‘We pride ourselves in being a nurturing faculty, encouraging you to achieve your personal goals and develop the skills to be successful in today’s music profession.’
The Keyboard Faculty provides opportunities for you to experience tuition and masterclasses in a variety of subjects. Our programmes encourage you to fulfil your own potential and enable you to specialise in a variety of areas such as solo piano, contemporary music and collaborative piano.
The Royal College of Music boasts a wealth of high quality instruments. Pianists receive individual lessons on Steinway, Fazioli and Bechstein grand pianos. Organists have access to the RCM’s selection of mechanical action instruments, including our new custom-built Flentrop organ, and to instruments outside the RCM, including at the Royal Albert Hall.
Keyboard at the RCM
Head of Keyboard, Professor Vanessa Latarche, joins pianist and BBC Young Musician 2014, Martin James Bartlett, to talk about the opportunities RCM students enjoy.
One-to-one lessons are at the very heart of every RCM student’s learning experience. High quality performance, radiating artistry, technique, integrity and depth of stylistic understanding is only possible with the input of teaching staff of the highest level. Our distinguished and experienced professors will help you achieve your personal goals in a supportive environment, where you can develop the skills to be successful in today's music profession.
The Keyboard Faculty offers collaborative piano and contemporary piano as principal study specialisms to postgraduate students. The RCM’s thriving Historical Performance Faculty provides keyboard students with access to masterclasses and dedicated tuition in fortepiano and harpsichord.
Pianists enjoy being part of a faculty that achieves unrivalled success in international competitions and provides a range of performance opportunities from solo recitals in London and beyond to concerto performances with RCM orchestras.
Organists enjoy regular study trips abroad to France, Germany and the Netherlands. Training built into the core of the BMus programme includes preparation for the diplomas of the Royal College of Organists.
All keyboard students at the RCM have the opportunity to learn from the biggest names in the industry through our regular programme of masterclasses.
An organ lesson in the West Parry Room with David Graham
RCM pianist Daniel Kharitonov rehearsing with the RCM Symphony Orchestra at the Royal Festival Hall
One-to-one piano lesson with Professor Vanessa Latarche
Public masterlcass with Lang Lang
One-to one piano lesson with Ian Jones
Performing at the annual keyboard festival
Harpsichordist playing with musicians from Historical Performance
Students in the Keyboard Faculty have the opportunity to perform concertos with RCM orchestras who are regularly joined by world-renowned conductors. Recent concerto performances have included Stravinsky’s Capriccio under the baton of Diego Masson; Chopin’s Concerto no 2 and Ravel’s Piano Concerto for Left Hand, conducted by John Wilson; Rachmaninov’s Piano Concerto no 3, conducted by Andrew Gourlay at the Royal Festival Hall; and Hummel’s Piano Concerto no 2 in A minor op 85 conducted by Martin André.
Many organ students hold scholarships while studying, for example, at Westminster Abbey, Royal Hospital Chelsea, Chapel Royal Hampton Court, Southwark Cathedral, St Martin-in-the-Fields, Farm Street Church and other significant churches in and around London.
Students are encouraged to form their own chamber groups, which can benefit from unlimited coaching. You can also receive invaluable preparation for international competitions.
The RCM runs an annual Keyboard Festival, which represents a fantastic opportunity for a wide range of keyboard students to perform often in front of a worldwide audience thanks to the RCM’s live streaming capabilities.
The great number of students and instruments in the Keyboard Faculty allows us to stage unusual performances, such as a ground-breaking performance of John Cage’s HPSCHD for seven harpsichords.
'The quality of teaching, especially the one-to-one lessons, is first class and I feel that I have really developed as a person and a musician during my studies.'
ArtDip in Performance: Repetiteur
Students on the ArtDip in Performance course can choose repetiteur as a principal study, offering pianists hands-on experience in the preparation of performances at the RCM, and working sessions with senior staff from the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden.
