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Learn from the Best

Teaching Staff

More than 1,000 lecturers, tutors, artists, technicians, coordinators and support staff work at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland across all of the many art forms. As a student here, you will be working with some of the finest educators and performing and production artists in the country.

Many of our teaching staff combine teaching with professional work, with music teachers holding positions in national orchestras, drama tutors directing professional companies and film lecturers working on new projects around the world. Our teaching staff have won accolades such as Music Tutor of the Year, A Gramophone Award, a BBC Music Magazine Award, Jazz Educator of the Year and a British Composer Award.

Visiting Artists

We also have strong relationships with leading professionals across the world who join us as Visiting Artists throughout the year. We invite subject specialists to join us so students benefit from their professional, industry experience. Recent Visiting Artists include:

  • Nicola Benedetti CBE
  • Nadine George
  • Giles Havergal CBE
  • Steven Osborne
  • Sir James MacMillan OBE
  • Jed Mercurio
  • Jessica Cottis
  • Lisa Milne

Professional Partnerships

As Scotland’s national conservatoire, we are uniquely placed to partner with all of the national artistic companies and professional industries.

These professional partnerships are embedded in the curriculum of each programme, so you can benefit from learning alongside industry experts from the beginning of your studies.

Our partners bring a breadth and depth of knowledge and experience of the performing arts: a wonderful resource for you to tap into and learn from whilst studying.

We firmly believe that the freedom of exchange between our students and our partners creates an extraordinary atmosphere, where the artistic leaders of today engage with and inspire the performers of tomorrow.

We are fortunate to have many opportunities for our students to perform alongside our partners. Music students may have the chance to perform in side-by-side concerts with RSNO or Scottish Ensemble, as well as perform alongside musicians from the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra.

Some of our partners include:

Royal Scottish National Orchestra

The Royal Scottish National Orchestra (RSNO) is one of Europe’s leading orchestras with a variety of work that is almost unparalleled amongst its British peers.

This incredible partnership offers students a bridge between conservatoire training to professional experience. School of Music students are invited to audition for the RSNO/RCS Professional Experience scheme, where they receive specialised mentoring and individual feedback sessions. Performance work alongside RSNO musicians takes place in Scotland’s Studio, the RSNO’s purpose-built auditorium with world-class recording and performance facilities.

Ryan Wigglesworth composing at the BBC Scottish Symphony event.

BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra

Our partnership with the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra offers deep and meaningful connections for our students straight to the heart of Scottish broadcasting, arts and culture. 

Through this relationship, students benefit from a professional experience scheme, performing and broadcast opportunities with BBC Radio 3, as well as behind-the-scenes access. This includes the Leverhulme Conducting Programme mentored by Martyn Brabbins, Visiting Professor of Conducting. Regular projects include side–by–side rehearsals, conducting sessions and composer workshops, and, most recently, a dedicated collaborative week, featuring public concerts and open rehearsals. 

Scottish Ballet

Scottish Ballet is bold, adventurous and inspires audiences on stage and beyond. The BA Modern Ballet programme is co-designed and delivered by RCS in partnership with the company. 

Throughout their programme, students work with the world-renowned company, as well as acclaimed guest teachers and choreographers. This offers a unique and invaluable insight into professional life. RCS dancers take part in the weekly company class at Scottish Ballet’s home at Tramway and enjoy exclusive access to rehearsals. There is also the opportunity to join the company on tour, and recently students have performed in Scottish Ballet productions of Cinders!, The Scandal at Mayerling, The Snow Queen, and Wee Hansel & Gretel. 

The National Piping Centre

The National Piping Centre and RCS have a long–standing relationship and together have produced the BMus Traditional Music — Piping programme.  

Through the partnership, pipers have a unique opportunity to work in a creative environment and take inspiration from the wider musical community in Glasgow, a UNESCO City of Music and global ‘home of piping’. Students gain real–world connections and professional experience, and graduate with the requisite skills to pursue a successful career in music.  

Catriona Hewitson and Lawrence Zazzo in the Scottish Opera production of 'A Midsummer Nights Dream'. Actors stand on a podium. They wear drab clothing and hold bright purple balloons.

Scottish Opera

Scotland’s national opera company is the largest performing arts organisation in the country. With its production studios located next door to our Wallace Studios, Scottish Opera is one of our closest neighbours and partners.

Our brand new Artist Diploma in Opera is delivered in partnership with Scottish Opera, and will allow emerging artists to work with the highest coaches in vocal technique and stagecraft in the UK and participate in two bespoke opera productions onstage in RCS and with Scottish Opera.

Other Collaborative opportunities include side-by-side rehearsals with the Orchestra of Scottish Opera and also placements for production students within Scottish Opera’s technical departments. 

Ryan Buchanan composing.

Scottish Chamber Orchestra

The internationally celebrated Scottish Chamber Orchestra (SCO) partners with RCS to offer unique side-by-side learning and performing opportunities for students.

Over the years, this partnership has performed all of the major large-scale works for winds by Mozart and Strauss. Students work alongside, and learn from, expert musicians and animateurs to deliver high-quality, collaborative music projects within formal and non-formal settings. Several students and graduates have progressed to work on SCO projects.

National Theatre of Scotland actresses performing 'Orphans'.

National Theatre of Scotland

National Theatre of Scotland showcases Scottish culture at home and around the world, telling stories that need to be told, in ways never seen before. The Company takes work where audiences are to be found whilst breaking down barriers to prevent people from participating.

The partnership RCS shares with the National Theatre of Scotland affords students valuable insights into the theatre industry. Students gain access to the important network of directors, sound technicians, stage managers and performance makers at Scotland’s national theatre. The partnership also offers students mentoring opportunities and work placements to best prepare them for their professional lives.

Violinist play sheet music.

Scottish Ensemble

A pioneering string orchestra where exceptional players champion the rich diversity of strings repertoire and explore adventurous ways through which it can be presented and shared.

This partnership offers vital practical experience and inspiration to the next generation of players. An Ensemble Week and Young Artists Scheme, in collaboration with RCS, offer early opportunities to promising students. Ensemble Week is a key fixture in the orchestra’s creative learning programme – five intensive days of coaching before a public side-by-side concert as part of the RCS Fridays at One concert series. Following this, a small group of students are selected to accompany Scottish Ensemble on tour, gaining invaluable experience of life as a professional touring musician.

Other professional partners we work with include:

  • BBC Scotland
  • Scottish Ensemble
  • Dumfries House
  • Citizens Theatre
  • BBC Radio 3
  • Celtic Connections
  • Dundee Rep
  • Solar Bear Theatre Company
  • Playwrights’ Studio Scotland
  • University of St Andrews

It’s as though our walls are transparent. Students interface with the industry and vice versa; there’s no barrier so there’s a gradual transition into employment. By the time they graduate they’ve worked with the most important players in Scotland, the UK and internationally. — Andrew Panton, Visiting Professor

Learn from the Best Video Series

You can also watch our Learn from the Best Video Series! We speak to our staff, visiting artists, and alumni to find out their top tips for everything from learning to play the accordion to how to audition successfully.

Sam Heughan

Karen Cargill

Krysty Wilson-Cairns

Tommy Smith

Jennifer Wrigley

Bethany Kingsley-Garner

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