Francis Cummings Appointed Head Of Junior Conservatoire (music) At Royal Conservatoire Of Scotland
Francis, a violinist who has performed with prestigious conductors and orchestras across Europe and internationally, is currently Director of Music for Sistema Scotland, the social transformation charity which immerses young people in music in communities across the country. Francis brings to the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland extensive experience of and a passion for delivering high-quality and inspiring music education across a wide range of contexts. Francis began his own musical journey as a student of the Junior Conservatoire (formerly known as the Junior Academy) between 1974 and 1977. He will join the Royal Conservatoire on Monday, July 30.
As a musician, he was a founder member of the Chamber Orchestra of Europe, working with eminent conductors and musicians throughout Europe, Japan, Australia and the US. He has also performed with orchestras across the UK including the Scottish Chamber Orchestra, Manchester Camarata, The Hallé and the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra. Francis has also held a number of teaching roles in music education across the UK including those in Chetham’s School of Music and the Universities of Huddersfield and Lancaster. He is also a former Director of Music at St Mary’s Music School in Edinburgh. He joined Sistema Scotland in 2011.
Professor Jeffrey Sharkey, Principal of the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, said: “I’m absolutely delighted to welcome Francis to the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland as Head of Junior Conservatoire (Music). As well as being an excellent musician in his own right, he brings with him a great passion for excellent teaching and extensive experience of engaging and inspiring children and young people to fulfil their potential through music.
“Francis will play a leadership role in educating the next generation of musicians in and for Scotland as well as advocating for the importance of access to arts education for young people. We all look forward to having him as part of the national conservatoire team.”
Francis Cummings, Head of the Junior Conservatoire of Music, said: “It’s a real pleasure to be joining the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland’s Junior Conservatoire and I look forward very much to working with young people and teachers across Scotland. Naturally I’m very sad to be leaving Sistema Scotland. The past seven years with the organisation and its Big Noise programme, as Director of Music, have been remarkable and inspirational. High-quality music education and music itself empowers and inspires young people in so many ways and the Junior Conservatoire has a vital role to play in developing further the pathways to both excellence and access.”
For more than 50 years, the Junior Conservatoire has encouraged thousands of young people aged 11 to 18 to fulfil their artistic potential, develop essential life skills and explore a world of possibilities within the arts and far beyond. Recognised as a national centre of excellence for educating young people in performing arts, it reflects the Royal Conservatoire’s undergraduate curriculum.
- Its patrons, violinist Nicola Benedetti and actor James McAvoy, are both passionate advocates for the performing arts who believe in the positive impact they can have on young people’s lives.
- One of the world’s first specialist Confucius Classrooms, a hub for sharing Chinese language, arts and culture, operates through the Junior Conservatoire.
- A groundbreaking partnership between the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland and Dumfries House was established in 2016 to deliver specialist tuition in music and dance to young people in Ayrshire.
- The North East Arts Hub in Fraserburgh, a collaboration between the Royal Conservatoire and Aberdeenshire Council, provides access to high-quality teaching and multi-arts activities at both community and conservatoire levels.