Content by Royal Academy of Music Press Office

Innovation and collaboration: Royal Academy of Music announces Spring Season

Guest conductors Marin Alsop, Sir Mark Elder and John Wilson lead the Academy Symphony Orchestra
Georg Friedrich Haas and Anna Thorvaldsdottir
After 10 years exploring Bach’s cantatas, Bach the European renews the Academy’s celebration of the composer
Hitting the Right Note: Amazing Women of the Academy continues with a series of talks and chamber music concerts
Royal Academy Opera presents a double bill of Iolanta and L’enfant et les sortilèges
Facebook live-streaming of major concerts
Over 160 concerts, masterclasses, lectures, talks and educational events across the season  

The Royal Academy of Music announces its Spring Season featuring a new Bach series, an exciting line up of guest artists, two Composers in Residence, extensive collaborations, and explorations of digitisation.

Marin Alsop (18 Jan), Sir Mark Elder (22 Feb) and John Wilson (15 Mar) join the Academy Symphony Orchestra with repertoire including Strauss, Hindemith, Bax and Shostakovich. Alsop’s concert will be streamed live on the Academy’s Facebook page.

After a decade of performing Bach Cantatas, the Academy embarks on a new series, Bach the European: From Ancient Cosmos towards Enlightenment, which opens with Trevor Pinnock leading the mighty St Matthew Passion (3 Feb), and continues with Bach and the Extended Family directed by Philippe Herreweghe (3 Mar), featuring two JS Bach cantatas alongside masterpieces by his first cousin once removed, JC Bach. Excitingly, the opening performance will also be live-streamed on the Academy’s Facebook page.

In Spring, the Academy celebrates Sir Henry Wood’s 150th anniversary with six events including Professor Raymond Holden’s survey of Wood’s remarkable life through film and marked scores (25 Feb), and a talk on Wood’s fascinating career as a recording artist (11 Mar).

The latest chamber series (21 Feb-7 Mar) features works by influential female composers and players from Priaulx Rainer (28 Feb) to Roxanna Panufnik (5 Mar), continuing the celebration of a centenary of women’s suffrage. Alongside the museum’s temporary exhibition, Hitting the Right Note: Amazing Women of the Academy, it provides an important platform for the performance and discussion of extraordinary, trailblazing women in the world of music.

Composition is at the core of the spring programme, with the Academy welcoming two Composers in Residence, Georg Friedrich Haas (29 Jan) and Anna Thorvaldsdottir (8 Feb). Students will also work with CHROMA, presenting compositions for clarinet, piano, violin and cello (14 Feb), and with London Metropolitan Brass (5 March), while Comedy, Tragedy and Really Loud Electronics (14 Feb) is an intense 45-minute rollercoaster of brand-new music for trumpet, saxophone, piano and electronics that blurs the lines between contemporary classical, jazz and Celtic folk.


Collaboration – between departments, visiting artists and organisations – is an integral part of Academy life, enriching our programming and creating exciting opportunities for our students, and is a core theme of the Spring Season. In February, Ensemble in Residence Septura will perform side by side with Academy students (15 Feb), while Junior Academy collaborates with RADA and Rambert School in a staged performance of Stravinsky’s The Soldier’s Tale (23 Feb) that unites movement and music. The performance will be preceded by six short pieces composed by Junior Academy students, written especially for this project and choreographed by students from Rambert. In March, the Historical Performance and Composition Departments come together for a new music project (1 Mar), followed by the Historical Performance and Vocal Departments’ collaborative, semi-staged performance of John Blow’s masque Venus and Adonis (20 Mar).

Outside of the Academy, students join musicians, actors and dancers from Bristol Old Vic Theatre School, RADA, LAMDA, Central School of Ballet and Royal College of Music for Otis and Eunice (29-30 Mar), a multi-location, specially commissioned theatrical performance. This is the culmination of the four-year Virtual Conservatoire project, a collaborative initiative reimagining conservatoire training for the digital age.

This spring, the Jazz Department celebrates the 40-year anniversary of Steely Dan’s iconic album Aja with a roof-raising Academy Big Band concert (1 Feb), enjoys its fifth annual jazz festival (6-7 Feb), and revisits the music of King of Swing Benny Goodman (8 Mar) in a concert that opens with a set of recently discovered pieces arranged in 1935 that have not been performed for more than 80 years.

Royal Academy Opera showcases exceptional young singers with a magical spring double bill of Iolanta and L’enfant et les sortilèges, two exquisite short operas depicting the relationships between parents and children (18-22 Mar).

In addition to concerts and events, the Academy welcomes a number of musicians to give masterclasses with our students, including Rachel Podger (14 Jan), Richard Goode (15 Jan), James Ehnes (17 Jan), Allan Clayton (7 Feb), Hartmut Höll (4-6 March), Tasmin Little (8 Mar) and Claude-Michel Schönberg (8 Mar). 

Royal Academy of Music

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