Recent visiting artists
Our students enjoy regular masterclasses with the most renowned international visiting artists, including:
- Emanuel Ax
- Dmitri Bashkirov
- Olivier Cazal
- Adolf Pla
- Yuri Shadrin
- Sir András Schiff
- Mitsuko Uchida
- Mikhail Voskresensky
- Dina Yoffe
The RCM's keyboard students regularly achieve the highest professional success, winning international competition prizes and finding places on highly regarded scheme. Recent examples include:
- Franz Liszt International Piano Competition
- Leeds International Piano Competition
- Van Cliburn International Piano Competition
- Hong Kong International Piano Competition
- The online Piano Cleveland Virt(ual)oso Competition
- BBC Young Musician of the Year
- Jaques Samuel Intercollegiate Piano Competition
- Beethoven Intercollegiate Piano Competition
RCM Collaborative pianists regularly win accompanist prizes, including in the Kathleen Ferrier Awards.
RCM graduate pianists are performing concertos with major orchestras world-wide, and giving solo recitals at the world’s leading festivals.
Piano alumni are chosen to take part in the Park Lane Group Series at the Southbank Centre each year. A number of our pianists have signed exclusive CD contracts with record labels including Decca and Sony BMG.
RCM graduate organists hold key full-time posts at churches and cathedrals, including St Paul’s Cathedral.
- Malcolm Binns
- Ian Brown
- Barry Douglas
- Megumi Fujita
- Peter Jablonski
- Andrei Korobeinikov
- Sofya Gulyak
- Piers Lane
- John Lenehan
- John Lill
- Malcolm Martineau
- Alexander Romanovsky
- Howard Shelley
- Kathryn Stott
- Melvyn Tan
- Roger Vignoles
- Jane Chapman
- Sophie Yates
- Nicholas Danby
- Peter Hurford
- Nicholas Kynaston
- Wayne Marshall
- Jane Parker-Smith
- Gordon Stewart
- Thomas Trotter
- Jane Watts
- Dame Gillian Weir
Postgraduate collaborative piano
Principal study in collaborative piano (available at postgraduate level only) is designed to explore and develop all aspects of a pianist's skills as a collaborative artist with a focus on the vocal and instrumental duo repertoire. Students enjoy regular group classes with internationally renowned pianist Roger Vignoles as well as a generous allocation of time each week with their one-to-one professor.
In addition students will receive tuition to develop the many skills required of a collaborative artist, including:
- Chamber Music
- Vocal coaching
- Orchestral piano
- Ballet piano
- Musical Theatre piano
- Harpsichord and continuo
Students of collaborative piano enjoy close links with instrumental faculties at the RCM as well as the RCM Opera Studio. Our collaborative piano students play for song classes and projects, weekly language classes and have the opportunity to play for Opera scenes. Externally, students have been involved in projects with Leeds Lieder and Oxford Lieder Festivals as well as observing rehearsals and receiving guidance from pianists at the Royal Ballet and Royal Opera at the Royal Opera House.
Recent student and alumni successes include prizes in the following national and international competitions:
Yuanfan Yang: 2020 Royal Overseas League Competition
Marie Otaka: 2020 28th “Gianluca Campochiaro” International Music Competition: Chamber Music Category
Avishka Edirisinghe: 2020 Association of English Singers and Speakers, Courtney Kenny Award, Pianist’s Prize
Hamish Brown: 2019 Wigmore Hall International Song Competition Britten Pears Young Artist Prize, 2019 National Mozart Singing Competition
Ella O’Neill: 2019 Kathleen Ferrier Competition, Accompanists’ Prize
Ana Manastireanu: 2019 Maureen Lehane Vocal Award, Accompanist Prize
Ian Tindale: 2019 International Vocal Competition ‘s-Hertogenbosch, 2017 Wigmore Hall/Kohn Foundation International Song Competition, 2016 Kathleen Ferrier Competition, 2015 Royal Overseas League Competition, 2013 Maggie Teyte Competition, 2013, Association of English Singers and Speakers, 2012 Gerald Moore Award
João Pontes de Araujo: 2018 Concours Musical International de Montréal, 2017 Maureen Lehane Vocal Awards
Gamal Khamis: 2017 Kathleen Ferrier Competition, 2017 Royal Overseas League Competition
The RCM boasts a number of renowned alumni and former teaching staff, celebrated for their song accompaniment and collaborative work, including Benjamin Britten, Geoffrey Parsons, Julius Drake, Malcolm Martineau, Kathryn Stott, Katya Apekisheva and Alasdair Beatson.
Postgraduate contemporary piano
Principal study in contemporary piano provides you with the opportunity to expand your repertoire interests. As a complement to your principal study, you will take part in workshops on subjects such as minimalism and post minimalism, prepared piano, aleatoric music and improvisation.
