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Updates Autumn 2023

Student updates

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Our students have been busy blazing trails throughout the music industry. Here is just a small selection of their achievements.

Accolades and appointments

BBC Radio 3 announced the addition of James Atkinson and Alim Beisembayev to their New Generation Artists scheme, which began in September and lasts for a period of two years.

Oboist Alex Franklin, percussionist Toril Azzalini-Machecler, trombonist Pau Hernández Santamaria and tuba player Connor Gingell were awarded places in the 2023–24 London Sinfonietta scheme. Connor was also selected for the London Philharmonic Orchestra’s Foyle Future Firsts programme this season alongside clarinettist Maria Filippova, following in the footsteps of many recent RCM graduates.

The Astatine Trio – Berniya Hamie (piano), Riya Hamie (cello) and Julia Błachuta (violin) – has been selected for the Britten Pears Young Artists Chamber Music in Residence scheme for 2023–24.

Thomas Kelly is the recipient of the Benjamin Britten Piano Fellowship for 2023–24, awarded by the RCM and generously supported by the Philip Loubser Foundation. The Fellowship is awarded to an exceptional pianist who has been accepted on to the RCM’s Artist Diploma course.

Doctoral student Gergely Tóth-Vajna received the Artistic Award of the Hungarian Academy of the Arts and was elected a member of the public body of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences.


Violinist Sharon Zhou is the recipient of this year’s RPS Julius Isserlis Scholarship. It will support her exchange studies at the Universität für Musik und darstellende Kunst Wien during the third year of her BMus course.

In September, we announced the RCM musicians who will hold fellowships for the 2023/24 academic year.



Performances, events and recordings

Led by Doctoral student Michael Durrant, the RCM-LAHP (London Arts and Humanities Partnership) Symposium of Doctoral Music Research took place in July. The event showcased music-focused doctoral research across the LAHP partner institutions and explored what it means to conduct research in this field.

Doctoral student Tom Harrison has arranged and produced 40 songs for American children’s YouTube channel Cocomelon.

Percussionist Gosia Kepa performed on a brand-new instrument called the Ceramophone for the opening night of the Sounds of the Earth Festival. Alongside RCM percussion graduate Connor Chambers, Gosia performed a ten-minute improvised piece on the instrument, which is made from porcelain tiles and tuned to the pentatonic scale.

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Tiana Esther Oberoi was a featured singer at a series of concerts in Bangalore with Harmony Music School, India, celebrating women composers and songwriters. She performed at two prestigious concert venues, the Bangalore International Centre and Indian Music Experience. Tiana was also invited to tour as a soloist with The Harmony Chorus, performing at the Peel Choir Festival on the Isle of Man and at The Purcell School.

From 1–5 December, music by Jorge Pinto Ramos will be played at the Sonic Matter Festival in Zürich. His piece Paysage will feature for five days straight in the festival’s Weichekissen-Heisseohren Listening Lounge.

Zsombor Tóth-Vajna travelled to Edam in the Netherlands to perform a concert on the Father Smith organ, Smith’s only fully preserved instrument. Zsombor’s new recording, The Journey of Orpheus, featuring works by Louis Couperin, Froberger, Frescobaldi, Purcell and Fischer on a 17th-century Flemish harpsichord, was released in October on the Hungarian label Hungaroton.

Pianist Yang Wang has released an album called The Journey featuring her favourite piano pieces. It includes interpretations of Stravinsky, Mozart and Bach alongside traditional Chinese songs.


Ka Youn Yoo undertook an educational trip to Antigua and Barbuda with Bertie Beaman and Jamie Smith, run by Commonwealth Resounds, where they shared musical expertise with members of the Antigua and Barbuda Youth Symphony Orchestra.


This year Armistice Day fell on Saturday 11 November so the RCM Junior Department paused at 11am to remember former RCM staff and students who have given their lives in war. A roll call, the Last Post, a two-minute silence, and Reveille were included in this poignant moment of reflection.


Competition successes

Tenor Hugo Brady has been awarded the Prix de l’Académie de la Ville de Ciboure at the Académie Internationale de Maurice Ravel in St Jean-de-Luz.

Baritone Sam Hird was a joint recipient of the Prix Thierry Mermod for voice at the Verbier Festival Academy.

The 30th Clara Haskil International Piano Competition was won by Magdelene Ho, one of the youngest musicians to win the major competition.

Tannaz Beigi received Second Prize at a prestigious harp competition in Italy run by the Italian Harp Association, Suoni d’Arpa.


Violinist Lucilla Rose Mariotti won both First Prize and the public prize at the Violins & Soul Competition at the Amadeus Festival in Vienna. Currently studying for an Artist Diploma as a Carne Trust Junior Fellow, Lucilla has also received a two-year loan of a 1709 Antonio Stradivari from the Family Goh Collection.


Soprano Tiana Esther Oberoi became the first-ever winner from an international region to be selected to participate in the NATS National Student Audition finals in San Diego, USA, going on to win first prize.

Soprano Matina Tsaroucha won first prize at the Maria Callas Foundation Singing Competition in Athens.

Jacky Zhang won both the Classical and Romantic sections of the 31st International Piano and Orchestra Competition ‘Città di Cantù’, playing Mozart and Rachmaninov in the final.


Send your updates for the Spring 2024 edition of Upbeat to news@rcm.ac.uk by Friday 26 January.


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