident Artist with the National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain, was commissioned by the NYO to compose Ascent for brass and percussion, which received its world premiere at the Barbican Centre. The musicians performing the work included members of the RCM Junior Department.


Magdalenna Krstevska and Sophie Glenny celebrated the first anniversary of the Corelia Project, spotlighting exceptional women in classical music, with an International Women’s Day concert featuring fellow alumni Alkyona Quartet performing music by alumna Elizabeth Maconchy among others.

Nicholas McCarthy, left hand alone pianist, makes his Queen Elizabeth Hall debut on 23 March with the first ever left hand recital at the Southbank Centre, followed by performances of the Ravel Piano Concerto for left hand with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra on 12 June at Cadogan Hall and 13 June at City Hall, Hull.


Soprano Tamara Radjenovic was named on the Forbes Europe ‘30 under 30’ list 2023 for Art and Culture thanks to her hugely popular YouTube videos, including a recent film with the Belgrade Symphony Orchestra that has amassed 2.4 million views. A cultural ambassador for the Council of Europe, Tamara has been performing to sold-out venues including Kolarac Concert Hall, Belgrade and the Hofburg Palace in Vienna.

Fangwei Zhao recently made her German debut in the Berlin Philharmonie playing the Grieg Piano Concerto with the Berlin Symphony Orchestra under the baton of Ronen Nissan, and her debut recording of Beethoven’s Piano Concerto no 3 was awarded the best piano concerto album of the year by the Guangdong Musicians’ Association.

Awards, accolades and appointments

The 2024 New Year Honours List includes RCM alumni Margaret Fingerhut, who received an MBE for services to music and charitable fundraising, and Laurence Cummings, who received an OBE for services to music. 

Aoife Nic Athlaoich has been appointed Principal Cello of the Irish Chamber Orchestra.

Violinist Laure Chan and tenor Laurence Kilsby have been named among Classic FM’s Rising Stars 2024.

Lydia Dobson has been appointed Sub-Principal no 3 Cello of Opera North.

Composer Tiziano de Felice has received a number of accolades including First Prize in the Mario Perrucci Composition Competition; tied winner in the SIMM International Competition for New Music for Harpsichord; First Prize in the sacred music competition dedicated to organist and composer Roberto Santocchi; finalist with special mention from the jury in the 42nd international Valentino Bucchi Prize for Composition for a work dedicated to Berio; and winner of the 2023 Mauro Crocetta Composition Prize.


Following her Leverhulme Early Career Fellowship at Cardiff University, Dr Barbara Gentili has been awarded a three-year Surrey Future Fellowship at the University of Surrey, working on ‘The Performance of Gender, Identity and Class in the Age of Recording’.

Mezzo soprano Annabel Kennedy has been signed to the Opera Studio for the Deutsche Oper am Rhein in Düsseldorf. 

Conductor Peggy Wu has been selected to participate in the Royal Philharmonic Society’s Women Conductors programme in Gateshead 2024–25.

Composer Alisa Zaika won a silver medal at the seventh Manhattan International Music Competition.


Double bass player Antonio Romero Cienfuegos has released the new album Nós with NBB Records featuring 20th-century music for double bass.

Harpsichordist and RCM PushFar scheme mentor Bridget Cunningham has released a Signum Classics album of world-premiere recordings featuring the music of Irish Baroque composer Thomas Roseingrave.


Connor D’Netto has released the EP Small Round Strangely Furry With Spots Stripes and Other Patterns featuring a trio he composed at the Royal College of Music, performed and recorded by fellow alumni Maja Horvat, Jonathan Leeds and Joe Howson.

Composer for Screen alumnus Sam Joseph Delves, who has been working as a media composer for Universal and BMG, will release his first commercial EP of electronic/orchestral music in April.

The Laefer Quartet (Amy Green – soprano saxophone, Naomi Sullivan – alto saxophone, Samuel Mallia – tenor saxophone, Stephen Shepherd – baritone saxophone) has launched its debut album Strata, which includes music by alumna Charlotte Harding. 

Pianist Tähe-Lee Liiv has released her debut album Diagrams, becoming the first pianist to record all of Arvo Pärt’s solo piano works and piano duets on a single album.

The Sacconi Quartet (violinists Ben Hancox and Hannah Dawson, violist Robin Ashwell and cellist Cara Berridge) marked its 21st anniversary in 2023 with an album of music by Schubert and Beethoven on Orchid Classics.


Pianist Silu Wang has released her 21st classical album and her recording of ‘Canon in D’ has surpassed 13 million views on Bilibili, the largest video platform in China.

Luke Whitlock is producing an album due for release later in 2024 that includes his solo piano work Prayers and Reflections alongside premiere recordings of music by alumna Imogen Holst.


Tiziano de Felice has co-authored a book on Bach’s Brandenburg Concertos in collaboration with the music magazine Quinteparallele and published by Carocci Editore.

Paul Spicer has published a new biography of another alumnus Sir Arthur Bliss, which is receiving excellent reviews.

Alumni special offer

Don’t miss our special alumni offer for discounted tickets to see the RCM Symphony Orchestra performing Messiaen’s Turangalîla in the Royal Festival Hall on 1 May. Use the code RCMALUMNI when booking to receive 50% off.

Send your updates for the Summer 2024 printed edition of Upbeat to news@rcm.ac.uk by Friday 10 May.


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