Pianist Silu Wang performing

Updates Spring 2021

Alumni updates

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We are grateful to highlight some excellent alumni activity during the past few months:

We showed appreciation for returning alumni leading online sessions for current students:

Amy Bryce’s eco-inspired composition featured in Choir and Organ:

Elena Toponogova performed in traditional dress surrounded by a snowy backdrop:

A film of composer Marcos Fernandez-Barrero's newest opera, The Soldier’s Return, performed by Opera Sunderland, premiered online on Remembrance Sunday 2020. The production was originally to be live but pivoted to a filmed performance in collaboration with Meerkat Films. The performance featured RCM alumni Katherine Aitken and Austin Gunn.


Pianist and musical director Dominic Ferris has recorded the majority of piano tracks for Dame Shirley Bassey’s latest album, released late last year. I Owe it All to You, released by Decca Records, was rehearsed and recorded across different locations in Europe to accommodate for Covid travel restrictions.

Pianist Harry Nowakowski-Fox has released a new recording of JS Bach’s Goldberg Variations, which he began preparing for during lockdowns in 2020. It was released on Grand Empirical and is available on Apple and Spotify.

Composer Raquel García-Tomás has been awarded the National Music Award in Spain. She was praised for 'the interdisciplinary and innovative nature of her personal musical language' and 'the experimental quality of her work, which connected with the audience, as in the premiere of her opera Je suis narcissiste.'

Pianist Alexei Petrov has won the First Prize in the Vigo International Piano Competition, held online.

Soprano Daria Rybak has won the Pour-cent culturel Migros singing competition in Zurich. Daria received a generous prize of CHF 14’400 and concert engagements worth CHF 25’000 for the next two years.

In November RCM Vocal & Opera graduates Gemma Summerfield, Huw Montague Rendall and Kamilla Dunstan performed the roles of Pamina, Papageno and Second Lady in Glyndebourne’s production of Mozart’s The Magic Flute. The production featured a 90-minute version of the opera and was performed in English.

Soprano Rowan Pierce has been nominated for The Times Breakthrough Award in this year’s South Bank Sky Arts Awards. Rowan has also found acclaim as the singing voice behind a popular character of hit Netflix show Bridgerton. An article about her vocal performance on the programme appeared on Classic FM's website. Rowan won the RCM President’s Award in 2017.


Did you know that RCM alumna Rowan Pierce is the stunning voice behind the character of opera singer Siena Rosso in...

Posted by Royal College of Music on Friday, 5 February 2021


Pianist Christopher Russell has published a new book called Notes on the Piano: A Series of Essays on the Playing and Teaching of Piano. Christopher has described the book as 'an encouraging companion to someone’s piano lessons in the exciting journey of discovery that learning the piano is all about.' The book is published by Michael Terence Publishing.

The Portuguese performing rights society Sociedade Portuguesa de Autores has awarded the Prémio Autores 2020 in the category of classical music to Dr Pedro Faria Gomes' Sonata, for violin and piano. The prize is awarded annually to a composer or performer whose work constitutes an outstanding contribution to classical music.

Two RCM alumni found success at the London Handel Festival Singing Competition in December. Baritone Jerome Knox won First Prize and baritone Morgan Pearse went home with Second Prize.

April Koyejo-Audiger (Aukoko) hosted a Powder Room Talk exploring creative processes in the times of Covid-19 and the future of women opera-makers.

Clavichordist Adrian Lenthall’s new CD, ‘A Lament on the Lips of Loved Ones: Private memorials, secret grief’, recorded on two fine clavichords by Peter Bavington, showcases works by J.S. Bach, C.P.E. Bach, Haydn, Froberger and Louis Couperin.

Pianist Alistair Watson has authored a new piano tutor book called Teach Yourself Classical Piano, published by Hal Leonard. Alistair also has a new CD on release by Toccata Classics, a recording of Prokofiev’s music for stage together with RCM alumna pianist Yulia Chaplina. The release features booklet notes by well-known Prokofiev expert Anthony Phillips.

