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Alumnus Roberto Ruisi performing in the Amaryllis Fleming Concert Hall

Updates Autumn 2022

Alumni updates

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From stellar performances at this year’s BBC Proms to international competition success, Royal College of Music alumni have been making waves over the last few months.

Industry appointments

London Mozart Players (LMP) have announced RCM alumnus Jonathan Bloxham as their Conductor in Residence and Artistic Advisor. Jonathan’s next appearance with LMP will be in February 2023 for Building Blochs and Birkenstocks at Fairfield Halls, joined by Sheku Kanneh-Mason.

Mezzo-soprano Rebecca Leggett and baritone Hugo Herman-Wilson have been awarded places on Les Arts Florissants’ Le Jardin des Voix programme, which supports early music singers at the start of their careers.

Violinist Roberto Ruisi (pictured above) has been appointed as the first new leader of the Hallé in 25 years, and made his debut as leader on 6 October.

Pianist Luka Okros has been appointed as the Assistant Artistic Director at Bechstein Hall, London’s new concert venue opening on Wigmore Street. In 2020, Bechstein purchased 18–22 Wigmore Street and is developing it into its flagship piano showrooms for the UK, with a new 100-seat concert venue.

In the media

Violinist Esther Abrami has started a new podcast, Women in Classical. She recently spoke to another RCM alumna and former Royal Albert Hall Artistic Director, Lucy Noble:

Baritone Peter Brathwaite travelled to Barbados over the summer to record a new BBC Radio 3 documentary about the musical and cultural legacy of enslavement in the country.  

Saxophonist Amy Dickson presented an episode of BBC Radio 3’s Inside Music in November, exploring works from Duke Ellington to Andre Previn. Listen on BBC Sounds.

On stage

Several RCM alumni made appearances as soloists at this year’s BBC Proms, including vocal alumnae Louise Alder and Dame Sarah Connolly in a performance of Gustav Mahler’s ‘Resurrection’ Symphony.

Also taking to the Proms stage were bass-baritone Simon Shibambu with the Hallé on 30 July, violinist Alina Ibragimova on 1 August, and RCM Junior Department graduate Ben Goldscheider, who made his solo debut on 25 July.

Pianist Ivana Gavrić performed Grieg's Piano Concerto with the Philharmonia Orchestra in May at the Royal Festival Hall, and in November she made her Zürich Tonhalle debut performing Mendelssohn's Piano Concerto with Camerata Zürich.

Awards and prizes

18-year-old Jordan Ashman, a former RCM Junior Department student, won BBC Young Musician of the Year 2022, becoming the second successive percussionist to win the title.

RCM alumni have received nominations in the 2023 Grammy Awards. Former RCM Junior Department student Jacob Collier is nominated for 'Best Arrangement, Instruments and Vocals', while composer Christopher Tin is nominated in the 'Best Score Soundtrack for Video Games and Other Interactive Media' and 'Best Classical Compendium' categories. 

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Jack Hancher, who completed his Masters in 2018, became the third guitarist ever to win the Gold Medal at the Royal Over-Seas League Competition in July. Following his win, Jack appeared on BBC Radio 3’s In Tune.

In October, mezzo-soprano Maria Hegele won First Prize in the Lieder Competition at the Hidalgo Festival für junge Klassik, Munich. Maria also won First Prize at the Everding Musikwettbewerb in August.

Composer Dani Howard was nominated for The Times Breakthrough Artist of the Year and the Classical Music Category for the 2022 South Bank Sky Arts Awards. She has also recently finished recording an album with the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra.

Tenor Laurence Kilsby won First Prize in the 13th Cesti International Singing Competition for Baroque Opera in Innsbruck in August.

Violinist Catherine Mackintosh, founder of the Purcell Quartet, has been awarded a lifetime achievement award from the York Early Music Festival.

An article by Luiz Mantovani, 'Fine-tuning Ferdinand Rebay’s Second Sonata in E major for Guitar', received the Best Paper Award 2022 from Musicologica AustriacaJournal for Austrian Music Studies. This is the peer-reviewed journal of the Austrian Musicological Society (ÖGMW), the largest association of music scholars and corresponding institutions in Austria.

Soprano Leah Redmond, who graduated in 2022, won the Danone Young Outstanding Female Artist of the Year at Wexford Opera Festival.

Premieres

A new work by composer Jataneel Banerjee called GANGA was premiered by Tête à Tête Opera in August. The short chamber opera follows the story of Ganga, one of the female characters from the Indian epic Mahabharata, with an original libretto by Jataneel written in Sanskrit.

New releases

Composers and instrumentalists Sarah and Laura Ayoub have released a new album, Arabesques, a celebration of and tribute to music from the Arab World.

The Brodsky Quartet, whose current and past members include RCM alumni Paul Cassidy, Andrew Haveron and Daniel Rowland, is celebrating its 50th anniversary in 2022. Two new books have been released to mark the occasion: Get Beethoven by Paul Cassidy, about his 40 years with the group; and The Formative Years by Jacqueline Thomas, on founding the quartet in the North East when she was only ten years old!

Conductor Andrew Gourlay released Wagner: Parsifal Suite with the London Philharmonic Orchestra in November. The new, 45-minute orchestral suite of music from Wagner's opera was constructed by Andrew, stitched together wherever possible using the composer’s original music. Stream now or listen on YouTube.




Send your updates for the Spring 2023 online edition of Upbeat to news@rcm.ac.uk by Friday 27 January.

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