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MMus/MA Guitar and Harp

Introduction

The Guitar and Harp Department at RCS is structured to directly reflect musical realities in the 21st century. Most successful musicians live varied musical lives, it is our desire to prepare you for the profession and we feel you must acquire as broad a range of skills as possible in order to become excellent musicians and interesting, expressive artists.

Weekly individual, group tuition, chamber music and orchestral performance are a focal point of the newly formed department. Regular collaborations with composers in creating new repertoire, side by side opportunities with all of Scotland’s national orchestra’s, classes in technique and performance practice, history and repertoire, improvisation, business skills, techniques of teaching, alongside regular masterclasses with visiting international soloists all are integral to the development of an aspiring and versatile musician.

The guitar and harp department consists of an exciting, forward-looking team of lecturers, who are all experienced soloists, chamber musicians, orchestral players and teachers in their own right. They are on hand to give invaluable advice and tuition drawing from their own experience of life as professional musicians.

Introduction

The Guitar and Harp Department at RCS is structured to directly reflect musical realities in the 21st century. Most successful musicians live varied musical lives, it is our desire to prepare you for the profession and we feel you must acquire as broad a range of skills as possible in order to become excellent musicians and interesting, expressive artists.

Weekly individual, group tuition, chamber music and orchestral performance are a focal point of the newly formed department. Regular collaborations with composers in creating new repertoire, side by side opportunities with all of Scotland’s national orchestra’s, classes in technique and performance practice, history and repertoire, improvisation, business skills, techniques of teaching, alongside regular masterclasses with visiting international soloists all are integral to the development of an aspiring and versatile musician.

The guitar and harp department consists of an exciting, forward-looking team of lecturers, who are all experienced soloists, chamber musicians, orchestral players and teachers in their own right. They are on hand to give invaluable advice and tuition drawing from their own experience of life as professional musicians.

Programme Outline

The Masters Course in Performance is a vibrant course, designed to maximize student choice throughout the course. At the outset, students engage with a learning agreement with the department which outlines the assessment choices and pathways available to all Masters degree students. There are a wide variety of assessment opportunities for all students, including solo recitals, concertos, recording projects, commissions of new works, dissertation or independent projects. On both the Bachelors and and Masters courses, students in guitar and harp have a wide range of supporting study options, these are designed to enhance, support and develop key skills.

Staff and masterclasses

Head of Department:

Professor Allan Neave

http://www.allanneave.co.uk

Guitar

Pavel Steidl – International Fellow

http://pavelsteidl.com

Jamie Akers – Lecturer in early guitars & lute

Dr Peter Argondizza – Lecturer

Matthew McAllister – Lecturer

http://www.matthewmcallister.com

Malcolm MacFarlane – Lecturer in jazz & fretboard harmony

http://www.malcolmmacfarlane.com

Phillip Thorne MBE – Lecturer

Ian Watt – Lecturer

Visiting Artists

Tomasz Zawierucha

Harp

Alina Bzhezhinska – Lecturer

http://www.alina-harpist.co.uk

Sharron Griffiths – Lecturer

http://www.sharrongriffiths.co.uk

Pippa Tunnell – Lecturer

Visiting artists

Gabriella Dall’Ollio

Helga Storck

Sioned Williams

Audition requirements

Before your audition, you will have 15 minutes (or more dependent on your Principal Study) to warm-up on your instrument. RCS is not able to offer additional practice facilities before the allocated warm-up time, because the building is in full use by current students or by other audition candidates.

Through the 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

The interview will assess the candidate’s suitability for the programme in terms of knowledge, experience and commitment.

Accompanists

Instrumentalists (excluding piano, guitar, jazz, Scottish music and percussion and timpani) and vocalists will be automatically allocated an official RCS accompanist to play for them at their audition (unless RCS is notified that the applicant intends to use his/her own). Applicants will be given time with the accompanist prior to their audition in order to run through their programme. RCS does not require advance notice of your audition programme.

Guitar

Any one movement from Bach’s Lute Suites, Violin Sonatas or Partitas, Cello Suites or equivalent works (Scarlatti, Weiss etc) and a movement from a major concerto (Rodrigo, Villa Lobos, Ponce, etc.) or a major performance piece (Walton Bagatelles, Ginastera Sonata, Britten Nocturnal, etc).

Harp

A movement from any major concerto and a major work written after 1900 and the following orchestral cadenzas:

  • Smetana: Vysehrad from Ma Vlast
  • Tchaikovsky: Swan Lake

All decisions will be posted on UCAS Conservatoires following your audition via UCAS Conservatoires Track, (you will need your username and password). You will also receive notification from UCAS Conservatoires when decisions on all your choices are available.

 

How to apply

Before applying we recommend that you follow our Applicant Guide journey which provides all the essential information regarding entry requirements, and the full application and audition process.

