How a mega Manchester music college is defining the future of music

The Royal Northern College of Music celebrates its 50th anniversary

For 50 years, the Royal Northern College of Music has fuelled the aspirations of young musicians, composers, conductors, educators, and entrepreneurs from all over the world.

The RNCM continues to be recognised as one of the world’s leading and most progressive conservatoires, inspiring young musicians to develop the skills and creativity needed to establish successful and sustainable careers across today’s music industry.

Based on Oxford Road in Manchester, the mega music college is celebrating its 50th anniversary with a bold mission: to define the future of music. It’s a position reflective of a journey that has seen it continually striving for excellence from its founding in 1973 into the organisation it is today, standing as one of the world’s most forward-thinking conservatoires.

“This is a very exciting time for the RNCM,” said the college Principal, Professor Linda Merrick.

“At 50 years young our journey is still very much beginning, but we already have so much to celebrate. We are also proud to be at the heart of music-making in Manchester, from our unique public venues to the work we do transforming lives in the wider community. I know that our staff, students and alumni are looking forward to sharing this anniversary year with you all. It is going to be something truly special.”

The celebrations launched today (Tuesday, 27 September 2022) and reach their climax in June 2023. Every element is designed to express the values of the College, with the student and staff community at the heart of everything and its home city of Manchester echoed and explored throughout. The celebrations also seek to highlight the important role that music can play in the lives of all, the opportunities that it creates and the huge contributions it makes to society as a whole.

Manus Carey, Deputy Principal (Performance and Programmes), added: “So much of what we do at the RNCM is based on collaboration and this was something that we really wanted to show within our 50th public performance programme. Throughout the year you’ll see lots of special events that bring our students together with international musicians and composers, as well as some of the amazing professional partners we work with regularly. We are also planning some very special events for young people and our local communities, which we can’t wait to share with you.”

New work has always been a part of the College’s pioneering spirit and is therefore a strong thread that will run through its anniversary year. Upward of 25 premiers by professional composers and 50 by student composers, music creators and songwriters will showcase new and contemporary work. These will sit alongside a programme that features multiple performances with partners that include Manchester Camerata, Opera North, BBC Philharmonic, Edward Grieg Kor, Chamber Orchestra of Europe and Manchester Collective.

There will be three artists in residence, all RNCM alumni, who will be taking audiences and students on an exciting programme of performances and public masterclasses. These artists will be joined by international guests who will be making special appearances throughout the year.

Next summer, a new festival – the RNCM Big Weekender – will connect directly to the city’s youth and community, filling the College’s performance spaces with music and creativity. The event will also launch the RNCM’s new Soundcheck initiative, providing free tickets to 14 – 18-year-olds and a 50% price deal for students in the city.

In leading the charge to secure a bright and vibrant future for music, the RNCM has used its anniversary year to establish the RNCM50 Fund, to support children and young people in purse their musical ambitions.

There are lots to look forward to in the RNCM50 programme over the coming months, across a range of genres and settings. Several highlights have been picked out to give a sense of the excitement that lies ahead.

To find out more about the RNCM and their programme of events, visit their website


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