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Updates Autumn 2023

Alumni updates

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RCM alumni have made a number of high-profile achievements throughout the summer and autumn months. Here is a selection of the latest news. 

Recent performances

Soprano Louise Alder performed in John Cox and David Hockney’s iconic production of The Rake’s Progress at Glyndebourne, receiving strong reviews for her portrayal of the protagonist’s beloved, Anne.  

Nikola Avramovic and five other former RCM Benjamin Britten Piano Fellows gathered for a concert in Cologne in September to celebrate the Fellowship. Nikola performed Brahms, while Dinara Klinton and Arina Lazgiian played Ravel, Fauré and Rachmaninov. Martin James Bartlett and Alexander Ullman together performed Schubert and there was Chopin from Pavel Kolesnikov.  

Soprano Clara Barbier Serrano performed Paris Chapters at the Institut français, a concert about the music that writers like James Joyce and Samuel Beckett listened to while living in France.  

Pianist Ivana Gavrić made her South American debut in Peru in October as part of the Sociedad Filarmónica de Lima concert series, following performances at the Presteigne Festival and Dartington Summer Festival in August. She will perform a programme of Bach and Mendelssohn at Cadogan Hall in December. 

Avi Taler conducted over 1,000 student performers in Music Makes Me at the Royal Albert Hall in June. Presented by the Tri-borough Music Hub in co-production with the Royal Albert Hall and the RCM, the concert celebrated music as a universal communicator and tool to give young people a voice.  

Nick Walker and Bertille Cascio started a new festival called Festival de la Gente, the second occurrence of which took place in August. It brings together young, early career musicians from France, the UK and beyond for solo and chamber concerts. Alumni performers include Clara Barbier Serrano, Maxime Morise, Christopher Cohen, Joanna Kacperek and Victoire Theodora Pruvost.  

Many RCM alumni performed at this year’s BBC Proms at the Royal Albert Hall – just across the road from the College where they studied.  

New releases 

Mezzo-soprano Olivia Carstairs is the host of a new podcast called The Creative Truths. Available on Spotify, it seeks to explore what it means to have a creative career and how to keep the spark for it alive.   

Brian Davidson has had three books of his piano music published by Kevin Mayhew Ltd, with a fourth due out soon. The books have been reviewed positively by International Piano magazine.  

Gillian Eden-Walley’s novel Keys to the Heart has been published by Austin Macauley. Gillian began writing down musical memories in lockdown, which evolved into an autobiographical novel about a concert pianist.  

Rika Fukuda was selected as the principal collaborative pianist for the International Music Festival and Academy at the Music & More SummerFest in August and gave concerts in Bosnia-Herzegovina, Montenegro and Serbia. 

The Dionysus Ensemble, including alumni Robert Gibbs and Léonie Adams, released its latest album in August. The album features new and premiere recordings of William Herschel’s ‘lost’ violin sonatas, which haven’t been played since before his death 201 years ago.  

Percussionist, composer and filmmaker Ruairi Glasheen has made the first documentary on Ireland’s national drum, the bodhrán, containing original, unearthed material on the instrument’s origins and features. 

Conductor Anthony Inglis’ autobiography Sit Down, Stop Waving Your Arms About! was published in April. Titled after a comment made to him by a member of the audience, it contains stories of his student days as well as advice on entering the music profession.

Camilo Méndez has released his first monographic recording Peripheral Spaces on NEOS Music containing six excerpts from two of his cycles: BURSZTYN and Spatio-Temporal Cartographies

Two RCM Opera Studio alumni, Rowan Pierce and Julien van Mellaerts, feature on a new album alongside collaborative pianist Lucy Colquhoun. Songs of the Night explores the night in all its guises and was released on Champs Hill Records in September.  

Violinist Elisabeth Turmo and pianist Elena Toponogova have released a debut album of music inspired by myths and legends on the Quartz label, entitled Fairy Tales, available on Spotify and Apple Music. 


Awards, accolades and appointments 

Conductor Lydia Adams was appointed to the Order of Canada for her dedication and leadership in enriching the lives of Canadians through choral music.  

Conductor Ivor Bolton became a CBE in the King’s Birthday Honours and also received Honorary Austrian Citizenship for services to Culture.  

Baritone Peter Brathwaite was awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Music (HonDMus) from Newcastle University in July. 


Many recent RCM graduates have joined the Southbank Sinfonia this season, with both bassoon positions filled by Francis Bushell and Amy Thompson

Composer Goi Ywei Chern won First Prize in the Senior Category of the 11th International Antonín Dvořák Composition Competition, plus two Special Prizes for Best Chamber Music and Best Polyphonic Composition Among Senior Participants.  

Soprano Ava Dodd was awarded the Verbier Festival Academy’s Prix Yves Paternot in recognition of being the most accomplished and promising musician of the annual Academy for young professional musicians. She also performed the role of Anne Trulove at the festival, which was broadcast on Medici TV. 

Avishka Edirisinghe became Emerging Artists Répétiteur at the Mascarade Opera Studio in Florence, following turns as Young Artists Répétiteur at Opera Holland Park and Conductor with Pegasus Opera Company amongst other appointments.  


Magdalenna Krstevska and Sophie Glenny have created the Corelia Project, a database with a focus on music by women composers, increasing their visibility and searchability. They also established a concert series programming some of these works, the launch of which was supported by the RCM Accelerate Grant

Samuel D Loveless, Emily Hoh, Emily Jennings, and Peggy Wu were selected as Britten Pears Young Artists for 2023–24.

Recent graduate and now RCM professor Diego Sanchez was named Principal Horn of the London Symphony Orchestra, hot on the heels of playing at the King’s Coronation.  

Christopher Tin has been commissioned by Washington National Opera to write a new ending to Puccini’s unfinished opera Turandot which will be premiered at the Kennedy Center in May 2024. 

Conductor William Garfield Walker was selected for a 2023 Career Assistance Award from The Solti Foundation US. William is founder and Chief Conductor of the innovative Nova Orchester Wien. 

Composer Jan Willem de With was awarded the Peer Raben Music Award for his score to the short film Abia, directed by Sam Nutt. 

Send your updates for the Spring 2024 edition of Upbeat to by Friday 26 January.


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