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Brass Department (Postgraduate)

Our Brass department offers a wide ranging and inclusive learning experience, where you will experience lessons, ensemble coaching, and frequent performance opportunities. Performance opportunities include in a variety of groups such as Brass Ensembles, Wind, Opera, Musical Theatre and Symphony Orchestras as well as side-by-side with the foremost professional performers and educators from Scotland and beyond.

Overview

The Masters courses at RCS are flexible and innovative courses offering the perfect transition from education into the world of employment in a wide variety of fields whether it be Orchestral or Chamber performance, Conducting, Instrumental Instruction or Arts Management.

Led by renowned horn player, conductor, arranger and educator John Logan, the RCS Brass department is an encouraging, vibrant and inclusive space where students are challenged to become the best performers and musicians that they can be. We have a worldwide reputation for training leading musicians and our teaching team includes many of Britain’s finest brass players and educators.

On this programme you will get a real sense of the demands of the professional musical world. Our classes offer excellent preparation for these challenges with weekly classes in orchestral repertoire as well as the opportunity to form your own ensembles and perform in concerts such as the very popular RCS lunchtime concert series.

We also enjoy professional collaborations with Scotland’s major orchestras and run mentoring schemes with the RSNO, BBC SSO , SCO and the Orchestra of Scottish Opera. We have strong links with all the Instrumental Teaching services throughout Scotland as well as organisations such as the National Youth Orchestra of Scotland and Big Noise. You will have the opportunity to frequently experience our tutors performing in professional situations as well as building up an extensive range of professional connections during your studies.

Our course options allow for a flexible approach to the construction of your degree which will support a portfolio of a wide-ranging skill set, such as performance opportunities, teaching techniques, composition amongst others.

We have a smaller department than other conservatoires; large enough to tackle a wide variety of challenging and fulfilling repertoire in all our ensembles but small enough to ensure a tailored made learning experience for every single student. Throughout your degree you will have the opportunity to take part in Symphony, Wind, Opera, and Chamber Orchestras, and a diverse range of ensembles including Big Band and RCS Brass Ensembles.

The important details

UK Applicant Deadline:
2 October 2024

International Applicant Deadline:
1 December 2024

Institution Code:
R58

Programme Code:
MMus Performance - 890F OR MA Performance - 801F

Audition Fee:
£65

Application Fee:
£28.50


Why Study Brass at RCS?

The Brass department at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland offers unique opportunities to learn, perform, and develop as an artist. Our approach sets us apart, with benefits including:

World-class Teaching


You’ll experience the highest-quality tuition from expert teachers, many of whom are also players in the national artistic companies. You’ll benefit from smaller class sizes allowing tutors more time to dedicate individual attention to each student.

Professional Partnerships


Through our industry connections, you’ll have access to mentoring schemes with the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, Scottish Opera and Scottish Chamber Orchestra, as well as the Royal Scottish National Orchestra’s Professional Experience Scheme to learn from industry professionals. Additionally you’ll have the opportunity to rehearse with, and obtain feedback from, players of national orchestras.

Individual Lessons


Each academic year, you’ll receive an unparalleled 40.5 hours of principal study tuition and supporting studies classes. It is also possible to receive lessons from tutors in various musical styles such as Jazz amongst many other options.

International Performing Opportunities


Our ensembles give concerts regularly at home and abroad; recent overseas performance opportunities have included concerts in China, Malta, Germany and Brazil as well as performances at the Scottish Parliament and on the BBC.

Students celebrate their graduation with a glass of champagne in the RCS cafe. They wear blue graduation gowns and formal attire.

Graduate Destinations


Our department produces excellent graduate employment success, with many of our students obtaining employment with the Royal Scottish National Orchestra, BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, Scottish Opera and the Scottish Chamber Orchestra. In the HESA Graduate Outcomes survey 2019/20, 96% of RCS School of Music respondents were in work or further study.

Cross-Collaboration Performance


You’ll have performance opportunities with other departments including jazz and ballet. You can also take advantage of learning within this unique Scottish conservatoire and undertake a module within traditional music, enabling you to broaden your repertoire, musicality and ensemble arrangement practices

Visiting Artists


You’ll experience regular visits from nationally and internationally recognised educators and artists from all brass disciplines such as visiting Professor and world-renowned soloist, Ian Bousfield.

John Webb Collection


As a student at RCS, you’ll have access to the Conservatoire’s Collection of Historic Musical Instruments, originating before World War II, which includes the John Webb Collection of over 450 historical brass instruments.

Meet the Staff

Instrumental and Ensemble Coaching Staff

  • Horn

    Christopher Gough
    Stephanie Jones
    John Logan
    David McClenaghan
  • Natural Horn

    Anneke Scott
    Sue Baxendale
  • Trumpet

    Peter Franks
    Mark O'Keeffe
    Chris Hart
  • Natural Trumpet

    Sandy McGrattan
  • Trombone

    Simon Johnson
    Dávur Juul Magnussen
    Cillian Ó Ceallacháin
  • Bass Trombone

    Alistair Sinclair
  • Tuba

    Craig Anderson

    Anthony Swainson
    David Dowall
    Mark Reynolds
  • Ophicleide and Cimbasso

    Tony George
  • Visiting Specialists

    Professor Ian Bousfield
    John Wallace CBE

Facilities

The Brass department has access to the many facilities and resources RCS has to offer. As well as a fabulous library and several computer suites, our Brass students have access not only to a purpose-built recording studio but the use of an expert recording producer. Recordings can be made for course assessments and at any time for personal use.

