News, stories and updates from the RCM alumni network, plus posts from the #RCMCommunity on social media, which brought together our community’s music-making during lockdown.
RCM alumni have continued to keep connected throughout lockdown, posting videos of their performances, rehearsals and personal projects across social media.
Soprano Louise Alder debuted her new 'group', the Louloubelles, with an at-home performance.
Pianist Jocelyn Freeman launched an e-song series called 'Musical Greetings'.
Using this time to be entrepreneurial & deepen creativity by memorising... including Lieder! Here’s the latest in my E-song series, ‘Musical Greetings’ with the amazing @StephanLoges https://t.co/WG4b3VoYdy thanks to @MIbbotsonPhotos #creativethinking #ramplayson #rcmcommunity pic.twitter.com/vtuWWdKQrz— Jocelyn Freeman (@PianoLieder) May 16, 2020
Composer Charlotte Harding has spent lockdown working on pieces that people are able to collaborate on remotely.
Soprano Soraya Mafi and collaborative piano professor Simon Lepper came together for a remote performance.
Alumna @SorayaMafi teams up with #RCMCollaborativePiano prof @SimonLepper in this socially-distanced performance of Finzi's beautiful As I Lay in the Early Sun #RCMCommunity pic.twitter.com/xL1BPOCB7n— Royal College of Music (@RCMLondon) June 18, 2020
Saxophonist Stephen Shepherd has been performing daily in his 'A Duet a Day' series during lockdown. Here he is on day 45 with alumna Amy Green.
Day 45 of #WFH: Another extract for you today! This time it’s CPE Bach’s Duo for Two Clarinets... but on two Saxes! Full video here https://t.co/YAZRxIAQbt @amygreensax #ADuetADay #MusicInIsolation #saxophone #PracticeSavesLives #RCMCommunity #IsolationLife #livemusic #AltoSax pic.twitter.com/sKCrQVo4Ld— Stephen Shepherd (@Stephen_Shep) May 15, 2020
Darren Sng, composer, saw his composition Artificial Thyroarytenoids performed online by a group of RCM musicians.
Pianist Mark Bebbington has released an album of work by Francis Poulenc, in which he plays with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, conducted by Jan Latham-Koenig.
Violinist Paul Cassidy has released a memoir. Get Beethoven! tells the tale of Paul’s time growing up during the Troubles in Northern Ireland, before his move to London to study violin at the RCM and his joining the Brodsky Quartet in 1982.
Pedro Faria Gomes
Composer Pedro Faria Gomes released his new chamber music CD in January. Chamber Works was released on Naxos and launched with a concert at Cardiff University in February.
Violinist Vaughan Jones has released a new record called History of the Salon – Morceaux caractéristiques, 1823–1913. The disc contains 23 rare or previously unrecorded works from the 1820s through to the 1910s and is released on First Hand Records.
David Nebel has released his debut CD with Sony Classical. Glass & Stravinsky was recorded with conductor Kristjan Järvi, the London Symphony Orchestra and the Baltic Sea Philharmonic.
Harry Nowakowski-Fox and Alisa Liubarskaya
Harry Nowakowski-Fox and Alisa Liubarskaya – The Harry and Alisa Recital Duo – have released Schubert, Brahms and Schnittke Sonatas on Grand Empirical.
Pianist Alexandra Sostmann has released a new album. Bach/Byrd/Gibbons + Contemporary Music came out on 5 June.
Audun Gundersen Vassdal
A new piece by composer Audun Gundersen Vassdal is featured on a release by the Janáček Philharmonic Orchestra. Prelude & Fugue for Orchestra appears on Prism Vol 3.
Concerts at home
Pianist Nicolas Constantinou, a Steinway Artist, played two pieces by Constantinos Stylianou for a Steinway Lunchtime Concert, part of a series of at-home performances broadcast for online viewers.
John Paul Ekins
During lockdown in the UK pianist John Paul Ekins gave online concerts from his home on Sunday evenings, raising over £4,000 for the NHS.
Lantivet Duo, featuring pianist Brendan Musk, streamed three online concerts to raise money for the NHS. The April, May and June events each featured an eclectic programme of world music and new works by young composers. They have raised over £2,000 for health workers.
Cellist Riccardo Pes created an online music festival during lockdown: Andrà tutto bene ('Everything is going to be alright'). The festival featured online performances from a variety of artists every day from 20 March to 9 April.