The Dionysus Ensemble, which features RCM alumni Léonie Adams, Robert Gibbs, Dan Manete and Jonathan Lemalu, has launched the United Commonwealth Covid Music Project, which invites participants from across the Commonwealth to submit music to represent their nation. A new track from the initiative is available on Spotify.

Soprano Pumeza Matshikiza discussed her rollercoaster 2020 in this fantastic interview with the Daily Maverick.

Composer Emer Landers was awarded Third Prize at the International Pannonia Film Music Competition 2020 for her original film score set to a prescribed film clip. The prize was an hour's recording session with a 53-piece orchestra in January 2021, where Emer recorded a new original piece. Her winning submission is available on YouTube:


RCM alumni have launched a new charity and musical award called the Peter Handley Percussion Award. Alumni Joe Richards, Rebecca McChrystal, Lucy Landymore, Owen Gunnell and the ensemble Box 9 Drumline have launched the initiative with the support of Dame Evelyn Glennie, RCM Head of Percussion Dave Hockings and RCM Professor Ralph Salmins.

Composer Vasco Hexel has released a new album in January this year, entitled XIX. The full album was composed, arranged, produced and recorded by Vasco and he performed the majority. A series of original short films conceived in conjunction with the album will be released online in the spring.


Soprano Jessica Cale won the Audience Prize at the London Handel Festival Singing Competition.

Lutenist Jadran Duncumb’s new baroque lute CD: J.S. Bach - Works for lute (ADX13728) was released by the French label Audax Records in February. It's his second solo CD after Weiss & Hasse – Lute sonatas, released in 2018 on the same label.


Conductor William Walker was recently selected by members of the Vienna Philharmonic and the American Austrian Foundation for the AAF/Faber Conducting Fellowship (formerly Herbert von Karajan Conducting Fellowship) of the Salzburg Festival. William also performed in a digital concert with the Nova Orchester Wien for the G20 economic forum, in collaboration with the Austrian Consulate in Milan. The event saw the Austrian orchestral premiere of both Florence Price’s music and William Grant Still’s music to celebrate Austrian National Day.

Clarinettist Peter Cigleris has a released a CD on Cala Signum. The album is called Rediscovered and features four British clarinet concertos, including pieces by Elizabeth Maconchy and Arnold Dolmetsch, both of whom studied at the RCM.

Pianist Michaella Livadiotis is part of an innovative new initiative called ‘In Conversation with Company Concentric’, a monthly roundtable discussion for creatives interested in collaborative practices across and beyond the fields of dance, music and design. The conversations are held on Zoom.

Violinist Aisha Syed has appeared in a TV special in her home country, the Dominican Republic. Playing around the World was broadcast nationally and can be viewed on Aisha’s YouTube channel. She also performed a sold-out evening at Carnegie Hall, New York.


Violinist Ben Baker has been announced as a UK Music Masters Ambassador, delivering projects for the Schools Programme within the music education charity. Ben is a Young Classical Artists Trust artist.

Violinist Adrian Chandler has released a new record on Signum Records. Settecento, with his ensemble La Serenissima, explores the style of music that emerged in Italy in the early 18th century. The album includes works by Scarlatti, Vandini, Brescianello and Vivaldi.


Mezzo-soprano Anna Cooper, soprano Ffion Edwards and soprano Stephanie Hershaw have won top prizes at the 2020 Maureen Lehane Singing Competition. Anna won First Prize and Ffion and Stephanie both won the Handel Prize.

Pianist Silu Wang has released a new album, Rendezvous, Vol. 9, the latest of her non-classical piano series.


Composer Luke Whitlock has collaborated with musicologist Simon Heffer on a BBC Radio 3 Sunday Feature exploring the life and music of John Foulds, an experimental and visionary composer. Broadcast in February, the programme included interviews with RCM alumni Timothy Salter and pianist Kathryn Stott.


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