RCS in world top three for performing arts education

RCS in world top three for performing arts education

Published: 03/03/2021

The Royal Conservatoire of Scotland (RCS) is one of the world’s top three destinations to study the performing arts, according to prestigious global rankings released today (Wednesday, March 3). Scotland’s national conservatoire is ranked at number three in the 2021 QS World University Rankings for Performing Arts.

RCS sits in the top three alongside New York’s Juilliard School and the Royal College of Music in London. Other institutions in the top ten include the Conservatoire de Paris, University of the Arts Helsinki and the Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts.

It’s the fifth time since the ranking was established in 2016 that the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland has been placed in the top ten in what is considered to be the world’s most-consulted university ranking, which captures academic standing, research performance and graduate employability as metrics of institutional performance.

Professor Jeffrey Sharkey, Principal of the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, said: “It is especially gratifying to achieve this recognition at a time of great challenge to the arts in a global pandemic.

“It is a tribute to the entire RCS community of students and staff who continue to show such creativity and determination to keep the arts flourishing and developing. This exciting news demonstrates that our wider community places faith and trust in our conservatoire to be a place where the arts will continue to tell our shared stories and help rebuild our bonds of society.”

Established in 1847 and based in Glasgow, the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland offers specialist tuition across music, drama, dance, production, film and education at undergraduate, postgraduate and PhD levels – one of the only institutions in Europe to teach such a wide variety of performing arts on one campus. It also teaches children, young people and adults through the Junior Conservatoire, short courses and award-winning national Fair Access programmes.

A violinist plays in a symphony orchestra with eyes closed

© Robert McFadzean

The rankings provide authoritative comparative analysis on the performance of 14,435 individual university programmes, taken by students at 1,452 universities that can be found in 86 locations, across 51 academic disciplines and five broad faculty areas.

Nick Kuenssberg OBE, Chair of the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, said: “Many congratulations to Principal Jeffrey Sharkey and all his staff, teaching and professional, at Scotland’s national conservatoire for this wonderful achievement, the more so because this has been an immensely challenging year for the performing arts. This recognition reinforces the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland’s continuing reputation as an international centre of excellence for performing arts education.”

Studying at RCS is to be immersed in a creative and collaborative arts community with students from more than 60 countries, innovative and specialist staff and active partnerships with all of Scotland’s national arts companies.

Partners include BBC, National Theatre of Scotland, Scottish Ballet, RSNO, BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, Scottish Ensemble, Scottish Chamber Orchestra and Scottish Opera.

A scene from the ballet Giselle with a ballerina in long white tutu at centre stage with dancers in lines at either side, all wearing white tutus and veils draped over their heads

© Andy Ross

It’s a centre of performance, with purpose-built venues and a learning environment which encourages students to create new work, collaborate with peers across disciplines and develop ideas across a range of platforms, both physical and virtual.

In March 2020, the institution launched a new online platform, RCS at Home, in response to the Covid-19 pandemic to spread joy, combat isolation and creatively connect the RCS community.

What followed was an outpouring of art with students, staff and alumni sharing hundreds of pieces of dynamic digital content, from premieres of new theatre productions and ballet performances to concerts in the RCS Presents series.

Tune in to RCS at Home

More than 160 items of content have been created for RCS at Home, including 36 concert premieres. The platform has been viewed more than 55,000 times by visitors from more than 100 countries.

RCS at Home hit the headlines for its innovative approach with The Guardian noting: ‘A conservatoire in your living room – sitting at home isn’t where you’d expect to enjoy world-class performing arts’. Classic FM included it in its ‘best live-streamed and archive classical concerts’ alongside The Metropolitan Opera, Berlin Philharmonic, Lincoln Center, the Royal Opera House and London Symphony Orchestra.

To ensure the next generation of artists can follow their dreams at a world-leading conservatoire, regardless of barriers, a new scholarship campaign launched at the end of last year with backing from an international Scottish star of stage and screen.

Award-winning Hollywood and West End actor James McAvoy – a graduate of the BA Acting degree – narrates the poignant short film #WeAreStillHere that captures the creativity, resilience and dedication of students, staff and alumni throughout the pandemic and voices an urgent call to support their future and that of the arts through scholarship.


Main image © Robert McFadzean

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