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Strings Department (Undergraduate)

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

Our 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. Studying Strings at RCS offers unique opportunities in cross-genre and multi-disciplinary collaboration, broadening your musical experiences and forging your creative and artistic identity.  

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, Scottish Opera, Hebrides Ensemble and Red Note Ensemble. String Pedagogy is also an integral part of the program, 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 2023

International Applicant Deadline:
1 December 2023

Institution Code:
R58

Programme Code:
Performance - 300F OR Joint Principal Study - 301F

Audition Fee:
£65

Application Fee:
£28.50


Why Study Strings at RCS?

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

A violin tutor instructs a student while they play.

Individual Lessons


As part of your studies, you will receive unparalleled one-to-one tuition. We offer 40.5 hours of principal study tuition and supporting studies classes each academic year. Your lessons will support your development in a collaborative and caring setting. With an outstanding faculty and high staff-to-student ratio, you’ll have close contact with our expert teachers and hone your craft, benefiting from their knowledge and professional experience.

A symphony orechestra cello player focuses on the sheet music

Regular Performance


RCS is one of Scotland’s busiest performing arts venues. With so many events taking place each year you will have ample opportunity to perform, both solo and as part of chamber and symphony orchestras. You’ll benefit from intensive chamber coaching, preparing you for frequent performance. In addition, you’ll have the chance to take part in solo and chamber music competitions

 

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

Masterclasses


You will experience and learn from 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 

Brodsky Quartet plays with students in the Stevenson Hall.

Professional Partnerships


Through our partnerships, you’ll experience collaborating with world-class professional ensembles, including the Royal Scottish National Orchestra, BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, Scottish Ensemble, Dunedin Consort, Hebrides Ensemble and Red Note Ensemble. In addition, you’ll have side-by-side chamber music opportunities with ensembles including Hebrides Ensemble and the Brodsky Quartet

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

Graduate Destinations

Royal Conservatoire of Scotland Strings alumni occupy positions in numerous prestigious orchestras and ensembles worldwide.

Alumni include: 

  • David Bamaung – Assistant Principal Viola, Welsh National Opera
  • Javier Fernandez Diaz – Profesor de Violin at Conservatorio Profesional “Garcia Matos” de Plasencia
  • Clara Hernandez – Profesora de Violin at Conservatorio Profesional de Musica Esteban Sanchez de Merida
  • Jiri Kabát – Professor of Viola at the Prague Conservatoire and member of Prague Philharmonic String Quartet
  • Katrina Lee – Principal 2nd Violin, Scottish Ballet
  • Maxwell Quartet – Selected as Tunnell Trust and Park Lane Group Young Artists; Winners of the 9th Trondheim International Chamber Music Competition
  • Wouter Raubenheimer – Principal Viola, Stavanger Chamber Orchestra and Principal Viola, Chamber Orchestra of Europe
  • Duncan Strachan – Artistic Director of the Loch Shiel Festival
  • Erik Vardanyan – Suzhou Symphony Orchestra
  • Veronika Vardpatrikyan – Assistant Principal Viola, Yerevan Symphony Orchestra, Armenia
A student orchestra plays in the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland's Stevenson Hall

Programme Structure

The programme structure for your studies will depend on whether you choose to undertake Strings principal study as part of BMus (Hons) Performance or BMus (Hons) Joint Principal Study. The content and modules for each programme are available on their respective pages:

BMus (Hons) Performance

BMus (Hons) Joint Principal Study


How to Apply

More information about how to apply, including entry requirements and tuition fee & funding information, is available on either our BMus (Hons) Performance page, or BMus (Hons) Joint Principal Study page, depending on which pathway you are interested in. The specific audition requirements for this principal study are detailed below:

Audition Information

All auditions are planned to take place in-person at our campus in Glasgow in November 2023. 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.

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 and instrument should be the 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.

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

Violin

  • First movement from a standard 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.

Viola

  • First movement from a standard 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.

Cello

  • First movement from a standard 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.

Double Bass

  • Two contrasting works of your choice. This can be from the standard repertoire or from any genre or cultural background that reflects your interests as an artist.

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 

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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.