Royal Northern College of Music

The Royal Northern College of Music (RNCM) is one of the leading conservatoires in the world, located in Manchester, England. It is one of four conservatoires associated with the Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music. In addition to being a centre of music education, RNCM is one of the UK's busiest and most diverse public performance venues.

Royal Northern College of Music
West entrance, Booth Street
TypePublic, Conservatoire
Established1973 by the merger of the Northern School of Music (established 1920) and the Royal Manchester College of Music (established 1893)
PresidentSir John Tomlinson
PrincipalLinda Merrick[1]
Administrative staff
320 teaching staff
Students955 (2016/17)[2]
Undergraduates640 (2016/17)[2]
Postgraduates315 (2016/17)[2]
124 Oxford Road, Manchester M13 9RD
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AffiliationsUniversity of Manchester, Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music, Conservatoires UK


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 Collens, in recognising 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.


The college building was built between 1968 and 1973 by architects Bickerdike, Allen, Rich and greatly extended 30 years later. A major refurbishment of the Concert Hall was undertaken, between December 2013 and September 2014, by Scott Hughes Design.[3]


Currently the college offers both undergraduate (BMus and joint MusB/GRNCM course with the University of Manchester in any of the five specialisations offered) and postgraduate taught programmes (PGDip, MMus) in musical performance and composition. In association with Manchester Metropolitan University the college offers research degrees (MPhil, PhD) 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[4].

In January 2005, the RNCM was awarded £4.5 million by the Higher Education Funding Council for England to become a recognised 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.


The college is divided into 6 schools by area of specialisation.

  • School of Composition
  • School of Keyboard Studies
  • School of Strings
  • School of Vocal Studies and Opera
  • School of Wind, Brass & Percussion
  • Popular Music

There is also a School of Conducting within its Graduate School.

Student life

Students' Union

The RNCM students' union (RNCMSU) is the main student-run organisation. Besides representing the study body, the RNCMSU also plans and organises social programmes and provides peer support for students. The RNCMSU is member of the National Union of Students.[5][6]

Student housing

There is a large residential hall, Sir Charles Groves Hall, located next to the campus.[7] Alternatively, students may choose to rent a flat at the Manchester Student Homes, the sole provider of housing for university students in Manchester.[8]

Notable alumni

Directors of the RNCM

See also


  1. "Linda Merrick :: About :: RNCM". Archived from the original on 3 July 2013. Retrieved 23 October 2015.
  2. "2016/17 Students by HE provider, level, mode and domicile" (CSV). Higher Education Statistics Agency. Retrieved 25 March 2018.
  5. "Students' Union". Archived from the original on 4 February 2012. Retrieved 9 March 2012.
  6. National Union of Students: Royal Northern College of Music
  7. "Accommodation". Archived from the original on 3 January 2012. Retrieved 9 March 2012.
  8. "Manchester Student Homes". Archived from the original on 29 January 2011. Retrieved 23 October 2015.
  9. Ward, David (23 September 2008). "Cool cat in the conservatoire". Guardian. Guardian. Retrieved 15 September 2019.
  10. "Linda Merrick". Retrieved 6 December 2019.

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