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MMus/MA Keyboard

Introduction

Professor Aaron Shorr, Head of Keyboard

Professor Fali Pavri, Associate Head of Keyboard

Steven Osborne, International Fellow of Piano

The Keyboard department will develop your individual skills in a supportive, innovative and challenging environment. Our staff bring a wealth of experience to their teaching and enjoy active performing and recording careers. You will benefit from their expertise in your weekly 90-minute one-to-one lessons as well as participating in regular performance classes for solo and chamber music in either one of our concert halls. Students may also elect to share their 1-1 lessons between two principal study teachers, a practice which is encouraged and supported by the department. Students also have weekly opportunities to work with other members of the keyboard faculty, either by signing up for additional 1-1 piano classes or from the teaching rota in operation for each performance class. The department also runs an innovative, internal digital platform where all performance classes and concerts are recorded and then stored in a digital archive for our students to consult throughout their studies. This system is supported by a rich array of peer and tutor feedback and has become one of the key innovations in the department’s working practice, enabling students to watch, listen and reflect on their playing as well as supporting the work and development of their peers.

Our performing, teaching and practice facilities are world class. The Stevenson Hall plays host to regular live recital broadcasts for BBC Radio 3 and the prestigious, triennial Scottish International Piano Competition. Piano students benefit from a dedicated piano corridor with 10 practice rooms and 8 teaching rooms. Each piano practice room has a Steinway Model A grand and all piano teaching rooms are equipped with two, Model B Steinways. There are also 6 Model D Steinways in our concert halls and recording studio. Additionally, we operate a free loan system where students may take upright pianos to use in their accommodation during the academic year.

Principal study lessons and performance classes are also complemented by a wide variety of supporting study options, including classical improvisation, conducting, piano technique, organ and harpsichord seminars and French repertoire classes with world renowned pianist and scholar, Roy Howat. Students may also make CD quality recordings in our state of the art recording studio.

Opportunities to perform are one of the key drivers of the department. In addition to regular showcase concerts, masterclasses, an annual Piano Festival and the Plug contemporary music festival, keyboard students may also compete in over ten, internal competitions, including a concerto competition, classical concerto competition, Mozart piano concerto competition, duo-piano competition, Debussy prize, Bamber/Galloway and Walcer recital prizes, a rare Russian music prize and rare romantic music prizes and the prestigious Governor’s recital prize. Prize money for the various internal competitions total in excess of £5000.00 per annum.

Our students regularly win top prizes in many international and national competitions. During the past year alone, RCS piano students have won a total of 7 top prizes at international competitions, including First Prizes at the UNISA South Africa competition, Rio International Piano Competition, Ciurlionis Competition and Morocco Philharmonic Competition. Other competition successes include the Prix du Piano Interlaken Classics (Switzerland), the Sheepdrove Competition, Andre Dumortier Piano Competition (Belgium), the Royal Over-Seas League, (Overseas Prize) and Moray (1st Prize), Yamaha Competition (UK), Bromsgrove International Competition, Estonia (Tallinn 1st Prize), Lagny sur Marne and Piano Campus (France), Vines (Spain), Chieri (Italy) , Maria Callas (Greece), EU Competition (Prague) the Czech Republic, Sparkasse Chamber Music Competition (Frankfurt ) and Isidor Bajic (Serbia). We also offer an annual concerto performance opportunities with the prestigious Royal Scottish National Orchestra and the RCS Symphony Orchestra.

For more information on day-to-day highlights from the Keyboard Department, follow us on the RCS Keyboard Facebook Page.

Introduction

Professor Aaron Shorr, Head of Keyboard

Professor Fali Pavri, Associate Head of Keyboard

Steven Osborne, International Fellow of Piano

The Keyboard department will develop your individual skills in a supportive, innovative and challenging environment. Our staff bring a wealth of experience to their teaching and enjoy active performing and recording careers. You will benefit from their expertise in your weekly 90-minute one-to-one lessons as well as participating in regular performance classes for solo and chamber music in either one of our concert halls. Students may also elect to share their 1-1 lessons between two principal study teachers, a practice which is encouraged and supported by the department. Students also have weekly opportunities to work with other members of the keyboard faculty, either by signing up for additional 1-1 piano classes or from the teaching rota in operation for each performance class. The department also runs an innovative, internal digital platform where all performance classes and concerts are recorded and then stored in a digital archive for our students to consult throughout their studies. This system is supported by a rich array of peer and tutor feedback and has become one of the key innovations in the department’s working practice, enabling students to watch, listen and reflect on their playing as well as supporting the work and development of their peers.

