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Woodwind Department (Postgraduate)

The Woodwind department delivers an intensive, supportive and collaborative training programme to talented musicians from all over the world. 


You begin your postgraduate studies with the core of your musical personality – the skills, understandings and attitudes that define you as a musician already established. Your postgraduate studies should nurture that existing artistic personality so that you can make a real difference in the fields in which you choose to work. 

This advanced training programme allows you to refine and extend your musicianship in the context of your own aspirations. The course design promotes autonomous learning, allowing you to tailor your learning experience throughout the degree to promote your individual path into the profession. 

Through our extensive one-to-one specialist care and invaluable performance exposure, our exceptional team of dedicated staff ensure a challenging and inspiring environment to promote excellence. 

Students benefit from performance collaborations with distinguished international guest artists in addition to the masterclass programme. 

Symphony, chamber and wind orchestra performances; opera, ballet and musical theatre productions; wind ensembles and chamber music are also central to the training of each student. Concerto opportunities offer further invaluable performing experience.

As for professional collaborations, we work closely with the BBC Scottish Symphony, Royal Scottish National, and Scottish Chamber Orchestras, and Red Note Ensemble, offering students diverse and unmatched vocationally robust performance experiences. 

The important details

UK Applicant Deadline:
2 October 2024

International Applicant Deadline:
1 December 2024

Institution Code:

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

Audition Fee:

Application Fee:

Why Study Woodwind With Us?

Unique Performance Opportunities

You’ll play alongside professional musicians on our Mondays and Fridays at One Concert Series and join a cohort of students who perform at national and international events. Our students have toured India with the BBC SSO, give annual side-by-side concerts with the Scottish Chamber Orchestra Winds, have performed at the Edinburgh International Festival with the GRIT Orchestra, and appeared in a televised Celtic Connections concert.

One-to-One Lessons & Masterclasses

The programme offers 40.5 hours of principal study tuition and supporting studies classes each academic year. You will benefit from a rich programme of masterclasses, chamber coaching, and side-by-side performances with visiting artists. From year two, you may enrol in additional bespoke lessons focusing on a related study. These fantastic collaborative and tailored performance experiences will support your artistic development and improve your networking. 

Specialist Support

RCS’s relationships enhance our programmes and your learning. You will connect with professional accompanists throughout your training. Additionally, you will receive specialist chamber coaching.

World-Class Facilities

Our department has dedicated, built-for-purpose practice spaces for woodwind students. You will have access to the Single Reed Room and the David Nicholson Room — ideal for clarinettists, saxophonists, and flautists to rehearse. Further, our Double Reed Room houses quality equipment for this specialist art. 


Meet the Staff

Teaching Staff

  • Clarinet

    John Cushing
    Yann Ghiro
    Lawrence Gill
    Timothy Orpen
    Nicolas Baldeyrou
  • Flute

    Katherine Bryan
    Ruth Morley
    Helen Brew
    André Cebrian
  • Saxophone

    Josef Pacewicz
    Arno Bornkamp
    Andrew Somerville
  • Oboe

    Amy Turner
    Peter Dykes
    Julian Scott
  • Piccolo

    Janet Richardson
    Luke Russell
  • Bassoon

    David Hubbard
    Graeme Brown
  • Contra Bassoon

    Peter Wesley
    Paolo Dutto
  • E Flat Clarinet

    Josef Pacewicz
  • Bass Clarinet

    Heather Nicoll
  • Cor anglais

    Henry Clay
  • Accompanist

    Scott Mitchell


Visiting international artists work regularly with our students.

A rich programme of public masterclasses, chamber coaching, lecture recitals and side-by-side performances and professional recordings offer our students a fantastic collaborative and tailored experience with visiting artists.

