Royal Academy of Music

Royal Academy of Music


The Royal Academy of Music has been training musicians to the highest professional standards since its foundation in 1822.


    The Royal Academy of Music has been training musicians to the highest professional standards since its foundation in 1822. As Britain's senior conservatoire, its impact on musical life, both in the UK and abroad, is inestimable. The music profession is permeated at all levels with Academy alumni, including classical giants such as Sir Simon Rattle and Sir Harrison Birtwistle, pop icons Sir Elton John and Annie Lennox, a host of opera stars such as Dame Felicity Lott, Lesley Garrett and Susan Bullock, principals in some of the world's leading orchestras (including the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, the Berlin and Vienna Philharmonic Orchestras, the Orchestra of the Metropolitan Opera New York, and all of London's leading orchestras), innovative soloists including Dame Evelyn Glennie and Joanna MacGregor, bestselling recording artists such as Katherine Jenkins, and media celebrities Gareth Malone, Aled Jones and Myleene Klass.

    An institution that trained Sir Arthur Sullivan, Sir Henry Wood, Sir John Barbirolli, Lionel Tertis, Dame Myra Hess, Dame Moura Lympany, Richard Lewis, Dennis Brain, Sir Clifford Curzon, Philip Langridge and John Dankworth, and with strong associations back to Mendelssohn, is bound to be proud of its history; but the Academy is firmly focused on refreshing creative traditions for tomorrow's musical leaders in the classical, jazz, media and musical theatre worlds. Every year some of the most talented young musicians from over fifty countries come to study at the Academy, attracted by renowned teachers and by a rich artistic culture that broadens their musical horizons, develops their professional creativity, and fosters their entrepreneurial spirit. In addition to a busy schedule of lessons, classes and masterclasses, students benefit from the Academy's ambitious and unrivalled calendar of concerts, operas, musical theatre shows and other events, in which they work with leading practitioners such as Sir Simon Rattle, Sir Peter Maxwell Davies, Yan Pascal Tortelier, Trevor Pinnock, Pierre-Laurent Aimard, Semyon Bychkov, Thomas Brandis and Barbara Bonney. As International Chair of Conducting Studies from 1988 until he died in 2013, Sir Colin Davis conducted a total of eight operas and over fifty orchestral concerts at the Academy.

    All these facets of Royal Academy of Music life contribute to The Guardian's recent ranking of the Academy as top UK conservatoire for three years on the trot, and praising its "cosmopolitan confidence that is in tune with the global music industry". 

    Ever since its inception, the Academy has been committed to transporting its musical activities from its central London home to the widest possible national and international audiences. Today, Academy students perform at many leading venues and festivals, including Wigmore Hall, Southbank Centre, Kings Place and the Aldeburgh Festival. They collaborate with distinguished partners such as the London Sinfonietta, the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment and the Juilliard School in high-profile projects that attract national attention and critical plaudits. Notably, the Academy and New York's Juilliard School joined orchestral forces in sensational concerts in the Lincoln Center and BBC Proms. The Academy's own record label, with distribution through Harmonia Mundi, has received critical acclaim for over twenty releases. The Academy is committed to lifelong learning, ranging from the Junior Academy that trains musicians up to the age of eighteen, through many ‘Open Academy' community music projects with schools in London and further afield, to performances and educational events for the musically curious of all ages.

    The Academy's museum is home to one of the world's most significant collections of instruments and artefacts. Highlights include the important collection of Italian stringed instruments (with many examples by Stradivari, Guarneri and members of the Amati family), a unique collection of nineteenth-century keyboard instruments, composers' manuscripts (including Purcell's The Fairy Queen and Vaughan Williams' Fantasia on a Theme of Thomas Tallis) and collections that belonged to Sir Henry Wood, Sir John Barbirolli, Lord Menuhin, Otto Klemperer, Sir Charles Mackerras, Nadia Boulanger, Richard Lewis, Robert Spencer, Norman McCann and David Munrow. These collections are an invaluable educational and artistic resource for the Academy's entire community, underpinning teaching and research and enabling young musicians to find their own artistic profile in the context of musical riches of the past.

    As the Academy approaches its bicentenary it goes from strength to strength. In the past three years alone, the Academy has been rated the best conservatoire for research by the Times Higher Education, the top conservatoire and the second-highest rated institution in the country for student satisfaction in the National Student Survey, and top conservatoire in The Times University Guide.