Our performing, teaching and practice facilities are world class. The Stevenson Hall plays host to regular live recital broadcasts for BBC Radio 3 and the prestigious, triennial Scottish International Piano Competition. Piano students benefit from a dedicated piano corridor with 10 practice rooms and 8 teaching rooms. Each piano practice room has a Steinway Model A grand and all piano teaching rooms are equipped with two, Model B Steinways. There are also 6 Model D Steinways in our concert halls and recording studio. Additionally, we operate a free loan system where students may take upright pianos to use in their accommodation during the academic year.

Principal study lessons and performance classes are also complemented by a wide variety of supporting study options, including classical improvisation, conducting, piano technique, organ and harpsichord seminars and French repertoire classes with world renowned pianist and scholar, Roy Howat. Students may also make CD quality recordings in our state of the art recording studio.

Opportunities to perform are one of the key drivers of the department. In addition to regular showcase concerts, masterclasses, an annual Piano Festival and the Plug contemporary music festival, keyboard students may also compete in over ten, internal competitions, including a concerto competition, classical concerto competition, Mozart piano concerto competition, duo-piano competition, Debussy prize, Bamber/Galloway and Walcer recital prizes, a rare Russian music prize and rare romantic music prizes and the prestigious Governor’s recital prize. Prize money for the various internal competitions total in excess of £5000.00 per annum.

Our students regularly win top prizes in many international and national competitions. During the past year alone, RCS piano students have won a total of 7 top prizes at international competitions, including First Prizes at the UNISA South Africa competition, Rio International Piano Competition, Ciurlionis Competition and Morocco Philharmonic Competition. Other competition successes include the Prix du Piano Interlaken Classics (Switzerland), the Sheepdrove Competition, Andre Dumortier Piano Competition (Belgium), the Royal Over-Seas League, (Overseas Prize) and Moray (1st Prize), Yamaha Competition (UK), Bromsgrove International Competition, Estonia (Tallinn 1st Prize), Lagny sur Marne and Piano Campus (France), Vines (Spain), Chieri (Italy) , Maria Callas (Greece), EU Competition (Prague) the Czech Republic, Sparkasse Chamber Music Competition (Frankfurt ) and Isidor Bajic (Serbia). We also offer an annual concerto performance opportunities with the prestigious Royal Scottish National Orchestra and the RCS Symphony Orchestra.

For more information on day-to-day highlights from the Keyboard Department, follow us on the RCS Keyboard Facebook Page.

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 Masters courses, students in keyboard have a wide range of supporting study options. These are designed to enhance, support and develop key skills in keyboard. Supporting study options include French repertoire – led by world reknown pianist and scholar, Roy Howat, piano technique, classical improvisation, conducting for pianists, organ and harpsichord seminars, accompaniment skills, Alexander technique, and sight-reading.

For further departmental news and highlights, follow us on the RCS Keyboard Facebook Page.

Staff and masterclasses

Pianoforte

International Fellow in Piano

International Fellow in Collaborative Piano

International Visiting Professor in Contemporary Improvisation

Visiting Professor in Piano

  • William Fong

Accordion

Organ

Harpsichord

Masterclasses

The Keyboard Studies department is fortunate to have masterclasses given by world renowned performers, including:

  • Steven Osborne
  • Leon Fleisher
  • Richard Goode
  • Elisabeth Leonskaja
  • Idil Biret
  • Malcolm Marineau
  • Andre Gavrilov
  • Stephen Hough
  • William Fong
  • Angela Hewitt
  • Dr Roy Howat
  • Dr Leslie Howard
  • Pascal Rogé
  • Roberto Prosseda
  • Louis Lortie

For further departmental news and highlights, follow us on the RCS Keyboard Facebook Page.

Audition requirements

The audition and interview

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.

Piano Solo

Performance of a programme from memory, comprising not less than three contrasting works (total playing time 25 minutes; total audition time 30 minutes, which will include a short interview). Sight-reading may be given.

Harpsichord

Performance of a programme comprising not less than three contrasting works (total playing time 25 minutes; total audition time 30, which will include a short interview.) Sight-reading may be given.

Organ and Accordion

Performance of a programme comprising not less than three contrasting works (total playing time 25 minutes; total audition time 30, which will include a short interview.) Sight-reading may be given.

Piano Accompaniment

Entrance requirements

In addition to the general entry requirements, candidates will preferably already have public performance experience of working with singers and instrumentalists. Knowledge of a specialist area of relevant repertoire (e.g. vocal, string, wind) is also desirable.