Recent visiting artists include:


  • Ian Clarke – Internationally acclaimed flautist and composer
  • Michael Cox – Principal, BBC Symphony Orchestra
  • Lorna McGee – Principal, Boston Symphony Orchestra
  • Emily Beynon – Principal, Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra
  • André Cebrián – Principal, Scottish Chamber Orchestra
  • Fiona Fulton – former flautist with The Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra
  • Gitte Marcusson – freelance flautist and Musical Director at Vanersborg School of Music
  • Cormac Henry – Principal, Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra
  • Charlotte Ashton – Principal, Northen Sinfonia
  • Michel Moragues – Second flute soloist with the Orchestre National de France (masterclass)
  • Elzbieta Wolenska – Distinguished Pedagogue
  • Catherine Gregory – Decoda Ensemble
  • Adam Walker – Principal, London Symphony Orchestra
  • Thomas Hancox – Principal, Britten Sinfonia
  • Georgia Browne – Principal, Ensemble Pygmalion (Baroque Flute)


  • Diana Doherty – Principal, Sydney Symphony Orchestra
  • Emmanuel Laville – Principal, Swedish Symphony Orchestra
  • Michael Niesemann – Principal – Orchester Revolutionnaire et Romantique
  • John Roberts – Principal, Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
  • Dudu Carmel – Principal, Israel Philharmonic Orchestra
  • Olivier Stankiewicz – Principal, London Symphony Orchestra
  • Steven Hudson – Section Leader, BBC National Orchestra of Wales (Crowthers Sponsored Artist – performing in our Double-reed concert and leading a masterclass).
  • François Leleux – International Artist
  • Nicholas Daniel – International Artist and Principal, Britten Sinfonia
  • Stephane Rancourt – Principal Oboe, Hallé Orchestra
  • Alison Teale – Co-Principal Oboe, BBC Symphony Orchestra
  • Philippe Tondre – Principal Oboe, Philadelphia Orchestra


  • Nicolas Baldeyrou – International Artist and Principal, Radio France Philharmonic Orchestra
  • Anthony McGill – Principal, New York Philharmonic Orchestra Fraser Langton – Sub-principal, BBC Philharmonic and RCS Graduate
  • Oliver Janes – Principal, City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra
  • Annelien Van Wauwe – International Artist
  • John Bradbury – Principal, BBC Philharmonic Orchestra
  • Maximiliano Martín – Principal, Scottish Chamber Orchestra
  • Philippe Cuper – Principal, Paris Opera
  • Renaud Guy-Rousseau, Principal Bass Clarinet, Orchestre National de France


  • Ole Kristian Dahl – Principal, Swedish National Orchestra
  • Vahan Khourdoian – Principal, Ulster Orchestra
  • Fraser Gordon – Principal Contra Bassoon, Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
  • Julie Price – Principal, BBC Symphony Orchestra
  • Joost Bosdijk, London Symphony Orchestra
  • Amy Harman – Principal, English National Opera and Aurora Orchestra
  • Pascal Gallois – International artist
  • Emily Hultmark – Principal, Philharmonia Orchestra
  • Sarah Burnett – Principal, Britten Sinfonia & The London Mozart Players
  • Peter Whelan – Artistic Director of the Irish Baroque Orchestra


  • Arno Bornkamp – International renowned solo & chamber performer and RCS Associate Artist (masterclasses/chamber coaching and Director of the Saxophone Department Concert)
  • Kyle Horch – Professor of saxophone, Royal College of Music, London
  • Timothy McAllister – International Artist and Professor of Saxophone at the University of Michigan School of Music, Theatre & Dance
  • Jean-Yves Fourmeau – International Artist

Oboe & Cor Anglais

  • Alan Garner – Principal Cor Anglais, The Orchestra of the Royal Opera House
  • Alexandre Oguey – Principal Cor Anglais, Sydney Symphony Orchestra

Bass Clarinet

  • Sarah Watts – Contemporary bass clarinet specialist
  • Renaud Guy-Rousseau, Principal Bass Clarinet, Orchestre National de France


  • Jenny Hutchinson – Principal Piccolo, BBC Philharmonic Orchestra
  • Peter Verhoyen – Principal Piccolo, Royal Flemish Philharmonic Orchestra


Woodwind students make use of frequent performance, technique and repertoire classes that take place in our world-class recital venues providing the ideal environment for your development. 

Our students have the opportunity to perform in our professional venues as part of the symphony orchestra, wind orchestra, opera, ballet, musical theatre and chamber ensembles. Externally you could have the opportunity to play at the Glasgow Royal Concert Hall and City Halls. 

Our single reed room provides clarinettists and saxophonists with a dedicated rehearsal and practice space.  

A dedicated reed-making room houses the highest quality specialist reed-making equipment. 

Exclusive use of the David Nicholson Room provides flautists with a dedicated rehearsal and practice space. 

