Chamber Music is of central importance in the development of musicianship, ensemble skills, communication and rehearsal skills, as well as stylistic awareness and the development of a versatile technique. The skills learnt through chamber music are likely to form a core part of a career as a professional musician: professional orchestras are always on the lookout for musicians with good chamber music experience. Pianists will almost certainly collaborate in their professional lives, as ensemble players, song accompanists, concerto soloists or in an orchestra. As such, it takes a core place in Conservatoire life.
All string players will be helped to form chamber music ensembles and will receive mentoring and coaching as well as regular opportunities to perform. For string players and pianists in BMus years 1-3, chamber music is assessed as part of the curriculum, whilst students from other departments regularly participate in collaborative chamber music projects.
The Conservatoire has on its staff some of the most experienced chamber music players and coaches in the country and internationally.
Our students have worked closely with the Castalian Quartet for several years.
In addition, there are masterclasses and coaching opportunities from visiting groups, often when they are performing at Birmingham Town Hall, or as part of the Conservatoire's own festivals. Recent musicians to do this include the Belcea, Solem, Navarra, Heath and Carducci Quartets, Christoph Richter, the Capucon Brothers, and members of the Gould, Linos, Leonore and London Bridge Trios.
We also believe in providing a range of side-by-side opportunities throughout the year to enable a variety of students to play alongside experienced chamber musicians.
Ensembles from RBC regularly perform in a variety of external venues, especially around the West Midlands, but many students also give performances much further afield. Students are also encouraged to bring chamber music activities into educational projects and to include chamber music as part of workshop visits and student placements.
Chamber Music Festivals
2022 saw the second edition of the Birmingham International Piano Chamber Music Festival and Competition at RBC. Ensembles from Hungary, Denmark and the UK were selected to give recitals in Birmingham, alongside Conservatoire students and competition jury members. February 2023 also saw a festival which involved multiple collaborations with the Castalian Quartet.
In February 2024, there will be a festival focussing on chamber music works with period pianos with further chamber music events planned in November, and a celebration of chamber music by Beethoven in June 2024. These events will combine student and professional performances as well as workshops and masterclasses.