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Headshots of Marie Lloyd and Jason Evans, two new Heads of Faculty

Updates Autumn 2022

Staff updates

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This term, our academic staff have continued to engage in many high-profile projects, and the College has been fortunate to welcome several new members to the roster of world-renowned professionals.

New Heads of Faculty

Two new Heads of Faculty took up their posts this term, with Jason Evans as Head of Brass, and Marie Lloyd as Head of Woodwind (both pictured above).

Jason Evans has been a professor of trumpet at the RCM since 2016. He is principal trumpet of the Philharmonia Orchestra and is in demand as a guest principal with many other ensembles. Read more in our news item.

Clarinettist Marie Lloyd is a passionate educator who is on the Chamber Orchestra of Europe Academy staff. She regularly performs as a guest principal clarinet and E flat clarinettist throughout the UK, and as a chamber musician she plays with the Nash Ensemble. Read more here.

Jason and Marie succeed Nigel Black and Simon Channing, respectively, who stepped down from their roles in August after many years. Read more about Nigel and Simon’s time at College in the summer edition of Upbeat magazine.

Other changes to academic staff

This term, we were also joined by Professor Robert Adlington as Head of Research. Robert joined the RCM from the University of Huddersfield, where he held the Queen’s Anniversary Prize Chair in Contemporary Music, and his research focuses on avant-garde and experimental music since 1960.

Professor Mark Bowden also took up his post as Head of Postgraduate Taught Programmes. Previously Professor of Composition at Royal Holloway, University of London, Mark’s work has received a Royal Philharmonic Society Composition Prize, a British Composer Award and an Ivor Novello Award nomination. Read more about Robert and Mark here.

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Dr Christina Guillaumier will be stepping down as Head of Undergraduate Programmes at the end of Autumn Term to focus on her research. Over the last seven years Christina has been instrumental in developing and innovating the College’s undergraduate curriculum, including the RCM’s online learning environment, Learn.rcm. Christina will continue on a fractional contract as Reader in Music and Cultural Practice, supervising doctoral students as well as contributing to research-led teaching.

Also leaving the College at the end of this term is Dr Wiebke Thormählen, who will take up a new post as Director of Research at the Royal Northern College of Music. Since joining the College in 2013, Wiebke has worked tirelessly to transform the College’s music history curriculum, introducing innovative models of blended delivery and more inclusive approaches to curriculum content and assessment.

Industry appointments

Jazz professor Mark Armstrong has been appointed a Chief Examiner for the ABRSM. As part of this new role, he hopes to talk to current students and professors about their experiences and find new ways that the Associated Board can support progression at the RCM.

Conductor and RCM opera coach Natalie Murray Beale has been the music consultant and conducting supervisor on the newly premiered film, TÁR, starring Cate Blanchett as Lydia Tár, the fictional first female chief conductor of a leading German orchestra. Natalie was Cate Blanchett's conducting and piano coach, as well as consultant to Cate and three-time Oscar nominated director, Todd Field. Natalie also appears on the Deutsche Grammophon concept album based on the film. Watch a CBS News feature on the film.

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RCM alumna Emily Sun, who has recently joined the String Faculty as a violin professor, has been appointed Adelaide Symphony Orchestra’s Artist in Association for 2023.

Notable appearances and performances

Jazz violin professor Christian Garrick has given several performances in the UK and abroad this autumn, including as violin and electric violin soloist with the Helsinki Philharmonic in October; leading the Budapest Café Orchestra in shows across the UK; and appearing in the evening concert as part of the RCM Guitar Festival celebrating Julian Bream.

Vocal studies professor Justin Lavender is co-founder and musical director of Arcadian Opera, a Buckinghamshire-based opera company which often features RCM alumni and students, giving them early professional experience. A production of Gounod’s Faust in October included recent alumnus Richard James, and current students Heming Li and Charlie Baigent.

Professor Simon Rowland-Jones gave a talk to Friends of the Wigmore Hall in September, exploring Britten's string quartets as part of the venue’s Britten Plus series.

Several RCM professors were represented in this year’s BBC Proms. Dr Mark-Anthony Turnage’s Time Flies received its UK premiere on 15 August, and on 29 August, Collaborative Piano professor Simon Lepper accompanied a programme of songs by RCM composers including Clarke, Horovitz, Vaughan Williams and a new work by composition professor Errollyn Wallen.

The Staatstheater Meiningen in Germany will be staging Bizet’s Ivan IV in 2023, which was completed by postgraduate professor of conducting Howard Williams. Bizet’s largest work, the opera was previously a shortened four-act version. Howard’s completion of the final act reused material from earlier in the opera and was first performed under his baton in Montpellier in the 1990s.

Howard also conducted Berlioz’s Grande messe des morts in November in the Budapest MÜPA, with the Hungarian National Philharmonic Orchestra and Chorus, the Hungarian Radio Choir and Honvéd Male Voice Choir, with English tenor Andrew Staples.

New commissions and albums

RCM Junior Department viola teacher Sarah-Jane Bradley has released an album on the Dutton label, English Music for Viola and Piano, with pianist John Lenehan. The CD is an entire programme of world premiere recordings of pieces from the mid-20th century. The album has been described as ‘an absorbing album of neglected repertoire’ by Gramophone and received four stars from BBC Music Magazine.

RCMJD Symphony Orchestra conductor Jacques Cohen has released a new CD of his own choral music on the ICSM label. Jacques Cohen’s Carols features the Oxford Camerata and has been praised as ‘a cracking collection’ by The Arts Desk. Jacques' new oratorio, Creation, is also being performed at St Giles Cripplegate near the Barbican in March.

Violin professor Madeleine Mitchell has commissioned a new piece by RCM composition professor Errollyn Wallen titled Sojourner Truth. The new work will appear on Madeleine’s forthcoming album and in a film – find out more in the trailer below.

Books and publications

Academic Programmes professor Dr Carola Darwin has signed a contract with Equinox Publishing to write a book entitled: The Other Voice: Women's Musical Creativity in Alma Mahler's Vienna. Drawing on Carola's work for BBC Radio 3's Forgotten Women Composers project, the book discusses the lives and works of a group of women musicians who lived in Vienna in the early 20th century. The book will form part of a series on Women in Music, edited by Anna Beer, and is due for submission in March 2024.

Alexander Technique professor Judith Kleinman has released a new book, Finding Quiet Strength. Integrating Alexander Technique with Chi Kung and Tai Chi, the book is a practical philosophy that enables a calm, confident, and coordinated approach to life, helping readers to be centred, grounded and develop a sense of poise and equilibrium. Find out more here.

Research into musical care by Reader in Performance Science Dr Neta Spiro, alongside Dr Katie Rose M Sanflippo, is exploring how music listening and music-making support developmental or health needs, from physical and mental health to behavioural development. They have published a co-edited book, Collaborative Insights, with a series of accompanying videos available on their website. This work is connected to a new BMus course that Neta will be launching with Professor Rosie Perkins in the Spring Term. 

And if you’re a member of the National Trust, you might have spotted Dr Wiebke Thormählen in their autumn magazine, as part of a feature on bringing music back to country houses.


Send your updates for the Spring 2023 online edition of Upbeat to news@rcm.ac.uk by Friday 27 January.