You will work alongside staff and student composers in preparing pieces for concert performance. Students of contemporary piano have the chance to develop orchestral piano playing, duo and ensemble playing, as well as solo performance.
The RCM’s Creative Careers Centre, which is recognised internationally for its innovative approach to supporting young musicians, provides an unparalleled service to current students and recent alumni. The dedicated team partners with leading consultants, reputable arts organisations and local communities, delivering unique career-building opportunities and a direct route to the music industry.
The work of the Creative Careers Centre allows students to discover their professional identity, gain hands-on experience and new skills, develop an entrepreneurial mind-set and build a fulfilling professional portfolio.
Extensive performance and teaching opportunities are available, as well as valuable guidance on CV and biography writing, concert programming, communication skills, project management, marketing and publicity, online promotion, financial matters and how to develop a business idea.
We continually invest in our facilities to ensure RCM students have the very best opportunities. Our impressive performance spaces are matched by top-quality academic and technical provisions, such as our historic library and professional grade studios. The Royal College of Music is proud to offer some of the finest facilities anywhere in the world.
The RCM has three major performance spaces. The Amaryllis Fleming Concert Hall which has an illustrious history and is the primary performance venue for RCM orchestras and large ensembles. Our 400-seat Britten Theatre boasts excellent technical facilities for the RCM’s thriving International Opera School. The Performance Hall offers an alternative space for ensemble performances and orchestral rehearsals. It boasts a retractable stage, a Fazioli grand piano, comprehensive technical infrastructure and variable acoustics, providing versatility for the range of events staged by the College.
In addition, more intimate spaces for solo and chamber performance include the Performance Studio and The Parry Rooms, which have unparalleled views of the Royal Albert Hall, and our 100-seat Recital Hall.
As well as practice rooms and space for one-to-one and group teaching, the RCM contains dedicated opera rehearsal spaces, a number of sound-proofed Amadeus Music Pods and organ rooms. We have over 160 pianos, including 60 grand pianos and 20 early keyboards, and a recently opened Blüthner Practice Suite which holds ten Blüthner pianos, instrument storage with special facilities for harps and double basses, plus in-house instrument workshops.
RCM Studios is a commercial-grade facility, equipped with professional audio, video and composition technologies, supporting the RCM’s recording needs and enabling live broadcast of performances around the world.
The RCM Library contains more than 400,000 scores, books and recordings in its lending collection, plus access to more than 400 music journals. The library also subscribes to many online resources including Oxford Music Online, Naxos Music Library, JSTOR, Met Online and the Berlin Philharmonic Digital Concert Hall. In addition, the RCM also boasts an internationally renowned collection of original manuscripts (including examples from Mozart and Elgar) early printed editions and archives. Our musicians also have access to thousands of scores online through our partnership with nkoda, and Henle digital sheet music.
The RCM Museum holds more than 15,000 instruments dating from the late 15th century to the present day, some of which are the earliest known examples of their kind. The collection is a unique resource and many of the instruments in the collection can be studied or played by RCM students. The RCM Museum is currently closed for refurbishment but will will re-open later in 2021.
Latest from the Keyboard Faculty
Royal College of Music named top institution for performing arts in the UK for sixth consecutive year and top in Europe.
Members of the Royal College of Music community have been recognised in the Queen’s New Year’s Honours List.
The RCM is delighted to have received a gift of ten Blüthner Model A upright pianos from the Alfred-Reinhold-Foundation.
Outstanding pianist Martin James Bartlett has been announced as the recipient of the Benjamin Britten Piano Fellowship for 2020–21, awarded by the Royal College of Music (RCM) and generously supported by the Philip Loubser Foundation (PLF).
The Royal College of Music has launched its autumn events season for 2020, including the first performances in its brand-new Performance Hall.
Please note that the audition and application process for Fellowships is not the same as it is for our courses. Please refer to the individual Fellowship pages for more details.
Contact the Keyboard Faculty
If you have any general queries about keyboard at the RCM please contact our Keyboard Faculty Administration team. If you have any queries about auditions or the admissions process, please contact our Admissions team.
Keyboard Faculty Administration
General enquiries about the operation of the faculty and consultation lessons
Admissions and general audition enquiries