Skip to main content

Strings Department (Postgraduate)

The Strings department offers outstanding opportunities to explore your musical passions. With a high staff-student ratio, we have a dynamic and supportive learning environment which is tailored to support the needs and aspirations of each individual student.

Overview

The Strings department offers a vibrant and collaborative environment for our international student body. We encourage our students to participate in shaping the department into an artistic community which responds to the aspirations of tomorrow’s musicians. Our Strings programme offers unique opportunities in cross-genre and multi-disciplinary collaboration; these opportunities broaden your musical experiences and forge your creative and artistic identity.

The RCS is Scotland’s only conservatoire and our students benefit from partnerships with many of the professional organisations. Recent collaborations have included work with the Royal Scottish National Orchestra, BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, Scottish Ensemble, Dunedin Consort, Scottish Opera, Hebrides Ensemble and Red Note Ensemble. String Pedagogy is also an integral part of the programme, and we have strong links with the RCS Junior Conservatoire, Sistema Scotland and the Benedetti Foundation. String players working at the highest levels have used the connections made through these collaborations as a springboard into the profession.

 

The important details

UK Applicant Deadline:
2 October 2024

International Applicant Deadline:
1 December 2024

Institution Code:
R58

Programme Code:
MMUS: 890F/MA: 801F

Audition Fee:
£65

Application Fee:
£28.50


Why Study Strings With Us?

 

A violin tutor instructs a student while they play.

Dedicated Staff & Small Class Sizes


You will learn from teaching staff who play at the highest level and toured internationally as members of orchestras. Our small class sizes offer you maximal access to practice facilities and ensembles. 

 

 

Two young violinist practice for the 'Vital Signs of the Planet' event.

Focused Learning Experiences


The programme includes 40.5 hours of principal study tuition and supporting studies classes each academic year. You will provided with bespoke feedback throughout this time. In addition, weekly orchestral repertoire classes and regular performance classes prepare you to collaborate and learn from your peers. 

 

GRIT Orchestra plays together in Stevenson Hall. The conductor raises his arms in the air.

Collaborative Performances


The programme offers collaborative activities such as performing in the RCS Plug Festival. You will work directly with musicians and composers across the RCS community to create new solo music and play in musical theatre productions, ensembles, symphonic, chamber, opera, wind orchestra and brass groups. 

 

Nicola Benedetti demonstrates on the violin while a student looks on.

Professional Connections & Practice Spaces


Regular masterclasses with internationally renowned artists. Recent masterclasses have featured guests such as Nicola Benedetti, the Brodsky Quartet, Paul Coletti, Professor David Dolan, Decoda, James Ehnes, David Geringas, Lutsia and Alina Ibragimova, Rinat Ibragimov, Steven Isserlis, Ralph Kirshbaum, Henning Kraggerud, Graham Mitchel, Johannes Moser, Trio Apaches, Maxim Rysanov, Janet Sung and Raphael Wallfisch.

Meet the Staff

Head of Strings

Teaching Staff

  • Violin

    Ruth Crouch
    Francis Cummings
    Bernard Docherty
    Tamás Fejes
    Professor Andrea Gajic
    Maya Iwabuchi
    Gongbo Jiang
    Greg Lawson
    Angus Ramsay
    Hector Scott
    Guido de Groote
    Donnie Deacon
    Katrina Lee
  • Chamber Music

    Jane Atkins
    Dr Lev Atlas
    Scott Dickinson
    Donnie Deacon

    Rudi de Groote

    Maya Iwabuchi
    Greg Lawson
    David Watkin
    Alison Wells
  • Cello

    Martin Storey
    Betsy Taylor
    David Watkin
    Alison Wells

    Rudi de Groote

  • Viola

    Jane Atkins
    Dr Lev Atlas
    Scott Dickinson
    Duncan Ferguson
  • Baroque

    Huw Daniel
    Ruth Slater
    David Watkin
    Alison McGillivray
  • Double Bass

    Tom Berry
    Iain Crawford
    Nikita Naumov

    Kai Kim

  • Improvisation

    David Dolan
    Anto Pett
  • Department Pianist

    Liivi Arder

  • String Instrument Consultant

    David Rattray

Masterclasses

All students have an opportunity during their time at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland to take part in workshops and masterclasses with some of the world’s most renowned performers, including:

  • Pedro de Alcantara
  • Nicola Benedetti
  • Steven Doane
  • Simon Fischer
  • David Geringas
  • Ilya Gringolts
  • Alina Ibragimova
  • Lutsia Ibragimova
  • Steven Isserlis
  • Ralph Kirshbaum
  • Johannes Moser
  • Lawrence Power
  • Max Rysanov
  • Joel Quarrington
  • Rachel Roberts
  • Jacqueline Shave
  • Raphael Wallfisch
  • Pieter Wispelwey
  • Midori Goto
  • Henning Kraggerud

Facilities

The Strings department has access to the many facilities and resources RCS has to offer. As well as a fabulous library and several computer suites, our Strings 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.

The front of the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland building during a sunny day.

Programme Structure

The programme structure for your studies will depend on whether you choose to undertake Strings 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

Audition 

Specific audition dates and locations will be updated here when available. All applicants who meet the deadline 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 and instrument need to be clearly in the frame
  • The video recording should be recorded in ONE continuous take without separate tracks for each piece
  • Please begin the recording by introducing yourself and stating what you will be performing. You can take a little time between pieces but please make sure you remain in the frame
  • For all accompanied works you are encouraged to perform with a pianist. If this is not possible, you will not be disadvantaged in any way

For more information on recording a video audition, Guitar Lecturer Matthew McCallister reveals his top tips on recording your music audition online: 

Through audition, applicants will be required to demonstrate: 

  • A high degree of technical competency on the instrument or voice in the service of specific repertoire 
  • An ability to demonstrate a considerable degree of understanding of the repertoire performed 
  • An ability to perform specific repertoire convincingly 
  • A considerable degree of self-confidence and creativity with respect to the repertoire performed 
  • A degree of self-sufficiency, initiative and independence in selecting, preparing and performing a particular programme 
  • A developing musical personality 

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.

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

  • First movement from a major concerto (with cadenza where applicable)
  • A contrasting work of your choice. This can be from the standard repertoire or from any genre or cultural background that reflects your interests as an artist.
  • First movement from a major concerto (with cadenza where applicable)
  • A contrasting work of your choice. This can be from the standard repertoire or from any genre or cultural background that reflects your interests as an artist.
  • First movement from a major concerto (with cadenza where applicable)
  • A contrasting work of your choice. This can be from the standard repertoire or from any genre or cultural background that reflects your interests as an artist.
  • First movement from a standard concerto (with cadenza where applicable)
  • A contrasting work

More from the Strings 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 

A ballerina wearing a teal dress jumps over the Kelpies monuments in Scotland during a grey day.

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.