To mark 25 years as President of the Royal College of Music (RCM), HRH The Prince of Wales today honoured some of those who have made important contributions to music in a ceremony at the conservatoire’s South Kensington home.
Celebrated pianist Sir András Schiff was awarded an Honorary Doctorate having given several masterclasses at the RCM in recent years. Sir András has worked with most major international orchestras and conductors and won numerous international honours. In 1999 he founded the Cappella Andrea Barca orchestra which brought together some of the finest musicians from around the world.
British pianist Nicholas McCarthy was made an HonRCM, having enjoyed a flourishing career since becoming the first one-handed pianist to graduate from the RCM in 2012. Nicholas said: ‘I am delighted to be recognised as an honorary member of the Royal College of Music. I hope this recognition will serve as a positive example for other disabled musicians and help me in my continuing campaign to get more disabled musicians into the arts.’
Pioneering genetic scientist Professor Lord Winston, who has led important breakthroughs in IVF treatment, was made a Fellow of the RCM (FRCM). A lover of music, Lord Winston was Chairman of the RCM for ten years and recently made Vice President of the College by HRH The Prince of Wales. On receiving his Fellowship, Professor Lord Robert Winston said: ‘I am passionate about the Royal College of Music and immensely proud to be honoured in today’s ceremony. As Vice President of the College and now Fellow, I look forward to my continued association with the RCM for many years to come and remain committed to an institution which nurtures the most exceptional musical talent from across the globe.’
One of UK radio’s most beloved personalities Sean Rafferty MBE was made an HonRCM. Sean has been presenting BBC Radio 3’s flagship musical programme, In Tune, for 20 years. He has been chairman of Opera Theatre Company, Dublin, which tours all over the world and is currently patron of Northern Ireland Opera and Belfast Music Society.
Victoria, Lady Robey OBE, founder of the charity London Music Masters – which works to ensure that every child has access to extraordinary music – and member of the RCM Council from 2007–2017 was also honoured.
HRH The Prince of Wales heard the RCM’s new organ for the first time during today’s ceremony. The organ, designed and built by Flentrop Orgelbouw as part of the College’s transformative More Music development, is an exceptional facility for RCM students. HRH The Prince of Wales heard RCM alumnus Sir Hubert Parry’s Chorale Prelude on ‘St. Ann’s’ performed on the new organ by RCM professor in charge of organ, David Graham. Fourth year RCM organist Laurence Long further demonstrated the versatility of the new instrument with a performance of Wachet auf, ruft uns die Stimme (BWV 645) by J S Bach.
The concert also featured performances from exceptional recent graduates: recorder player and Queen Elizabeth Rose Bowl recipient Katie Cowling, bass-baritone Julien Van Mallaerts and violist Bryony Gibson-Cornish, recipients of the prestigious Tragore Gold Medals. Composer and pianist Eduardo Andrade, an RCM scholar who has scored 25 projects internationally in the past two years, was the recipient of the President’s Award. As a pianist Eduardo has been a soloist in his native Mexico and will have his British debut at Cadogan Hall in May 2018. Katie Cowling performs regularly with recorder quartet BLOCK4, winners of the 2014 Royal Overseas League Ensemble competition, whilst RCM Viola Competition winner Bryony Gibson-Cornish recently joined the award-winning Marmen Quartet. Julien Van Mallaerts won first prize at the 2017 Wigmore Hall/Kohn Foundation International Song Competition and first prize in the 2017 Kathleen Ferrier Award. He is soon to make his debut with the Royal Ballet at the Barbican.
Professor Colin Lawson CBE, Director of the Royal College of Music, said: ‘The annual visit by our President, HRH The Prince of Wales, is a highlight of the Royal College of Music calendar. I am delighted to welcome him in this anniversary year to hear the magnificent new organ and honour the individuals who have made important contributions to the RCM and wider musical community.’
In 25 years as President of the Royal College of Music, HRH The Prince of Wales has honoured some of the music industry’s most eminent figures. Internationally renowned performers Vladimir Ashkenazy, Dame Kiri Te Kanawa and Lang Lang have received Honorary Doctorates, along with composers Andrew Lloyd Webber and Steve Reich. Violinist Nicola Benedetti, conductor John Wilson and songwriter and keyboardist Rick Wakeman have all been honoured with Fellowships.
The RCM organ is named in recognition of James Zheng Huang HonRCM.