A white women with short, brown hair, wearing a silver top and black skirt, playing a Steinway piano in front of an orchestra, with violinists playing in the background.

Updates Spring 2023

Staff updates

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Outside of the College, our professors and academic staff continue to engage in a diverse array of projects in the UK and around the world.

On stage

Piano professor Norma Fisher recently presented several international masterclasses, including at the Tel Hai International Piano Masterclasses (Israel) in August, the Accademia Internazionale Pianistica JS Bach (Olbia, Sardinia) in September, the Edward Aldwell Institute (Jerusalem, Israel) in December, and at the Accademia del Belcanto ‘Rodolfo Celletti’ (Martina Franca, Italy) in February.

Professor Janis Kelly, Chair of Vocal Studies, appeared at the Royal Opera House in February.


Junior Department piano teacher Clara Rodriguez (pictured at the top of the page) recently played Federico Ruiz’s Second Piano Concerto, which was written especially for her, at the Humboldt Association in Caracas, Venezuela, with the Orquesta Sinfónica Municipal de Caracas. The performance, which can be watched on YouTube, was conducted by Rodolfo Saglimbeni in the presence of the composer.

Clara also recently played a sold-out recital of Latin American music at the Teresa Carreño Cultural Complex, Caracas, and in London, she played three sold-out concerts at the 1901 Arts Club.

Junior Department violin teacher Megumi Rolfe, who is a soloist in residence for Boots Orchestra in Nottingham, performed Saint-Saëns’ Violin Concerto no 3 in November 2022 in a charity concert for Helen Lowenstein Memorial Trust, supporting midwife training in Liberia.

Vocal professor Sarah Tynon will be singing the role of Pat Nixon in Nixon in China by John Adams at Teatro Real Madrid in April.

Notable accolades

RCM Visiting Professor of Conducting and Music Director of English National Opera Martyn Brabbins won the Conductor Award in this year’s Royal Philhamonic Society Awards.


Andrew McCrea was awarded the Medal of the Royal College of Organists (RCO), presented in a ceremony at Southwark Cathedral on 4 March by the RCO’s President, Dr David Hill MBE.

Alongside his role as RCM academic studies professor – a position he has held since the late 1990s – Andrew is Deputy Director and Director of Studies of the RCO, and is responsible for a number of areas including accreditation and the promotion of education and research. Andrew was awarded the Medal for his distinguished service to the RCO.

Tenor trombone professor Lindsay Shilling has been voted Trombone Teacher of the Year by the British Trombone Society. Lindsay has been teaching since 1981 and has taught at the College since 1997. He has also been Section Principal Trombone of the Orchestra of the Royal Opera House since 2003.


New recordings

Bass trombone professor James Buckle recorded the Kenneth Fuchs Bass Trombone Concerto with John Wilson’s Sinfonia of London in December – marking the first recording of the concerto with orchestra, and the first significant bass trombone concerto recording with a major UK orchestra of the 21st century.

In February, James was also invited to spend two weeks with the world-renowned San Fransisco Symphony Orchestra, working with Herbert Blomstedt, Esa-Pekka Salonen and Pierre-Laurent Aimard over three different programmes.

Outside of the RCM, Student Services Assistant Karina Fraser is the founder and chair trustee of Forward 4 Wiz Trust, a grassroots music charity in Rushmoor, Hampshire. In 2022, the Trust launched Collecting Pl4ces, supported by the National Lottery and Arts Council England.

The project gathers ‘audio photographs’ from landmarks of cultural heritage in Rushmoor, building a catalogue of sociocultural history. These freely available transient recordings allow professional and aspiring local musicians to incorporate the acoustic identity of a site into their own creations. Listen to some of the new compositions here.

Composition professor Dr Catherine Kontz has been working on a community harp project over the last year based on her massed harps piece, Flyways. The piece, first premiered in 2008, has been reworked into a short film of individual performances by filmmaker Anne Schiltz, and features harpists from across Europe and the US. Watch now on Vimeo, and find out more on Catherine’s website

World premieres


After a successful world premiere at Festival Aix en Provence in July 2022, Woman at Point Zero, a new opera by Junior Department composition teacher Bushra El-Turk, is currently being performed on tour around Europe. This includes a performance at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden in June.

Another of Bushra’s works, Saffron Dusk for string quartet, has also been performed on tour by the Adelphi Quartet (for whom the piece was written) and Quator Mona, with another performance still to come in April at the Esterházy Palace in Austria. Visit Bushra’s website for more information.


The Purcell Percussion Project is a new collection of arrangements by baroque timpani professor Adrian Bending and RCM alumna and Scottish Chamber Orchestra principal timpanist Louise Goodwin. The book is a collection of 11 dances and orchestral pieces from Purcell’s opera The Fairy Queen, and is available now from Southern Percussion. Watch a short preview of the prelude to Act I on YouTube.

On air

Academic Programmes professor Dr Carola Darwin was interviewed for BBC Radio 3's Composer of the Week in March. Carola has been researching the life of the Viennese composer Johanna Müller-Hermann, whose life and work were discussed in these programmes. Born in 1868, she was a valued contributor to the musical life of Vienna and the first woman to teach music theory in the German-speaking world. Listen to the episodes on BBC Sounds

New members of staff

New Head of Woodwind, Marie Lloyd, penned an article for Music Teacher magazine about her ambitions for the department.

The String Faculty recently welcomed six new professors, including RCM alumnus Rodrigo Moro Martín; viola professors Isabel Villanueva and Bryony Gibson-Cornish; violin professor Emily Sun; and cello professors Timothy Walden and Gemma Rosefield. Read more in our news item.

The Brass Faculty will also welcome Kris Garfitt as Visiting Professor of Trombone from September.

Send your updates for the Summer 2023 printed edition of Upbeat to news@rcm.ac.uk by Friday 12 May.


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