Venezuelan conductor Rafael Payare joins the Royal College of Music (RCM) on 31 January 2019 to direct a thrilling evening of symphonic poetry, including Strauss’ musical portrait of a hero, Ein Heldenleben. Payare is a graduate of the world-famous El Sistema music programme and Chief Conductor of the Ulster Orchestra.

Internationally acclaimed violinist and conductor Thomas Zehetmair leads the RCM Symphony Orchestra in Dvořak’s Symphony no 8 and Mozart’s Sinfonia Concertante on 22 March. Zehetmair is a highly sought-after orchestra leader and Principal Conductor of the Musikkollegium Winterthur. There is more Dvořák on 7 March, alongside Czech showpieces from Janáček and Smetana. Directed by Peter Stark, the concert follows 100 years of Czech independence in 2018.

The RCM celebrates International Women’s Day on 8 March with a concert of songs by female composers including Amy Beach and Cécile Chaminade and the world premiere of a new work by RCM composer Zoë Darbyshire. Celebrated RCM alumnae Anna Meredith, Helen Grime and Charlotte Bray also feature. On 16 February, Dr Angela Slater brings her fascinating concert series Illuminate to the RCM with an afternoon dedicated to the inspirational work of both emerging and established female composers. This year’s Keyboard Festival on 10 March celebrates the life and music of Clara Schumann.

Visiting artists this season include Maxim Vengerov, the RCM’s Polonsky Visiting Professor of Violin, RCM alumni Alina Ibragimova and Gerald Finley, Edith Wiens and Stefan Dohr, all of whom give intimate masterclasses. The RCM’s Quartet in Residence, the Grammy Award-winning Harlem Quartet, returns to close the RCM’s Chamber Music Festival on 16 February. Holly Mathieson conducts Tchaikovsky on 7 February and Martyn Brabbins directs The Firebird Suite on 10 January. Alumnus Nicholas McCarthy gives a talk on being an internationally successful one-handed pianist and the annual Crees Lecture is given by Dr Christina Guillaumier, who explores the challenges and opportunities faced in educating the musicians of tomorrow.

The Gift of Music series returns on 20 February, celebrating a donation of over 1,000 intimate musician portraits by eminent German artist Milein Cosman to the RCM Museum. The specially curated programme includes works by some of the renowned musicians Cosman sketched alongside talks and portraits on display. Another treasure from the RCM collections, Anne Boleyn’s Music Book, is celebrated on 20 March.

Bill Bankes-Jones directs Offenbach’s Robinson Crusoe in March, bringing the light-hearted love story to the Britten Theatre stage in the composer’s 200th birthday year. The opera is full of swashbuckling sea songs and maritime melodies and is loosely based on Daniel Defoe’s classic novel, which is 300 years old in 2019.

General booking for the Royal College of Music’s Spring Season opens on Wednesday 12 December 2018. For full details of what’s on this spring visit, call the RCM Box Office on 020 7591 4314, or visit the RCM in person on Prince Consort Road, SW7.


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