Composition teacher Bushra El-Turk, who's new work will be performed by the Orchestre de Chambre de Paris in 2021

Updates Summer 2020

Staff updates

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News, stories and updates from the RCM staff, plus posts from the #RCMCommunity on  social media, which brought together our community’s music-making during lockdown.


RCM staff have continued to keep connected throughout lockdown, posting videos of their performances, rehearsals and personal projects across social media. Here are a few highlights.

Adrian Bending

Adrian Bending, who teaches baroque timpani, has been helping to organise street music events with his neighbours during lockdown. A Facebook page, ‘Music for Heroes - Harpenden and Beyond’, has spawned a YouTube channel, marquislanemusic, and their performances have been featured on ITV News.


Christina Guillaumier

Head of Undergraduate Programmes Christina Guillaumier has released a new book entitled The Operas of Sergei Prokofiev. She appeared on BBC Radio 3 to discuss the tome in March. Christina is also joint editor of another recent release, Rethinking Prokofiev.

Russell Hepplewhite

Musicianship and composition teacher Russell Hepplewhite's opera Laïka le chien d'espace ran for 10 performances at the Nouvel Opera in Fribourg Switzerland at the end of 2019. This was the first time the opera (commissioned by ETO in 2013) has been performed in a French translation.


Julian Jacobson

Piano professor Julian Jacobson has spent lockdown performing a ‘Daily Coffee Piano Moment’ on Twitter Livestream and Periscope. He played a short piece for listeners at home every day at 11am.

Konstantin Lapshin

Junior Department piano teacher Konstantin Lapshin was Head of the Jury at the international festival Stars of the Albion Grand Prix 2020 in London in March. He also gave a series of masterclasses and recitals at Conservatorio Superior de Musica Astor Piazzolla in Buenos Aires in December 2019.

Christina Lawrie

Staff accompanist Christina Lawrie has been filmed performing as part of BBC Bitesize lessons for children at home. She appears in clips discussing Beethoven's Pathetique Sonata and Ravel’s Jeux d’eau, to help children learning about sonatas and impressionist music.

Simon Lepper

Collaborative Piano Coordinator Simon Lepper has been running an InstaLive series called ‘Conversations with Collaborative Pianists’. Here he talks to Lydia Brown.

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Conversations with Collaborative Pianists: Lydia Brown

A post shared by Simon Lepper (@simon_lepper) on Jun 22, 2020 at 8:42am PDT

Mark Messenger

Head of Strings Mark Messenger ran a marathon over four days in his local community to raise money for the RCM Covid-19 Hardship Fund.

Federica Nardacci

Assistant Librarian Federica Nardacci has released a new book about one of the special collections held at the RCM Library. The collection contains correspondence sent to Italian composer Giuseppe Martucci (1856-1909) and includes letters from Hubert Parry and Albert Visetti, who was an instructor at the RCM. The volume is called Pagine Sparse. Il carteggio di Giuseppe Martucci nei documenti d’archivio del Royal College of Music (Scattered papers. The correspondence of Giuseppe Martucci in the archival documents of the Royal College of Music) and came out in December 2019.

Jools Osborne

Costume Supervisor Jools Osborne focused her efforts during lockdown on making scrubs, masks, hats and washbags for medical staff.

Toby Purser

Head of Conducting Toby Purser has launched a Zoom discussion group for conductors. Conductors in Isolation is designed to provide a space for those missing live performance and interaction with other musicians, and now boasts over 770 members from all over the world.

Clara Rodriguez

Junior Department piano teacher Clara Rodriguez performed two concerts in the autumn with RCM alumni. The first, in Caracas, Venezuela, saw Clara play Ravel’s G major Concerto with the Simon Bolívar Orchestra, conducted by Luis Miguel González-Fuentes. In London, Clara performed at St James' Piccadilly with BBC Concertmaster Stephen Bryant at a recital in aid of young Venezuelan musicians. Clara and Stephen appeared together on the BBC Radio 3's In Tune before the recital.

Gabriele Rossi Rognoni

Professor Gabriele Rossi Rognoni, Curator of the RCM Museum, shared a photo of a virtual meet-up with his PhD students.

Peter Stark

Postgraduate professor of conducting Peter Stark shared a photo from a special Zoom class for conducting students with the renowned conductor Bernard Haitink.

Ashley Solomon

Head of Historical Performance Ashley Solomon performed to an invited virtual audience.

Bushra El-Turk

Junior Department Composition teacher Bushra El-Turk has been commissioned to write a new piece for the Orchestre de Chambre de Paris. Her piece Création will be performed under the direction of Alphonse Cemin at the Théâtre du Châtelet in March 2021. She has also been selected as the featured guest at the All Arias Music Theatre Biennial 2021, where she will discuss her project Woman at Point Zero, in which she focuses on the oppression of women in the Arab world.

Roger Vignoles

Prince Consort Professor of Collaborative Piano and Vocal Repertoire Coach Roger Vignoles has devised a series of long-distance performances. Working with notable singers including Louise Alder, Johannes Kammler and Nicky Spence, they have performed works from Schubert to Strauss. Here he is with baritone Roderick Williams.


Christina Lawrie

Christina Lawrie, pianist and RCM staff accompanist, started a fortnightly concert with her husband, Marcus Barcham Stevens, who is Principal Second Violin at the Scottish Chamber Orchestra and co-leader of the Britten Sinfonia. The series is called #ConcertFromOurLivingRoom.

Christina says of the series: 'Our aim is to give solace and joy through live music, and to bring a sense of community and connectedness.' Christina and Marcus appear in the July edition of BBC Music Magazine.


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