RBC Principal visits China

Stephen Maddock in China

Principal Stephen Maddock shares a message as he completes his first six months in post, reflecting on his recent visit to China and looking ahead in the lead-up to Christmas.

This week I passed my first half-anniversary at RBC, and what a packed six months it has been!

Just this week we have hosted conferences for Making Music and the Jazz Promotion Network, and I have seen jazz legends of todayTim Hagans and tomorrow our brilliant current students and some exceptional alumni performing in Eastside Jazz Club and the Bradshaw Hall.

Last Friday night, by complete contrast, I saw the Chamber Choir and Jeffrey Skidmore give a superb rendition of Monteverdi’s Vespers. And this evening (Friday 3 November), I will be back in the Bradshaw Hall to hear the RBC Symphony Orchestra playing an exciting programme of 20th/21st century music by Anna Meredith, Shostakovich and Debussy, under the baton of RBC alumnus Michael Seal. And there have been many other events that I have not been able to get to, too!

Beyond our concert stages, the whole team has been working hard to prepare for our auditions over the next fortnight. Our overall number of Music applications for 2024 is at its highest level for more than seven years, with a continuation of the growth we have seen in recent years from international applicants. We know that there is fierce competition for the best students, so it is a credit to our track record as an institution that these numbers continue to grow. Good luck to all musicians auditioning this month.

Speaking of our international connections, we have a well-established and very productive relationship with the best Conservatoires in China, and I was delighted to be able to pay a visit to four of these last month.

I attended the conference of the Global Music Education League in Beijing, where I met principals from major music colleges around the world, and I also visited partner institutions in Beijing, Shanghai and Hangzhou. The scale of Chinese investment in music teaching is quite astonishing, and rather inspiring to those of us who have had to fight for every penny in the UK and elsewhere. I was also delighted to have the opportunity to give lectures to the Arts Management students in each college. Next week, I will be representing RBC at the Association of European Conservatoires conference in The Hague.

Looking at the next few weeks up until Christmas, there are plenty more exciting events taking place in our five performance venues across the RBC building, as well as offsite productions by our Acting students. And if you would like to hear our Symphony Orchestra, there is another opportunity to hear Debussy’s La Mer at Symphony Hall on Wednesday 22 November. I hope to see you at one, or even several, of these events!

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