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The Guitar and Harp Department at RCS is structured to directly reflect musical realities in the 21st century. Most successful musicians live varied musical lives; it is our desire to prepare you for the profession and we feel you must acquire as broad a range of skills as possible in order to become excellent musicians and interesting, expressive artists.
Weekly individual, group tuition, chamber music and orchestral performance are a focal point of the newly formed department. Regular collaborations with composers in creating new repertoire, side-by-side opportunities with all of Scotland’s national orchestras, classes in technique and performance practice, history and repertoire, improvisation, business skills, techniques of teaching, alongside regular masterclasses with visiting international soloists all are integral to the development of an aspiring and versatile musician.
The Guitar and Harp department consists of an exciting, forward-looking team of lecturers, who are all experienced soloists, chamber musicians, orchestral players and teachers in their own right. They are on hand to give invaluable advice and tuition drawing from their own experience of life as professional musicians.
In each year of the undergraduate course, students will have regular opportunities to play in weekly performance classes, participate in masterclasses, showcase concerts and festival events, including Guitar Digifest, Big Guitar Weekend and RCS’s contemporary Plug Festival.
Classes in technique, performance practice, repertoire and, of course, chamber music run throughout the year enhancing learning and developing the performer.
There are many opportunities to perform either as a soloist or as a chamber musician. We also encourage students to take part in competitions and play in student ensembles, both within RCS and externally. You will also have the chance to collaborate with other artists across RCS including actors, musical theatre performers and dancers. Our contemporary music festival, Plug, provides the perfect opportunity to work with emerging composers.
The Guitar and Harp department also offer prestigious concerto opportunities to students to perform with the Royal Scottish National Orchestra, BBC SSO as well as the RCS Symphony Orchestra. We enjoy close collaborations with distinguished teaching artists from around the world, including our Associate artist in guitar – Paul Galbraith and harpists Ruth Potter and Karen Vaughan, amongst many others.
Guitar and Harp graduates have gone on to further study in the US and Europe, become heads of university departments, International concert solo artists, orchestral principal harpists, teachers in private practice and festival directors.
Guitar alumni include:
Sean Shibe – the first guitarist to be admitted to the prestigious BBC New Generation Artists Scheme and the only solo guitarist to have received a Borletti-Buitoni Fellowship. In 2009 Sean won first prize in the Ivor Mairants Guitar Award of the Worshipful Company of Musicians and in 2011 he became only the second guitarist ever to win the Royal Over-Seas League first prize and gold medal. Nominated for a BBC Music Magazine Award for his recent album Dreams and Fancies, which debuted at No.3 in the Classical Album Chart. In 2018 he received the RPS ‘Young Artists Prize’.
Laura Husbands received a full scholarship to complete an Artist Diploma at Lamont University, Colorado 2009. In June 2011 she received an Artist Diploma in classical guitar performance as well as Lamont’s Outstanding Graduate in Performance Award. Laura Husbands was the winner of the Denver Classical Guitar Society 2010 Debut Competition and the 2011 Portland International Guitar Competition.
Marek Pasieczny is one of the most popular contemporary polish composers and guitarists of his generation. He completed a Masters in Guitar Performance with distinction as well as in Composition, first studying at Karol Lipinski Academy of Music in Wroclaw under Professor Piotr Zaleski, and then RCS. Established as a successful performer, composer and teacher, his career has taken him all over the world.
Harp alumni include:
In November, RCS hosted Guitar Digifest; a two day online festiveal of all things classical guitar. From competitions to masterclasses, showcases and concerts.
Here is a showcase of some of our current students performing.
The Royal Conservatoire of Scotland is in the World Top 10 for performing arts education 2016, 2017, 2018, 2020 and 2021 (QS World Rankings)
The Guitar and Harp department also offer prestigious concerto opportunities to students to perform with the Royal Scottish National Orchestra, BBC SSO as well as the RCS Symphony Orchestra. We enjoy close collaborations with distinguished teaching artists from around the world, including our Associate artist in guitar – Paul Galbraith and harpists Ruth Potter & Karen Vaughan, amongst many others.