The Royal College of Music has today announced its summer 2017 season with the launch of a three-year residency by the Grammy Award-winning Harlem Quartet. The New York-based ensemble, renowned for their genre-crossing approach, will begin their tenure as Quartet in Residence by performing in the Royal College of Music’s annual Super String Sunday extravaganza. The ensemble will also host their own concert, performing innovative arrangements of jazz standards alongside the last of Beethoven’s Rasumovsky quartets. During their residency, the Harlem Quartet will work with and coach students.
The RCM also welcomes a host of internationally acclaimed musicians to share their vast knowledge and experience in an exciting masterclass series, including violin virtuoso Maxim Vengerov (Polonsky Visiting Professor of Violin) and distinguished flautist James Galway. There will also be the opportunity to hear Darren Henley, Chief Executive of Arts Council England, discuss investment in culture in the UK as part of an engaging programme of talks and seminars.
Veteran Proms conductor Jac van Steen returns this season to lead the RCM Symphony Orchestra in performances of Bartók’s virtuosic Concerto for Orchestra and Dvořák’s enduring Cello Concerto. Also in May, Rafael Payare, Chief Conductor of the Ulster Orchestra, will make his first visit to the RCM to conduct Shostakovich’s defiant Tenth Symphony.
The RCM Festival of Percussion is back with a special guest, international rock, jazz, funk and fusion drummer Benny Greb. Celebrating all things percussion with a whole day of performances and workshops, the RCM will also offer visitors the exclusive opportunity to try out its state-of-the-art performance simulator. There will be a trade fair featuring leading UK instrument manufactures and Brazilian workshops with The Lion King percussionist Damien Manning. Performances from top percussion quartet Armadinda, O Duo with the Band of the Royal Air Force Regiment and the RCM Big Band with Benny Greb complete the day of celebration.
There will be ground-breaking performances with the return of the student-led Great Exhibitionists series. These multi-genre events are a mixture of contemporary dance, music and surround-sound live experiences. Each of the five concerts in the series will take up the spirit of the 1851 Great Exhibition, enticing audiences with innovative and unusual music-making.
The RCM International Opera School stages two productions in the summer, presenting Poulenc’s Les mamelles de Tirésias alongside Chabrier’s Une éducation manqué. This double-bill of French comic operas, led by acclaimed theatre director Stephen Unwin, will round-off our summer season, each opera in its own way casting a bizarre and witty look into the stories of a husband and wife.
As well as all of this exciting activity at the College’s historic home in South Kensington, RCM students will be performing at two other prestigious London venues this season. There will be a new series at Cadogan Hall with a range of chamber music concerts around an Austro-Hungarian theme and a programme of string music inspired by dance themes at Wigmore Hall.