As President, the Prince of Wales visited the Royal College of Music (RCM) this week for the Royal College of Music’s Annual President’s Visit. He gifted the college with a guzheng, a 21-string Chinese instrument he received during the Chinese State Visit in 2015.
The RCM announced a new Joint Institute in China with the Shanghai Conservatory of Music. The guzheng is now on loan to the RCM. A concert was performed for the Prince where the Chinese zither was played by Xiao Ran. Also as part of his visit, conductor Sir John Eliot Gardiner and opera singer Sir John Tomlinson were both presented with honorary doctorates during the ceremony.
The short concert also included performances by former students of the RCM; South African bass-baritone Simon Shibambu, percussionist Kizzy Brooks, bassoonist Todd Gibson-Cornish. Current masters student, soprano Rowan Pierce also performed.
Professor Colin Lawson CBE, Director of the Royal College of Music, said: “It is hugely special to be joined by our President to celebrate so many eminent musicians and Royal College of Music supporters, who each make such an enormous contribution to the musical life of this country and beyond. It is also wonderful to honour the talents of Royal College of Music students, who we have no doubt will go on to become equally influential, and the teaching staff who do so much to inspire, support and nurture them.”
The Royal College of Music was founded in 1882 by the then Prince of Wales (Edward VII). There are over 800 students from 60-plus countries who attend the RCM for Undergraduate, Graduate, and Doctorial programmes. It has trained such renowned talents such as “composers Holst, Vaughan Williams, Turnage and Britten; conductors such as Leopold Stokowski, Sir Colin Davis and Sir Roger Norrington; singers such as Dame Joan Sutherland, Sir Thomas Allen and Alfie Boe; instrumentalists such as Sir James Galway, John Lill and Natalie Clein.”
The RCM has five orchestras, two jazz bands and the International Opera School. These groups of talented artists perform around the UK and the world. The Prince of Wales has served as RCM President since 1993.