Audition

Applicants will be required to accompany a singer and an instrumentalist in works notified to them two to three weeks in advance (a rehearsal period of 30 minutes on the day of the audition will be allowed). Applicants will also be required to play at sight, to undertake a quick study test (given to them shortly before the audition).

 

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.

Student profiles

Petrica CiobanuPetrica Ciobanu

MMus pianist Petrica studied his BMus at RCS and is now a Masters student in the Keyboard and Collaborative Piano department. He is also the first RCS student to win both RCS concerto competitions. We spoke to Petrica about his studies and how he finds living in Glasgow.

You started your studies here in 2010 on the BMus programme. What were your first impressions of RCS and living in Glasgow?

I first remember being very impressed by the facilities and the training on offer. I was also instantly struck by how welcoming and supportive everyone is here. I felt like I fitted in from the very beginning. I love the cultural diversity of Glasgow. It is such an exciting and vibrant place to be.

What do you enjoy most about your Masters course?
Thanks to the RCS piano competition last year, I recently had the chance to play with the RCS Orchestra as part of the Danzmayr the Sorcerer concert with David Danzmayr, and it was a fabulous opportunity. Importantly, as well as the excellent performance opportunities, there is time to focus on practising and polishing my overall performance skills. My two teachers are extremely dedicated and RCS also organises some excellent masterclasses led by renowned visiting teachers.

Can you tell us what an average day as a postgraduate student is like?
Well, my performance schedule is pretty busy so I spend most of my time rehearsing or learning repertoire. I’m not at all a morning person, so I tend to practise from approximately 10am until 9pm. Luckily, RCS is open until late and during the day at weekends. I also have a piano lesson with my teacher Aaron Shorr every week, a weekly group theory seminar, and many other opportunities to receive important feedback on my concert and competition repertoire from my teachers and peers.

Tell us a bit about your tutors at RCS . What support do they give you in your studies? Is there any advice they’ve given you that’s really stuck with you?
My regular teachers are Aaron Shorr and Norman Beedie. They are both very experienced and dedicated. The best advice they’ve given me is to bring musical passion to everything I do without allowing that passion to overwhelm the music especially during a performance. On a more practical note, they have also given me really crucial advice about the importance of organising myself efficiently which is something I used to struggle with.

You have won a lot of competitions – both here at RCS and at international competitions. How do you deal with performing at such a high level? What’s been the highlight of your career so far?
Whether a concert or a competition, I always try to remember that the most important thing is to stay true to the music. Somehow, that keeps me focused and ready and the adrenaline of each event puts me on my mettle.
Every opportunity is valuable in its own way but I think the highlight so far has been when I was selected by the famous pianist Lang Lang as one of only ten soloists for his Massed Piano event at the Royal Festival Hall in 2011. I played one of my favourite Silvestri pieces and it gave me the chance to play in front of 3,000 people in the prestigious venue.

What advice would you give an aspiring musician who was thinking about applying to study here at RCS ?
The best advice is to come and see RCS for themselves or spend time talking to current students. I would recommend it to anyone who is looking for a nurturing study experience which encourages performance development as a priority.

You’ve got another year left of your studies here; what do you hope to do in this time and after you graduate?
Currently, between concerts, I am preparing for my entry into three of the world’s toughest piano competitions which will begin in summer next year. Glasgow is the perfect place for me to tap into the expertise of my teachers and hone my performance skills to be ready for such an important challenge. I am aiming high and I know everyone here will support me which is very reassuring.

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.

RCS is a national and international centre of excellence for the performing arts. It is one of the world’s most multi-disciplinary arts learning and teaching environments.

Reasons to choose us:

  • Competitive Scholarships
  • 90-minute individual lesson each week with your principal study tutor and the possibility to share principal study with two teachers
  • Steinway Model A grands in all dedicated piano practice rooms
  • Multitude of performance opportunities, including regular showcase concerts, annual Piano Festivals, internal competitions and chamber music
  • Annual concerto opportunities with the Royal Scottish National Orchestra and RCS Symphony Orchestra
  • Over 10 annual internal competitions with prizes totalling circa £5,000. Competitions include, Concerto Competition, Classical Concerto Competition, Mozart Concerto Competition, Bamber Galloway Recital Competition, Walcer Recital Prize, Webster rare Russian Music Prize, Rare Romantic Music Prize, Debussy Prize, Bach Prize, Governor’s Recital Prize, Governor’s Chamber Music Prize and the Lieder accompaniment prize
  • State-of-the-art recording studio, also with HD video capability
  • Multiple camera recording and editing classes
  • Up to 8 hours of performance classes each week in Stevenson Hall and the Ledger Recital Hall
  • Video documentation of concerts, events, masterclasses and performance classes
  • Online peer feedback
  • Rich array of Supporting Studies including: improvisation, conducting, piano technique, French repertoire, organ and harpsichord seminars and video lab
  • 100% of postgraduate respondents from the School of Music are in employment or further study (HESA, 15/16)
  • Varied programme of masterclasses from distinguished visiting artists; recent visitors include: Idil Biret, William Fong, Andrei Gavrilov, Richard Goode, Angela Hewitt, Leslie Howard, Elisabeth Leonskaja, Malcolm Martineau, Roberto Prosseda and Pascal Roge