Begin your Applicant Journey here.

Making your application

Applications for the MMus/MA programme should be made through the UCAS Conservatoires website. There is a UCAS application fee of £25 (which is in addition to the audition fee) which allows you up to six choices of programme of study.

Why choose us?

The Royal Conservatoire of Scotland is third in the world for performing arts education.

  • 90-minute lesson in your principal study each week
  • Excellent partnerships and links to industry. Partnerships include Big Guitar Weekend, Celtic Connections, Ullapool Guitar Festival, European Mandolin and Guitar Youth Orchestra, NECGS Concert Series, Sphere
    Concert Series, National Youth Guitar Ensemble and International Guitar Festivals (London)
  • Formal links with several national companies, enabling harpists to play alongside professional musicians, including the Royal Scottish National Orchestra, Scottish Opera and BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra
  • Vast number of performance opportunities each academic session
  • Expert teaching team with regular guitar masterclasses from Pavel Steidl, Jan Depreter, Marcin Dylla, Edoardo Catemario, Xuefei Yang and Martin Taylor
  • Numerous harp masterclasses including Professor Helga Storck, Naoko Yoshino, Catrin Finch and Sivan Magen

Entry requirements

  • Normally a good Honours (at least 2.2) degree, or its overseas equivalent, in a subject area relevant to the demands of the programme

Entrance to the Conservatoire is based on talent, potential and ability, therefore consideration will be given to relevant experience which is deemed to compensate for any traditional education. We accept a wide range of qualification, including international qualifications. If you wish to check the suitability of your qualification/experience, please contact admissions@rcs.ac.uk.

English Language

The language of study is English. Applicants whose first language is not English will be required to provide evidence of proficiency in English. We accept the International English Language Testing System (IELTS).

Other equivalent English Language qualifications may be considered, please contact admissions@rcs.ac.uk for more information.

  • IELTS – 6.0 with a minimum score of 5.5 in each component

Audition Requirements

Audition requirements are given in the MMus-MA Guide for Applicants 2015-16, which can be found at http://www.rcs.ac.uk/studyhere/how-to-apply/music/.

Fees and scholarships

Tuition Fees for Academic Year 2017-18

  • MMus Performance (2 years) UK/EU Students – £8,094
  • MMus Performance (2 years) International (non-EU) – £15,513
  • MA Performance (1 year) UK/EU Students – £10,983
  • MA Performance (1 year) International (non-EU) – £18,648

Scottish/EU Students

New Scottish and EU domiciled students may be eligible for a Postgraduate Tuition Fee Loan. All eligible students will be able to apply directly to Student Awards Agency for Scotland (SAAS) for a non-means tested loan of up to £3,400. See the following website for further details of the PSAS scheme:

http://www.saas.gov.uk/full_time/pg/index.htm

Scottish domiciled postgraduate students on eligible courses can also apply for a Postgraduate Living Cost Loan up to £4,500 towards living expenses. This is in addition to the existing loan available towards the cost of their tuition fees.

Scholarships

Any potential student who auditions for a place at the Royal Conservatoire will automatically be considered for a scholarship. They are awarded on a combination of talent, potential and financial need. More information about Scholarships is available here

Sources of External Funding

For more information about alternative funding sources, including external scholarships and bursaries, please visit here.

The Conservatoire’s International and Student Experience team are available to advise and assist applicants and current students in respect of queries about funding your studies at the Conservatoire. Please email or telephone +44 (0)141 270 8281/ +44 (0)141 270 8223 for further information.

Graduate destinations

Heads of University Departments

International Concert Solo Artists

High School Teachers

Teachers in Private Practice

Festival Directorships

Further Advanced Study in the USA & Europe

Facilities

The Conservatoire owns a 3x seven course lutes, 1 David Rouse Concert guitar, 1x Altamira Classical Guitar, 1x Manual Contreras Classical Guitar, 1x theorbo, 1x electric bass, 1x DPA contact microphone, 1x 19 th century guitar and 2 AER compact 60 acoustic amplifiers. We also have 4 concerts harps – 2 Salvi, 1 Camac & 1 Horngacher. We recently received a large donation of sheet music forming a guitar specific library.

All of the above is available for students to borrow (you simply need to fill in a loan form and have it signed by the Head of Department). All of the instruments are kept in the guitar room (room 3:17) or in the AV Store. Conservatoire students are welcome to use all of the instruments, but they are responsible for care of the instruments when they are using them. Damage to the guitars must be repaired at the expense of the student responsible.

