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Royal Northern College of Music

School Overview

    • Founded:
    • 1973
    • Size:
    • Small (<5000 students)
    • Type:
    • Private non-profit
    • Category:
    • Universities, colleges
      Art institutes
    • Specialization:
    • Music School 1
    • Climate:
    • Temperate
    • Location:
    • 124 Oxford Road, Manchester, England, United Kingdom
    • Phone:
    • +441619075200
    • Setting:
    • Urban

The History of the Royal Northern College of Music

The RNCM has a rich history, dating back to the late 19th century and the establishment of the Royal Manchester College of Music (RMCM). In 1858, Sir Charles Hallé founded the Hallé Orchestra in Manchester, and by the early 1890s had raised the idea of a music college in the city. Following an appeal for support, a building on Ducie Street was secured, Hallé was appointed Principal and Queen Victoria conferred the Royal title. The RMCM opened its doors to 80 students in 1893, rising to 117 by the end of the first year. Less than four decades later, in 1920, the Northern School of Music was established (initially as a branch of the Matthay School of Music), and for many years the two institutions peacefully coexisted. It wasn't until 1955 that NSM Principal, Hilda Collins, in recognizing the importance of performance in training students, met with RMCM Principal, Frederic Cox, to raise the question of merging. Discussions continued until September 1967 when a Joint Committee was formed to oversee plans to combine the two colleges. The RNCM was formed in 1972, moving to its purpose-built home on Oxford Road in 1973. 2013 marked the 40th anniversary year of the RNCM.

Academic Highlights

Currently, the college offers both undergraduate (BMus and joint MusB/GRNCM course with the University of Manchester in any of the five specializations offered) and postgraduate taught programs (PGDip, MMus) in musical performance and composition. In association with Manchester Metropolitan University, the college offers research degrees (MPhil, Ph.D.) in musical performance, composition, musicology and music psychology as part of its Graduate School and also confers awards at Companion, Fellowship (FRNCM) and Member level.

In January 2005, the RNCM was awarded £4.5 million by the Higher Education Funding Council for England to become a recognized Centre for Excellence in Teaching and Learning (CETL), the only UK conservatoire to be selected.

The RNCM currently has 770 students and 320 teaching staff, the majority of whom are part-time visiting tutors. Many of the staff also teach at the Junior RNCM, a Saturday music school for talented young musicians who are keen on pursuing a musical career.

Life in the Royal Northern College of Music

Our academic and professional services staff work tirelessly to create a world-class teaching and learning environment, and our students and alumni never fail to impress with the incredible things they achieve – both on and off stage.

We’re extremely proud to have received the highest Gold status in the most recent Teaching Excellence Framework, and we’re the UK’s leading music college for research. We’re also the recipient of two Times Higher Education Awards and a Global Teaching Excellence Spotlight Award, all of which highlight our commitment to ensuring that every student has the opportunity to create an incredible future, inspired by music.

School Ranking

world rank 3411


In brief, all applicants must be over 18 years old by 31 December in the year of entry, demonstrate a high level of performing/composition ability at an audition, and meet the minimum academic standards and English Language requirement for the course of choice.

Notable Alumni

Christopher Ball, composer, Alex Banfield, tenor, Barry Banks, tenor, Tim Benjamin, composer, Sir Harrison Birtwistle, composer, Peter Butterfield, conductor and tenor

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