Meet our Head of Strings, Nicholas Trygstad

Nick Trygstad is Head of Strings at Royal Birmingham Conservatoire.

Find out more about his responsibilities and career success, and what he enjoys about his role at RBC.

Nick Trygstad

What is your ethos for the department?

It is so important to be open, curious and adventurous. Learning is a process with no fixed route or destination—it’s about loving the journey. We are all here to learn from each other, staff and students together. We live this creative process through our lessons, rehearsals and performances and this makes it an exciting place to grow!

What do you look for in musicians auditioning to join your department?

I am looking for curiosity, a love of learning and a desire to communicate to others.

Do you perform outside of teaching?

I do continue to play with Manchester Collective, guest lead orchestras and play solo and chamber music recitals. I hope to perform frequently at RBC with students and staff!

What are your main responsibilities as Head of Department?

My main job is to make sure everyone has the support they need to flourish, and be surprised by new, challenging and stimulating experiences. Art is about trying new things all the time, and the joy of discovering we like things we didn’t know existed.

What have been your career highlights so far?

I have enjoyed so much it’s too hard to pick! So if pressed, my greatest highlight would have to be getting to know the symphonic works of Edward Elgar. I will always be so grateful to the Hallé and Sir Mark Elder for the opportunity to live with these masterpieces.

How did you come to your current role, what have you done before Royal Birmingham Conservatoire (RBC)?

When I finished studying at the Royal Northern College of Music with Hannah Roberts and Ralph Kirshbaum, I accepted the principal cello job with the Orchestra of Scottish Opera, and shortly afterwards became principal cello of Manchester’s Hallé Orchestra, a position I held for over 18 years. Alongside my performing I have also taught at the RNCM for over 15 years, and it is my love of teaching and learning that attracted me to RBC.

How would you describe your team in the department?

I think the team has a really diverse range of experience, despite most of us being cellists. The music profession has so many facets and our team is equipped to prepare our students for all aspects of the industry.

What is your favourite thing about working at Royal Birmingham Conservatoire?

RBC staff and students are so open minded, curious, and passionate about music. I find it such an inspiring place to work.

What do you think sets RBC apart from other conservatoires?

RBC has such fantastic new facilities, and a fresh outlook and curriculum to match. We prepare our students to address the challenges and make the most of the opportunities in the music profession.

What do you think are the greatest challenges facing new music students?

The music profession needs musicians who have a range of skills, from composing to arranging, to teaching and presenting, as well as administration and promoting. It’s not enough for anyone to only be an excellent instrumentalist, because that alone will not address the needs of the communities we live and work in, and the diverse audiences we play for.

What can prospective students look forward to the most when they join your department/Royal Birmingham Conservatoire?

My goal is that every student loves the journey of learning. That journey is filled with wonder and surprises that will take you places and teach you things you cannot imagine. We will challenge you and push you out of your comfort zone, but it’s going to be so exciting!

Find out more about our Strings Department