The Royal Northern College of Music win £200k National Lottery Heritage Fund grant to help fund new digital archive

The Royal Northern College of Music (RNCM) has been awarded over £206,000 from the National Lottery Heritage Fund for a new archive project, Throwing Open the Concert Doors.

Throwing Open the Concert Doors will conserve and digitise thousands of RNCM recordings, making them publicly available online and via a new interactive heritage booth installed at the College.

It means that as the RNCM celebrates its 50th anniversary recordings of performances throughout its vibrant history will be preserved; from student recitals to full scale opera productions.

Heather Roberts, RNCM Archivist, says, We have thousands of magnetic reel and tape recordings within our archive of all performances dating back to 1973.

“Due to the ravages of time, these are steadily and irreversibly degrading and, without conservation and digitations, will soon be lost forever.

Our archive is part of Manchester’s cultural heritage narrative, expanding the city’s musical significance and contribution beyond indie and Madchester to classical, jazz, brass, wind and pop.

“The RNCM has nurtured and launched the careers of countless instrumentalists, singers and composers, and unlocking this heritage will inspire a new generation of music lovers.”

The project is being made possible thanks to money raised from National Lottery players and will be delivered in partnership with Manchester Digital Music Archive and Manchester Central Library’s Unlocking Our Sound Heritage initiative.

2023 is RNCM’s Anniversary year, a perfect time to learn more about the college’s role at the foresfront of Manchester’s music making scene since the early 1970s.

They are hoping this digitisation project will inspire the next generation of musicians by exposing them to this cities amazing cultural and musical history.

As part of the project a community engagement team will present workshops, tours, tutorials and hack days to local groups, feeding into a community celebration on 2 July 2023 as part of the RNCM Big Weekend festival.

Heather says, “The RNCM’s story is of great significance to Manchester’s cultural heritage, but it is ultimately a ‘hidden gem’ in terms of public awareness.

“We want to use the College’s 50th birthday as a platform to share our history with the people and communities who live and work around our building.”

To find out more about RNCM50 visit

You can follow RNCM on twitter at @rncmlive, Facebook @rncmlive, and Instagram @rncmlive.


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