Tara Viscardi playing the harp, as part of 2021 North London Festival

Updates Summer 2021

Student updates

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Here’s just some of what our students have been getting up to over the last few months.

In May, students took part in two marathon live-stream events, the RCM Keyboard Festival and Super String Sunday.


Watch these events again on the RCM YouTube channel:


On 8 May, students from the RCM Junior Department had works premiered by London Sinfonietta:

Pianist Cristiana Achim celebrates being selected as a Benedetti Foundation Music Ambassador, which will allow her to perform and work alongside violinist Nicola Benedetti in creative education projects.

Composer Andrew Chen has been selected for the inaugural ABRSM Composers Mentoring Scheme, a pilot programme that will help participants gain understanding of the educational publishing industry and ABRSM’s specific technical requirements when commissioning music for education.

Tom Lilburn (MPerf Vocal Studies), a Lay Clerk at St. George’s Chapel Choir, was one of four singers who performed at the funeral of HRH The Duke of Edinburgh in April.

DMus Composer Jorge Ramos had two pieces premiered at the University of Aveiro, Portugal, in May – in between and Perception, both commissioned by Arte no Tempo Association for the New Music for New Musicians project. He is also a finalist with his work Impasto at the IX International Composition Competition, held by the Banda Sinfónica Portuguesa. The final stage is scheduled to happen in 2022 at Casa da Música in Porto.

Violinist Charlotte Saluste-Bridoux has been signed to the roster of the Young Classical Artists Trust.

Music by second-year Composition for Screen student Stefano Torchio has been used by Xbox in a trailer for the game Grounded:


Berenice Beverley Zammit (PhD Candidate and Graduate Teaching Assistance at the Centre of Performance Science) had two articles published in The Strad magazine in May, on easing back into performance post Covid-19 and returning to performing after suffering from long Covid.


Fanny Guillaume-Castel, PhD student in Music and Material Culture, presented a paper entitled The Pedal Harp Trade in Paris at the End of the Eighteenth Century: Luxury and Aristocratic Purchases at the American Musical Instrument Society’s annual conference, held online on 5 June. Fanny also presented a conference-concert in-person at the Musée des Arts et Métiers in Paris on 27 June with harpist Ghislaine Petit-Volta. The talk was the closing event of an exhibition on Madame de Genlis, a writer, educator and harpist in 18th- and 19th-century France.

Frederick Lam (Early Career Researcher, Centre for Performance Science) has developed a new venture, OccuPain. Funded by Research England Connecting Capability Fund, the OccuPain project was part of the MedTech SuperConnector programme, together with Imperial College London and GSK Consumer Healthcare. By facilitating knowledge exchange between medical, technological and social expertise, OccuPain hopes to assist musicians with their occupational pain and health through digital and interactive solutions, and advise the appropriate clinical support.

Bassoonist Ashby Mayes has been awarded a £10,000 grant from the RPS Julius Isserlis Scholarship for studying abroad. Ashby has just finished his studies at RCM and will be going onto continue studying in Mannheim, Germany.

Doctorate Student Anna Ovsyanikova became an affiliated artist with BAM cases in May. She's creating a series of 10 tutorials exclusively for their app 'Gigs', with the first tutorial already on the app:

Zsombor Toth-Vajna (first year PhD student, Early Music Department) released a new organ album in June, The Young Bach’s Musical Universe, on the Harmonia Early Music label. He plays pieces by the young J. S. Bach and his predecessors on a Thuringian Baroque-style organ, exploring the influences that shaped the young Bach’s musical taste.

International Awards and Prizes

Congratulations to our students on their recent successes at competitions around the world.

Pianist Cristiana Achim has won the Special Prize (‘Debut in Transylvania’ Recital Award) at the 2021 Youth of Music International Competition in Romania, and Second Prize at the Orbetello Piano Competition in Italy.

Louis-Victor Bak was also awarded the Special Prize of the 2021 Youth of Music International Competition (‘Debut in Transylvania’ Recital Award ex aequo), and won First Prize at the online North Music Competition.

Dominic Doutney (Art Dip) was awarded the Third Prize of €8,000 at the 62nd Jaén International Piano Competition, which took place in Spain in April.

Delyth Field (BMus 1) has won the National Centre for Early Music Young Composers Award in the 19–25 years category for her work Kagura Suite for recorders.

Robert Finegan, Master's Year 2 saxophonist, was awarded a Distinction Prize in the Tunbridge Wells International Competition.

Tenor Michael Gibson represented the RCM in the annual intercollegiate Clonter Opera Prize competition in February, winning Second Prize.

Dmitrii Kalashnikov (Art Dip) has won First Prize at the 28th Intercollegiate Beethoven Prize, which was postponed from 2020. The competition is run by the Beethoven Piano Society of Europe, and all nine British conservatoires were represented.

Soprano Hyoyoung Kim was awarded the Birgit Nilsson Award at the online Metropolitan National Council Audition Finals in May. She joins the RCM in the Autumn taking an Artist Diploma in Opera.

Antonio Morabito (MPerf Keyboard) has been awarded Second Prize at the VIII Rome International Music Competition, Second Prize at the Làszlò Spezzaferri International Music Competition, and Second Prize at Music International Competition ‘Città di Pesaro’.

Pedro Lopez Salas (Piano, Masters 1) has achieved First Prize in the 'Wiener Klassiker' International Competition and Fourth Prize in the Chopin International Competition of Hartford, Connecticut (both online).

Simo Šišević won Second Prize at the Orbetello Online Piano Competition, Italy in the Junior Edition D Category (under 21 years old).

Organist Polina Sosnina (Masters) was awarded major prizes at the Royal College of Organists ARCO examinations: the Sawyer and Durrant Prize, Sowerbutts and Durrant Prize, and Dr F J Read prize for highest marks in both practical and written exams.

Tara Viscardi won First Prize at the London Camac Harp Competition as part of 2021 North London Festival, which was online again this year. Watch her performance here:

Kirill Zheleznov (BMus4) has been awarded First Prize and two award-concerts in Italy in the top category of the ‘Città di Arona’ International Piano Competition 2021 online special edition.

Send your updates for the next edition of Upbeat to news@rcm.ac.uk.


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