RCS students and alumni at the centre of Edinburgh’s Coronation celebration

RCS students and alumni at the centre of Edinburgh’s Coronation celebration

Published: 30/06/2023

Students from the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland will share the stage with internationally acclaimed alumni in a special royal performance in Edinburgh on Wednesday 5 July – the National Service of Thanksgiving and Dedication in celebration of Their Majesties’ Coronation.

Violinist Emma Baird and cellist Helen La Grand will play in The Honours of Scotland Ensemble, which will perform a new arrangement of Scottish folk songs chosen by His Majesty The King and arranged by composer and RCS graduate Jay Capperauld, who is Associate Composer at the Scottish Chamber Orchestra.

Helen said: “I’m honoured to have been asked to play for this historic event, and am especially looking forward to playing among such great musicians in beautiful St Giles Cathedral.”

Classical accordionist and student Ryan Corbett will perform Loch Katrine’s Lady by Phil Cunningham.

Ryan said: “I feel honoured to have been asked to play at this service alongside such esteemed colleagues. It’s brilliant that the King has included so many musicians.”

Karen Cargill

A new commission by Joanna Gill, A Song of Thanksgiving and Dedication, set in Doric, which is spoken in the northeast of Scotland, will be performed by the ensemble, the global opera star and RCS alumna Karen Cargill and instrumentalists and composers The Ayoub Sisters, who were recently announced as RCS Ambassadors.

The Ayoub Sisters

Internationally acclaimed violinist and RCS Honorary President Nicola Benedetti will join the ensemble, which is comprised of musicians from the Scottish Chamber Orchestra, Royal Conservatoire of Scotland and Scottish Ballet Orchestra, all of which His Majesty was Patron as Prince of Wales.

Nicola Benedetti

Five new pieces of music, including one composed in Gaelic, have been commissioned by His Majesty The King for the occasion at St Giles’ Cathedral. They will join a rich mix of music performed at the service to reflect Scottish history and culture with performers representative of contemporary Scotland.

RCS Conducting lecturer and coordinator Michael Bawtree will direct four pieces in the pre-service and service.

Jay Capperauld

Commenting on his involvement, Jay Capperauld said: “It is a great privilege to have been asked to compose this new piece Schiehallion! for the Honours of Scotland ceremony and to celebrate Scottish culture through traditional tunes that have been specially selected by King Charles III to reflect His Majesty’s personal connection with Scotland.”

A performance before the start of the service will include music composed or arranged by artists including Sir James MacMillan, Judith Weir and Errollyn Wallen, Visiting Professor of Composition at RCS.

Professor Jeffrey Sharkey, Principal of the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, said: “We are honoured to have been invited to contribute alongside the Scottish Chamber Orchestra and Scottish Ballet Orchestra to the Honours of Scotland service for His Majesty The King.

“Our students and alumni will form part of the chamber ensemble as well as compose original music and perform in solo instrumental and vocal pieces that will celebrate the rich cultural landscape of Scotland.”


The Ayoub Sisters © Abdallah Nafea

Emma Baird © Bruce Baird

Nicola Benedetti © Franz Galo

Jay Capperauld © Euan Robertson

Karen Cargill © Nadine Boyd

Ryan Corbett ©  ROSL

Helen La Grand © Anna Michels

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