The RCS possesses, for student use, a wide-ranging and extensive collection of specialist ancillary instruments for both modern and period performance. 

State-of-the-art studios provide our students with professional recording performance experience. 

A student in formal clothing is playing a bass clarinet

Graduate Destinations

Royal Conservatoire of Scotland Woodwind alumni occupy positions in numerous prestigious orchestras and ensembles worldwide and are renowned music educators. 

Alumni include: 

  • Jo Ashcroft – Senior Musician, Big Noise, Sistema Scotland
  • Graeme Brown – BBC Scottish Symphony, Orchestra Principal Bassoon No.2 & RCS Tutor
  • Jay Capperauld – Composer & Saxophonist
  • Richard Craig – Contemporary Artist (flautist) & Researcher
  • Greg Crowley – RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra – Principal Bassoon
  • Peter Dykes – Royal Scottish National Orchestra, Associate Principal Oboe & RCS Tutor
  • Lindsey Ellis – BBC National Orchestra of Wales, Principal Piccolo
  • Konrad Fiszer – Opera Nova w Bydgoszczy, Flute and Piccolo
  • Fraser Gordon – Head of Woodwind, Royal Academy of Music
  • Jennifer Hutchinson – BBC Philharmonic Orchestra, Principal Piccolo
  • Adam Lee – BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, Principal Clarinet No.2
  • Kate McDermott – Orchestra of Scottish Opera, Principal Clarinet
  • Lorna McGhee – Boston Symphony Orchestra, Principal Flute & International Soloist
  • Chris McShane – Orchestra Accademia China, Bassoon
  • Sinziana Mugea – National Radio Orchestra of Romania, Sub Principal Oboe & Cor Anglais
  • Heather Nicoll – Head of Woodwind, RCS
  • Paul Rissmann – Animateur & Composer –
  • John Roberts – Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, Principal Oboe
  • Jennifer Stephenson – Freelance Musician (clarinettist) & Woodwind Lecturer, RCS
  • Kathleen Stevenson – BBC Symphony Orchestra, Principal Piccolo

The Genovia Quartet

The Genovia Quartet is an innovative and dynamic bassoon quartet comprising RCS graduates – Rhiannon Carmichael, Gillian Horn, Victoria Lopez and Ana Rodriguez Garcia. The ensemble has performed to critical acclaim on the international stage. 

“The most essential part of evolving and learning as a chamber group is to have as much platform time as possible, to try out ideas and put your hard work into practice. The RCS Woodwind department offers numerous performance opportunities including its Mondays and Fridays at One concert series, as well as links to external engagements (such as the Westbourne Music concert series). We were ‘Highly Commended’ in the RCS Governors’ Recital Prize for Chamber Music and we were honoured to receive the Mary D. Adams Prize for outstanding achievement in chamber music. 

“In terms of preparing for performances, we received high-quality tuition sessions throughout the year from experts including David Hubbard, RSNO and Alison Green, SCO. We were also able to perform in the weekly performance classes, open days, and education workshops, and participated in masterclasses with prominent musicians such as Joost Bosdjik from the London Symphony Orchestra. 

“Having access to the top quality recording studios in the RCS was a huge bonus, as we were able to put together a CD for promotional use. 

“Performing chamber music is one of the most fun and beneficial learning experiences you can have as a musician. Programming your own concerts, discovering new repertoire, organising your time/members and most importantly being dedicated to your ensemble – these are all skills we learned within the Conservatoire and have been putting into practice ever since. If you make good use of the facilities and excellent tuition, you can build on these skills to become autonomous and well-prepared to enter the profession.”

Programme Structure

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

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 

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

  • Applicants will be expected to perform two works: the set concerto for their instrument as indicated below, and a piece of the applicant’s 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.


Applicants will be expected to perform two works: the set concerto for their instrument as indicated below, and a piece of the applicant’s own choice. 

  • Mozart Concerto in G major (1st and 2nd movements) 
  • Mozart Concerto in C major (1st and 2nd movements) 
  • Mozart Concerto in A major (1st and 2nd movements) 
  • Mozart Concerto in Bb major (1st and 2nd movements) 
  • Glazunov Concerto in Eb major 

More from the Woodwind Department

Woodwind Ambassadors

Learn more about our Ambassadors: Adam Lee (Clarinet) and Lewis Bank (Saxophone).

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.


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.