HRH The Prince of Wales meets young musicians and confers honours at the Royal College of Music
Tuesday 3 May 2022
His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales today [03 May 2022] conferred honours to musicians, music industry professionals and Royal College of Music (RCM) students at a ceremony held at the RCM’s iconic South Kensington campus.
In his 29th year as President of the Royal College of Music, The Prince of Wales met students studying at the RCM’s Junior Department and even younger musicians who learn instruments through RCM Sparks, the College’s outreach programme. The RCM has recently been ranked the global top institution for performing arts in the 2022 QS World University Rankings by Subject, and, as part of the ceremony, His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales heard a musical performance featuring some of the RCM’s exceptional students.
Professor Colin Lawson, Director of the Royal College of Music, said: ‘The President's visit is always a significant moment in the Royal College of Music's calendar and this year we honour the contribution made by exceptional musicians from across the world, many of whom are Royal College of Music alumni. To produce world-leading musicians there needs to be better access to high-quality music education for all, and ongoing support for young people as they progress.’
Those made a Fellow of the Royal College of Music include two-time Grammy-nominated saxophonist Amy Dickson; composer Anna Meredith MBE; founder of the Purcell Quartet, Richard Boothby; violinist and RCM Professor Gabrielle Lester who has led orchestras for recordings of numerous film and television scores including Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings and Doctor Who; and Thomas Trotter, Resident Organist at Birmingham Symphony Hall, and a recent recipient of the Queen’s Medal for Music.
Following the ceremony, The Prince of Wales met young musicians from the RCM Junior Department students – siblings Imaan and Jamaal Kashim – who play the violin and the harp, respectively.
Imaan, aged 18, who has been offered a place to study at the Royal College of Music from September, said of the occasion: 'The RCM is like a musical springboard to me. We are a very close-knit family of young musicians, and the strong sense of community between staff, students, teachers and parents alike makes the RCM a very fulfilling place to spend my Saturdays.'
Speaking of his experience at the RCM’s Junior Department Jamaal, 14, said: ‘The Royal College of Music has been my music-making home for the past six years, and it is such a happy place of musical curiosity, friendship and opportunity. My time at RCM Junior Department has shown me how all those differences can be brought together through music to make something unified and very beautiful without letting go of who we are, embracing the diversity of each other and building a community. I feel incredibly lucky indeed to be part of that world.'
The siblings continued: 'We are delighted to have the incredibly exciting honour of performing for His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales and we truly hope His Royal Highness enjoys the music we prepared for this special occasion.’
The Royal College of Music Junior Department (RCMJD) offers talented young musicians between eight and 18 an advanced musical education. Every Saturday the Junior Department welcomes students from across the UK for a tailor-made programme of individual lessons and ensemble training and the principles of musicianship. This, along with over 100 opportunities to perform at venues across London and encouragement to enter competitions helps prepare young musicians for musical life in the 21st century.
His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales also met 12-year-old twins Sami and Mehdi Uwahemu who have been engaged with RCM Sparks – the College’s learning and participation programme – since 2016. They have attended over 26 events to date and were accepted onto the Sparks Juniors pathway in Spring 2019. This fully funded programme of musicianship includes lessons taught by experienced RCMJD teachers and supported by trained RCM undergraduate students. This pathway also allows pupils to audition for the main RCMJD programme which both Sami and Mehdi have done. In September 2021 Mehdi achieved a full place at RCMJD, studying the bassoon with Susanne Simma. Sami achieved an associate member place (supported by a Future Talent bursary) in 2021 and has successfully auditioned for a full RCMJD place starting in September 2022.
Speaking of RCM Sparks, Sami and Mehdi’s mother, Fouzia Radi said: ‘I am grateful to the Royal College of Music for giving both my boys the opportunity to learn how to play an instrument with amazing teachers. They enjoy music a great deal and thanks to this opportunity, they have been given the chance to get into a good local secondary school with a specialism in music. It gives me great pleasure to see them both flourish.’