About the project

Arco is an innovative alliance, established in 2015 between Royal Birmingham Conservatoire and Morris Isaacson Centre for Music, an inspiring institution in Soweto, Johannesburg, South Africa.

Arco provides regular distance-learning opportunities for talented children in South Africa, who for multiple reasons, do not have access to the same level of musical education as students in the U.K.

Weekly individual instrumental lessons, mentoring and string quartet coaching are delivered by a group of current students and recent graduates from Royal Birmingham Conservatoire via video conferencing system, ZOOM. Regular events occurring within Royal Birmingham Conservatoires String Department, such as masterclasses, workshops and performances are streamed live to South Africa for the benefit of the MICM students. Throughout the year, Arco teachers from the UK travel to South Africa for ARCO festivals - an immersive musical experience, building on and solidifying skills learnt throughout the year.

Arco Festival

The Arco Festival is an immersive musical experience in South Africa, building on and solidifying skills learnt throughout the year. To date there has been 10 festivals between 2016 - 19 with more in planning. It has seen over 50 RBC staff and students lead an intensive week of string tuition and pedagogy. In total there has been attendance by over 50 past and present ARCO students.

Arco Exchange

2017 saw the launch of Arco Exchange, with selected Arco students being hosted in the UK. ARCO has forged links with many festivals and courses across Europe and within South Africa in some of the most fantastic learning environments, in order to facilitate the attendance of our hard-working ARCO MICM students.

The project has recently facilitated the inaugural national exchange. This enabled all Morris Isaacson Centre for Music ARCO students to partake in an exchange trip to Rustenburg Girls High School in Cape Town with performances at the world famous V&A Waterfront. This included orchestral workshops, collaborative rehearsal, and the sharing of ideas between like-minded young South African musicians.

With thanks to Arco supporters:

In South Africa

In South Africa: Anglo Gold Ashanti, Embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany in Pretoria, Goethe-Institut South Africa, Rupert Foundation and The Quartet of Peace

In the U.K.

Royal Birmingham Conservatoire, Birmingham City University, Louise Lansdown, Lucy Nolan, Peggy Nolan, Rosie O’Callaghan, Duncan Fielden, Jan Smaczny, Kirstie Lovie, Oliver Wille, Tamsin Waley-Cohen, Jiafeng Chen, Matthew Johnstone, Alistair Rutherford, Claudia Dehnke, Emily Dore, Jack Gillett, Lieva Starker, Eileen Smith, Elsabe Raath, Maria Parfitt, Toby Holden, Martha Evans, Griffith Wadkin, Ursula Miethe, Orlando Corea, Philip Aird, Harry Broom, Chethams School of Music - Stephen Threlfall, Nicholas Jones, Jan Repko.

Join us on social media!

Facebook Page
Like us on Facebook
Follow us on Twitter
Follow us on Instagram

Make a contribution

All donations are gratefully received and help us to continue our work. For more information, please visit our JustGiving page or make a donation below.