Soprano Louise Alder, stood against a wall. Credit: Gerard Collett.

Updates Autumn 2021

Alumni updates

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Congratulations to all our RCM alumni who have engaged in many exceptional projects in the UK and around the world.

BBC Proms appearances

Former Benjamin Britten Piano Fellow Pavel Kolesnikov performed Bach’s Goldberg Variations at the Royal Albert Hall as part of the BBC Proms in September.

Soprano Louise Alder (pictured above) was a soloist in Bach’s St Matthew Passion. Watch the stunning performance again on BBC iPlayer.

Composer Charlotte Bray’s Where Icebergs Dance Away received its UK premiere as part of the BBC Proms, conducted by Sakari Oramo. 

Competition successes

The Honens International Piano Competition, Canada announced the quarter-finalists for its tenth competition, taking place in October 2022 (postponed from this year). The RCM will be represented by alumni Daniel Evans, George Harliono, Danilo Mascetti, and current Artist Diploma student and Robert Turnbull Piano Foundation Scholar Philipp Scheucher.

Nicolò Umberton Foron (pictured below centre) recently won the 11th International Conducting Competition Jeunesses Musicales Bucharest. He will now be offered conducting opportunities with the Romanian Youth Orchestra, the Moldova Philharmonic, the Transylvania State Philharmonic, the Sofia Philharmonic and the Pannon Philharmonic Orchestra.

Nicolò has also been appointed new assistant conductor of Ensemble intercontemporain in Paris.

Posted by Jeunesses Musicales International Conducting Competition on Friday, 27 August 2021


Victor Maslov (RCM ArtDip graduate of 2021) was awarded Second Prize of €50,000 at the Classic Piano Competition as part of the 14 Ways to Dubai International Piano Competition in September.

RCM alumni and students have achieved success in the 69th Royal Over-Seas League (ROSL) Music Competition. Alumna Milly Forrest took home the Singers Prize, accompanied by Junior Fellow Hamish Brown.

Saxophonist Robert Finegan has been awarded an Irish Arts Council Music Bursary of €20,000. The money provides artists with the time and resources to research, reflect and critically engage with their art. 

Royal Philharmonic Society Awards 2021

Congratulations to composer Dani Howard, whose Trombone Concerto was awarded a Royal Philharmonic Society Award in the large-scale composition category. The work was commissioned by LSO Principal Trombone, Peter Moore, and will receive its London and Irish premieres this season by the LSO and Ulster Orchestra. This autumn is proving a very exciting time for Dani, with CBSO Youth Orchestra giving the world premiere of her new orchestral work Argentum in October. 

Andrew Chen
has been announced as an RPS Composer 2021, receiving a commission for Cheltenham Music Festival.

Bassoonist Ashby Mayes, who graduated this summer, made his Wigmore Hall solo debut on 1 November performing with Kumi Matsuo (RCM accompanist) at the Royal Philharmonic Society Awards 2021. The RPS is currently supporting Ashby as a Julius Isserlis Scholar for his Masters degree in Germany, and previously supported him with an instrument purchase grant.


Cellist Tamaki Sugimoto has recently been offered a position at the English National Opera on its brand-new Ethnically Diverse Orchestra Fellowship. The aim of the fellowship is to diversify the operatic scene in London, and it is a salaried position for one year. 

Vocal alumni Glen Cunningham and Catriona Hewitson have been announced as Scottish Opera Emerging Artists this season.

Ensemble Molière (whose members include alumna Catriona McDermid) has been appointed the first BBC New Generation Baroque Ensemble, supported by the RCM, BBC Radio 3 and the National Centre for Early Music.

Matt Glendening
, who graduated from the BMus course in July 2020, has been appointed Principal Clarinet with the Orchestra of the Royal Opera House. 

Petr Sedlák has been appointed Co-Principal Bassoon, on a one-year contract, of the Munich Symphony Orchestra. Petr has just graduated from the Masters Course, having also been an undergraduate at the RCM.

Premiere performance

RCM Junior Department graduate Xia Leon Sloane discusses the premiere performance of their composition In pearls of aether, which was premiered at Cheltenham Music Festival in the summer.

New releases

Baroque violin alumnus Conor Gricmanis has recently recorded his first solo album of Uccellini Sonatas, some of which are world premiere recordings. He plays the 1572 Andrea Amati Violin on the album – one of the oldest surviving violins in the world – recently loaned to him by Benjamin Hebbert.

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A post shared by Conor Gricmanis (@conorgricmanis)

Author and biographer Diana McVeagh published her fourth book, Gerald Finzi’s Letters, in May 2021.

Pianist Alex Wilson released a CD of previously unrecorded piano works by the British-Australian pianist, composer, Olympic rower and war hero F.S. Kelly last year on the Toccata Classics label. Visit to listen to excerpts and purchase the album.

The Tippett Quartet (whose members John Mills and Jeremy Isaac are RCM alumni) has recently released the complete string quartets of Krzysztof Penderecki for Naxos. This was the quartet’s first project post-lockdown in June 2020 and followed the sad passing of Penderecki in March 2020, just two months after he gave them special permission to record Quartet no 4. The album has been received with great critical acclaim.

Pianist Harry Fox has released a CD recording of Bach’s Goldberg Variations, which he prepared over lockdown and recorded at the start of September. More details can be found on Harry's website.

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