Nominations and awards
Milly Forrest reached the singers section final of the Royal Over-Seas League (ROSL) Annual Music Competition in a round that featured an all-female line-up.
Pianist Jean-Paul Gasparian has won the prestigious Prix Thierry Scherz at Sommets Musicaux de Gstaad.
Anna Schreier and Raquel García-Tomás
Anna Schreier has been nominated for Best World Premiere at the International Opera Awards for Schade, dass sie eine Hure war ('Tis a Pity She's a Whore'), which was staged last year at the Deutsche Oper am Rhein. Raquel García-Tomás has been nominated in the same category for her work Je suis narcissiste, which was written as part of her doctoral studies at the RCM and staged at the Teatro Real in Madrid.
William Garfield Walker
Conductor William Garfield Walker has been honoured with a resolution in the Mississippi House of Representatives, commending his ‘musical genius’ as an orchestral conductor. The resolution was passed with a unanimous vote.
Performances and broadcasts
Violinist Aviva Chertok coordinated a project that brought violinists from all 50 states in the USA together to produce a video thanking healthcare workers. The group performed Elgar’s Salut d’Amour.
Conductor Timothy Henty has collaborated with the London Mozart Players and their online video series 'At Home with LMP' to provide a selection of videos about conducting.
At the Drive-In
On 9 May, pianist Alexander Krichel performed what was billed as the world's first drive-in piano recital. At Germany’s first post-lockdown live classical concert, the pianist performed a socially distanced event at a drive-in cinema in Iserlohn, Germany, with tickets for 200 cars selling out and the concert streamed live online.
Composer Georgios Lazaridis’ work Ek Nekron ('From the Dead' in Ancient Greek), was broadcast on National Greek Television during Orthodox Easter week in April. The piece was commissioned to commemorate 100 years since the end of World War 1.
Anne Nikitin composed the score for the two-part BBC Agatha Christie adaptation, Pale Horse, which was broadcast in February.
In March, Oliver Rudland’s Flying Free received its world premiere at the Clothworkers Centenary Concert Hall in Leeds, performed by the Orchestra of Opera North.
The Lonely Death of Stanley Bate, produced by graduate and former member of staff Luke Whitlock, was broadcast in February on BBC Radio 3. Stanley Bate was a former student of the RCM, and the programme included interviews with Joseph Horovitz, Timothy Salter and Stephen Bell.
In February Wing-sie Yip, Music Director of the Hong Kong Sinfonietta, conducted the ensemble in its Bangkok debut, in an all-Beethoven concert featuring pianist Pavel Kolesnikov.
Appointments, commissions and achievements
Louis Sebastian Mander
Louis Sebastian Mander has been commissioned to create a new musical. An adaptation of the tale of Peter Pan, the children’s musical features lyrics and story by the poet Pam Ayres.
Clarinetist Victoria Samek has launched ‘Organise, Prioritise, Commit: The Practice and Performance Process’, a new performance theory and practice being delivered via mentoring online. The courses and mentoring stems from Victoria’s academic research during her Performance Science MSc at the RCM.
Lasma Taimina has been appointed to the first violin section of the London Philharmonic.
Violinist Tamsin Waley-Cohen has been appointed Artistic Director of Two Moors Festival. The event, which is now planned for autumn, will be the festival’s 20th anniversary season.
Composer Ben Woodgates has scored his first feature film, Dream Horse, which premiered at the 2020 Sundance Film Festival and is set to open in UK cinemas in September. Guy Button and Sergio Serra – contemporaries of Ben during his studies at the RCM – also play on the soundtrack.
In March, Louise Alder performed Susanna, Rowan Pierce performed Barbarina, Elizabeth Watts performed the Countess and Nardus Williams performed both Micaela and the Countess in Mozart's Le nozze di Figaro for English National Opera.
In February, soprano Eleanor Dennis made her debut with Opera North as Miss Jessel in Britten's The Turn of the Screw.
In February, soprano Soraya Mafi performed the role of Susanna in Mozart's Le nozze di Figaro with Welsh National Opera.
Julien Van Mellaerts
Baritone Julien Van Mellaerts performed the role of Figaro in Mozart's Le nozze di Figaro in Salzburg’s Mozartwoche 2020, which took place from 23 January to 2 February.
In March, mezzo-soprano Stephanie Windsor-Lewis performed as Suzuki in Puccini's Madam Butterfly for English National Opera.