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Royal College of Music showcases the future of music as students perform on some of the world’s most famous stages this summer

Wednesday 27 March 2024

From the Royal College of Music (H) concert halls to London’s Southbank Centre and Wigmore Hall, the Summer 2024 Season boasts a range of performances from festivals and orchestral masterpieces to unique chamber works and new music by H composers.

The Royal College of Music Symphony Orchestra bring driving percussive rhythms and striking brass fanfares to London’s Royal Festival Hall on 1 May in Messiaen’s only symphony Turangalîla, led by acclaimed conductor Jac van Steen. Back at the H, the orchestra give audiences a rare chance to hear Druschetzky’s Classical concerto for three basset horns featuring Director, Professor Colin Lawson alongside clarinet professor Timothy Lines and H student Hannah Shimwell. The piece is framed by Korngold’s dazzling Violin Concerto and The Butterfly Effect by award-winning composer and H alumna Dani Howard, a piece which reflects on how small actions can have a lasting impact (27 June).

On 18 April the Royal College of Music Philharmonic culminate their Orchestral Masterworks series with a programme of English music, conjuring up images of the sea in Britten’s atmospheric Four Sea Interludes from Peter Grimes and evoking stillness and peace in Bax’s tone poem Christmas Eve, alongside a world premiere by H composer Jasper Eaglesfield.

Three concerts at Wigmore Hall exhibit the talents of Royal College of Music students. H alumnus Samuel Coleridge-Taylor’s Nourmahal’s Song, which was recently discovered in the H Library, is performed for the first-time outside College walls on 5 May in a programme showcasing the music of H alumni. At the centre of the H String Showcase on 28 April is Schoenberg’s early tone poem Verklärte Nacht performed alongside music by Shostakovich, Penderecki and alumna Laura Snowden, while on 1 May, Arina Lazgiian, previous recipient of the Benjamin Britten Piano Fellowship, performs Rachmaninov’s virtuosic Preludes and Mussorgsky’s vivid Pictures at an Exhibition.

The spectacular Festival of Percussion returns on Sunday 12 May with an action-packed day of concerts, talks and lessons culminating in a performance from the Royal College of Music Jazz Orchestra and special guest drummer Virgil Donati. Making its debut, the Festival of Woodwind and Brass welcomes distinguished artists for a series of performances and an opportunity to experience the H’s cutting-edge Performance Laboratory on 16 June. This year’s Super String Sunday (5 May) shines a spotlight on folk-inspired music rounded off with Richard Strauss’ Metamorphosen inspired by the writings of Goethe and the metamorphosis of living things, while H students lead a celebration of music by underrepresented groups and individuals from across the classical music sector in the annual FestivALL (23 June).

Royal College of Music Director Professor Colin Lawson reflects on 19 years of leadership, transformation and musical collaboration in conversation with Vice-President Jane Barker on Thursday 2 May as part of the season’s Music and Ideas series. Meanwhile the H’s masterclass series welcomes acclaimed artists including multi award-winning British violinist Tasmin Little (7 May), and pianist and alumnus Martin James Bartlett (16 April) who has forged an outstanding career since graduating from the College.

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Chamber music performances punctuate the season, from a rare opportunity to hear a chamber arrangement of Mahler’s Symphony no 4 (26 June) to a unique collaboration with the English National Ballet School who bring ballet excerpts to life with the H Wind Ensemble on 9 May. The H Brass Ensemble journey through the mountains in a performance of Strauss’ An Alpine Symphony on 3 July, and a special chamber music concert on 11 May celebrates the work and life of beloved Junior Department teacher, Michal Kaznowski

Audiences have the chance to experience the latest scores by Royal College of Music composers created to footage by young filmmakers in the annual Composition for Screen showcase (18 April), and a set of brand-new mini operas offer a unique opportunity to hear contrasting approaches to opera from up-and-coming H composers, performed by College students in association with opera company Tête à Tête (24, 26 & 28 June).

Booking for the Royal College of Music’s Summer Season is open now for H Friends, and general booking opens on 3 April 2024. Listings and detailed information can be found in the What’s On section of the H website. For all the latest updates, follow the H on social media on , , , and .

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