Professional partnerships

International Guitar Research Centre (IGRC) – University of Surrey

Big Guitar Weekend

Classical Guitar Retreat

BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra

Royal Scottish National Orchestra

Scottish Opera

National Youth Guitar Ensemble – UK

Ullapool Guitar Festival

NECGS Concert Series

Celtic Connections

Cottiers Chamber Project

Alumni and recent graduates

Sean Shibe. First guitarist to be admitted to the prestigious BBC New Generation Artists Scheme and the only solo guitarist to have received a Borletti-Buitoni Fellowship. In 2009 Sean won first prize in the Ivor Mairants Guitar Award of the Worshipful Company of Musicians and in 2011 he became only the second guitarist ever to win the Royal Over-Seas League first prize and gold medal following the competition final at the Queen Elizabeth Hall.

Ian Watt. Won 2nd prize (silver medal) at the 2009 Parkening International Guitar Competition (USA), 1st prize at the Heinsberg International Guitar Competition 2011, 1st prize at the ‘Westfalian Guitar Spring’ International Competition 2010 and 2nd prize at the Vienna International Guitar Competition ‘Homage to Karl Scheit’ 2010. Concerto soloist with the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra, BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, City of London Sinfonia and Scottish Philharmonic Orchestra.

Matthew McAllister. Made Concertgebouw debut in 2010 and performs extensively internationally including recitals in Mexico, France, Peru, Chile, Denmark, Costa Rica, Sarajevo, Czech Republic, Germany, Austria, Malaysia, Italy, Canada, Poland, United Arab Emirates and North America. Tunnell Trust Award Winner with Irish Flautist Aisling Agnew. Extensive Discography with Natural Studio Records and RTE Lyric FM. Director of The Classical Guitar Retreat.

Laura Husbands. Received a full scholarship to complete an Artist Diploma at Lamont University, Colorado 2009. In June 2011 she received an Artist Diploma in classical guitar performance as well as Lamont’s Outstanding Graduate in Performance Award. Laura Husbands was the winner of the Denver Classical Guitar Society 2010 Debut Competition and the 2011 Portland International Guitar Competition.

Marek Pasieczny. (*1980) is one of the most popular contemporary polish composers and guitarists of the younger generation. He has completed both a Masters in Guitar Performance with distinction as well as in Composition, first studying at ‘Karol Lipinski Academy of Music’ in Wroclaw under Professor Piotr Zaleski, and later at the RCS, Scotland, U.K. After winning several guitar and composition competitions in Poland and Scotland, Pasieczny’s career took off and has since established himself as a successful performer, composer and teacher. His career has taken him around the world including Europe (Poland, France, Germany, Italy, Czech Rep., Greece, UK, Holland, Switzerland), South Africa, Asia (China and Japan) Australia and New Zealand.

Catriona Mackay. Leading Scottish harpist with versatile musical skills who is a performer as well as recording artist, examiner, teacher and composer/arranger. Since graduating from RSAMD and RNCM, Catriona was NFMS “Young Concert Artist 2000/01, Radio 2 “Young Musician 1999” finalist and won “Jakez François International Celtic Harp Competition 2004”, France.

Recordings include 3 CDs with “Fiddlers’ Bid”, Scottish harp CD “Catriona McKay”, re-released Japan 2004, duo CD “Laebrack” with Chris Stout.Catriona is one of Scotland finest harpers and is at the cutting edge of the Scottish harp revival. She plays harp and piano in the Shetland based band ‘Fiddlers’ Bid’, Chris Stout Quintet and performs extensively worldwide. Catriona has devised a unique new Scottish harp ‘Starfish McKay Harp’ which was designed and made by Starfish Designs.

 

Louise Vickerman has earned the reputation as one of North America’s leading orchestral harpists. Vickerman was appointed Principal Harpist of The Utah Symphony/Utah Opera in 1999 and has been a featured soloist with the orchestra on a number of occasion, she has also appeared as soloist with the San Antonio Symphony, National Repertory Orchestra, The Orchestra of St John’s Smith Square, on BBC & Norwegian National radio & at the Heidelberg Castle Festival in Germany. Prior to her appointment in Utah, she was formerly Principal Harp for the San Antonio Symphony & The New World Symphony in Miami. Originally from Glasgow Scotland, she regularly appeared with all of Scotland’s major orchestras including The Royal Scottish National Orchestra, BBC Scottish Symphony & Scottish Chamber Orchestra before moving to the US in 1993. She has performed at major festivals worldwide including the Aldeburgh Festival, Edinburgh International Festival, BBC London Proms and Cabrillo Festival of Contemporary Music.

Performance opportunities

Internal competitions.

Regular departmental classes and public concerts.

External concerts range from freelance professional work with Music Clubs, Arts Guilds, Live Music Now, Enterprise Music Scotland mentoring programmes and local orchestra’s & choral societies.

Outreach and education projects

Royal Conservatoire of Scotland Music Agency

Collaboration opportunities with other departments

Musical Theatre

Pantomime

Opera Continuo

Big Band Projects

Plug Contemporary Music Festival