Director of Undergraduate Studies (Music)
Royal Birmingham Conservatoire
Duncan Fielden began his musical life as a boy treble with solo roles at Covent Garden, and in many other concerts at London venues, including the Royal Albert Hall, Festival Hall and the Barbican.
My substantive role is as the Director of Undergraduate Studies in Music at Royal Birmingham Conservatoire. My mission is to help our students — whether they are from our performance, composition, music technology, or jazz pathways — tailor precisely their own personal musical journey, and emerge after four years as the best and most rounded music-industry professional they possibly can be.
Journey to BCU
I was lucky enough to begin my musical life very early, landing a solo role at Royal Opera House aged just 14 — Peaseblossom in Britten’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream. This enormously lucky opportunity opened up a life-time interest in not just Britten’s music, but also that of Sir Michael Tippett, with whom I have been somewhat obsessed since around that age. I have over the years collected many interesting scores, letters and associated literature, some of which is not even in the British Library I’m told!
Historically, I have worked as a choral conductor with several choirs in the region, including deputizing at St Chad’s Cathedral, though now my time is fully devoted to my students in RBC. I have also been a Concerto Circle supporter of the CBSO.
Projects of note
Many moons ago, I created a performing edition of Alessandro Stradella’s San Giovanni Battista for an opera company I was running at the time with the artistic director, John La Bouchardière — we were privileged enough to have a very young Carolyn Sampson in the role of Salome. I’m very pleased to say that it has had several outings since with other companies and colleges, and I’m thrilled by that, because in my view the music and drama combination is exceptionally well-judged, and all from the pen of an interesting (if occasionally overlooked) composer who ended up being assassinated at the age of 42!