Our large venues are used regularly by brass playing in symphony orchestra, wind orchestra, opera, ballet, musical theatre and chamber-sized ensembles.

Externally you may play in the Glasgow City Halls, the Glasgow Royal Concert Hall or the RSNO Centre.

An orechestra plays in Stevenson Hall. The back of the composer is pictured. The orechestra plays behind him.

Graduate Destinations

Many Royal Conservatoire brass alumni occupy positions in orchestras and ensembles across the world.

Alumni include:

  • Christopher Gough – Former Principal Horn, RSNO
  • Kyle MacCorquodale – Principal Bass Trombone, Hallé Orchestra
  • Dávur Juul Magnussen – Principal Trombone, RSNO
  • Andrew McLean – Associate Principal Horn, RSNO
  • Martin Murphy – Associate Principal Horn, RSNO
  • Johnny Durrant – Orchestra of the Royal Opera House, Covent Garde
  • Haley Tonner – Horn, Scottish Ballet
  • Mark Reynolds – WorldBrass Ensemble, Former Principal Tuba Antwerp Symphony Orchestra, Munich Philharmonic Orchestra Academy.
  • Christopher Dicken – Principal Trumpet Mahler Chamber Orchestra, Die Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Bremen, Luzern Festival Orchestra, Artistic Director WorldBrass Ensemble. Visiting teacher of Natural Trumpet Hochschule for Music Saarbrucken, Trumpet teacher Hochschule for Arts Bremen
  • Angela Whelan – Fine Arts Brass Ensemble

Programme Structure

The programme structure for your studies will depend on whether you choose to undertake Brass principal study as part of an MMus or an MA in Performance. Further information is available on the MMus/MA Performance page:

MMus/MA Performance


How to Apply

More information about how to apply, including entry requirements and tuition fee & funding information, is available on the MMus/MA Performance page. The specific audition requirements for this principal study are detailed below:

Audition Information

Specific audition dates and locations will be updated here when available. Should you apply on time, you will be e-mailed directly with details of your audition date and time, and your UCAS Conservatoires track will be updated with this information.

International applicants are welcome to submit a recorded submission via Acceptd.

Recording Guidelines:

  • When setting up for your video recording, your body (typically, from about the waist up) and instrument should be the focal point of the frame. The committee wants to be able to see not just your face but how well you navigate your instrument.
  • The video recording should be provided in ONE continuous shot without separate tracks for different musical pieces.
  • Please begin the recording by introducing yourself to camera and stating what you will be performing. You can take a little time between pieces so long as your body must remain in the frame
  • For any pieces that were written for your instrument and piano accompaniment, you are encouraged to perform with piano accompaniment (whether live or pre-recorded) if practical for you. Be assured, however, that if this is not possible for you, then you will not be disadvantaged in any way.

Below, Head of Department John Logan gives a few top tips for students auditioning for Brass:

 

Details of the repertoire requested for your in-person audition/recorded submission can be found below:

Performance of one piece selected from the following list, and one piece of your own choice.

Horn

  • Mozart Concerto No. 2 in E flat, K.417

or

  • Mozart Concerto No. 4 in E flat, K495

and a piece of your own choice.

 

Trumpet

  • Haydn Concerto in E flat

or

  • Hummel Concerto E flat or E

and a piece of your own choice.

 

Cornet

  • Haydn Concerto in E flat

or

  • Hummel Concerto E flat or E

and a piece of your own choice.

 

Tenor Trombone

  • F David Concerto for Trombone

Or

  • L Grondahl Concerto for Trombone

and a piece of your own choice.

 

Bass Trombone

  • E Bozza New Orleans

or

  • Lebedev Concerto in One Movement

and a piece of your own choice.

 

Euphonium

  • J Horovitz — Euphonium Concerto (Novello)

and a piece of your own choice.

 

Tuba (H4)

  • E Gregson Concerto for Tuba

or

  • Vaughan Williams Concerto for Tuba

and a piece of your own choice.

Once you submit your recording, this may be followed up with a live online interview.

The interview will be held by members of the audition panel. It will explore your understanding of the demands of the programme, knowledge of repertoire, aspects of performance practice, performance experience and attitudes, and professional aspirations. You may also be invited to talk about the recording you have submitted. You may also be given a sight reading as part of this process, depending on your principal study department(s).

Successful candidates will show potential to develop their beliefs and skills through the programme.

More from the Brass Department

Why RCS?

We are the only place in Europe where you can study all of the performing arts on the one campus. There is a distinctive creative energy at RCS and you’ll be made to feel part of our inclusive and diverse environment from the very beginning of your studies.

Our graduates are resourceful, highly employable and members of a dynamic community of artists who make a significant impact across the globe.

At RCS, students develop not just their art but their power to use it.

Find out more 

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World Top Ten


We were voted one of the world’s Top Ten destinations to study the performing arts (QS Rankings) in 2024, the eighth time we have been placed in the top ten since the ranking was established in 2016.