Marin Alsop, Ncuti Gatwa, Sam Heughan and Errollyn Wallen to be honoured by the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland

Marin Alsop, Ncuti Gatwa, Sam Heughan and Errollyn Wallen to be honoured by the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland

Published: 09/06/2022

A stellar line-up of groundbreaking artists from stage, screen and music will be honoured alongside the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland Class of 2022 next month.

Four visionary figures from across the creative arts will be recognised with honorary degrees at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland’s summer graduation.

Honorary degrees are awarded by the Academic Board of the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, which may confer the title upon any person it considers has made a truly outstanding contribution to their profession and whose achievements richly deserve high distinction and recognition.

This summer’s recipients are:

Marin Alsop

Marin Alsop sits facing the camera with an elbow resting on her knee. In her hand, she holds her conductor's baton. She  is smiling and dressed in formal black concert wear

© Nancy Horowitz

  • Pioneering musician and cultural leader, considered to be one of the finest conductors of all time
  • First woman to lead a major American orchestra at the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra and the first woman to conduct Last Night of the Proms in 2013
  • Founding Director of OrchKids, the music programme designed to create social change and nurture promising futures for youth in Baltimore City neighbourhoods.


Ncuti Gatwa, RCS BA Acting graduate

close-up shot of Ncuti Gatwa who is looking straight to the camera wearing a white t-shirt

© Wolf Marloh

  • BAFTA-winning star of Netflix smash Sex Education
  • Recently announced as BBC’s new Doctor Who
  • Advocate for youth homelessness charity Centrepoint


Sam Heughan, RCS BA Acting graduate

close up shot of Sam Heughan wearing a black leather jacket, facing the camera with his arms crossed. He is standing in the wings of a theatre, with purple lighting as a backdrop

© Robert McFadzean/RCS

  • Star of time-travelling TV drama Outlander and executive producer of Men in Kilts, the travel documentary series with Outlander co-star Graham McTavish
  • New York Times bestselling author
  • Entrepreneur and philanthropist who is the founder of global movement My Peak Challenge and creator of a new ten-year scholarship programme and creative commission at RCS.


Errollyn Wallen CBE, RCS Visiting Professor of Composition

Mid-length shot of Errollyn Wallen who is facing the camera with her hands resting on her hips. She is wearing a red patterned long-sleeve top and is looking straight to the camera

© Azzurra Primavera

  • Celebrated composer, singer-songwriter and educator whose music has orbited earth
  • Described as ‘the renaissance woman of contemporary British music’*
  • Prolific cross-genre output spans everything from opera, orchestral and dance to film and television.


On Thursday, July 7, more than 300 students will graduate across the disciplines of music, drama, dance, production, film and education at the nation’s conservatoire, named one of the world’s top five destinations to study the performing arts in the QS World University Rankings earlier this year.

Professor Jeffrey Sharkey, Principal of the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, said: “This year, the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland is delighted to be honouring four exceptional artists who not only entertain audiences across the globe but continue to inspire and show real leadership. Marin Alsop, Ncuti Gatwa, Sam Heughan and Errollyn Wallen are outstanding ambassadors and role models.

“Graduation is a highlight of the year, and we can’t wait to join our students for what is always a wonderful day of joyful celebration. To be able to come together in person to mark their achievements, after the challenges of the last two years, will have extra significance. It is also an opportunity to recognise the groundbreaking artists who use their art, and platforms, as powerful vehicles for change.”

There will also be a day of celebration on Wednesday, July 6 for the classes of 2020 and 2021 who graduated during the pandemic. As in-person summer graduation ceremonies couldn’t take place during that time due to health and safety guidelines, they’ll return to RCS with family and friends to mark the milestone.

Professor Sharkey added: “Throughout the pandemic, we always said that when we were able to, we’d invite our 2020 and 2021 graduates back to RCS to have the graduation they missed out on due to the health and safety regulations on large group gatherings during that time.

“We’re thrilled that so many can join us on 6 July and can’t wait to welcome them, and their loved ones, to RCS. This remarkable group displayed such resilience, creativity and commitment during their studies in such a time of uncertainty for us all.”

Watch the RCS summer graduation ceremonies on the website

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