For further departmental news and highlights, follow us on the RCS Keyboard Facebook Page.

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 can be found in our Applicant Guide.

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

Graduates of the RCS keyboard department are extremely resourceful and find employment in a wide variety of areas and contexts, including prominent, performing careers in solo, chamber music and accompaniment. RCS keyboard graduates have also gained high level university and specialist music school teaching posts throughout the world.

Facilities

RCS Keyboard facilities are amongst the best across the conservatoire sector. The Stevenson Hall plays host to regular live recital broadcasts for BBC Radio 3 and the prestigious, triennial Scottish International Piano Competition.

Piano students benefit from a dedicated piano corridor with 10 practice rooms and 8 teaching rooms. Each piano practice room has a Steinway Model A grand and all piano teaching rooms are equipped with two, Model B Steinways. There are also 6 Model D Steinways in our concert halls and state of the art recording studio. Additionally, we operate a free loan system where students may take upright pianos to use in their accommodation during the academic year.

There are up to 8 hours a week of performance classes in the Stevenson Hall and Ledger Recital Hall, allowing students to gain invaluable performing experience. All performance classes, concerts and masterclasses are videoed and placed on an internal network for RCS students and staff. In a unique and highly supported environment, staff and students provide feedback for each other, enabling students to document and reflect on their evolving practice throughout their time on the course.

For further departmental news and highlights, follow us on the RCS Keyboard Facebook Page.

Images and videos

Pan Yicheng

Tchaikovsky: From The Seasons – Januaray, February, June, November
Scriabin: Sonata No. 4
Rachmaninoff: Etudes Op. 39, Nos 8 and 9

Sinae Lee performs Szymanowski Mazurkas

Sinae Lee performs Szymanowski Sonata No. 2

Sinae Lee performs Szymanowski Etudes Op. 33

Yoonjeong Kim performs Szymanowski Variations on a Polish Theme, Op. 10

Daniel Petrica Ciobanu (RCS BMUS and MMUS) performs Strauss/Grunfeld Die Fledermaus Paraphrase

Yoonjeong Kim performs Brahms Piano Concerto in D Minor

Daniel Petrica Ciobanu (RCA MMUS 2016) performs Silvestri’s Bacanale at the 2014 Scottish International Piano Competition

RCS Piano Festival 2016: Fitkin Totti for 4 Pianos – Edyta Mydlowska, Maya Leigh-Rossenwasser, Viktoria Sarkadi, Georgios Kypridemos

RCS Piano Festival 2016: Kapustin Concerto for Two Pianos and Percussion, 1st Movt. – George Todica and Peter Johnstone

RCS Piano Festival 2016: Vivaldi/Bach Concerto for 4 Pianos: Piano Faculty – Sinae Lee, Victor Sangiorgio, Fali Pavri and Aaron Shorr

RCS International Fellow in Piano, Steven Osborne performs Messiaen Vingt Regards

Artem Amaro performs Rachmaninoff Concerto No. 2 with the RCS Symphony Orchestra

Mohamed Shams performs Tchaikovsky Piano Concerto No. 2 with RCS Symphony Orchestra

RCS Piano Festival 2013: Stravinsky The Rite of Spring

RCS Piano Festival 2015: Jonathan Plowright and Victor Sangiorgio perform Dave Brubeck’s They All Sang Yankee Doodle

RCS Piano Festival 2015: Kapustin Paraphrase on Dizzy Gillespie’s Manteca – Paulius Rudokas and Robertas Lozinskis

Artem Amaro – Piazzolla “Adios Nonino” Tango Rhapsody

Jonathan Plowright and Aaron Shorr perform Schubert Grand Duo

RCS Piano Festival 2013 Faculty Recital: Petras Geniusas performs Prokofiev Sonata No. 7

For further departmental news and highlights, follow us on the RCS Keyboard Facebook Page.