Jazz news

Kenny Wheeler Jazz Prize Winner 2014
2014 Parliamentary Jazz Awards: nominations for Academy alumni and professors
Richard Turner Jazz Fund: Congratulations to Jazz student Tom McCredie
London Jazz News interviews Nick Smart about Dave Holland, International Jazz Artist in Residence at the Academy
Academy alumna Trish Clowes in conversation (words and music) with Nick Smart, Head of Jazz

Recent appointments

Dave HollandDave Holland, International Jazz Artist in Residence
A master of tone and rhythm, the bassist, composer, and bandleader is now in his fifth decade as a performer. Holland got his big break playing with Miles Davis and went on to work with artists such as Bonnie Raitt, John Hartford, Anthony Braxton, Stan Getz, Cassandra Wilson, Jack DeJohnette, Chick Corea, Joe Henderson, Thelonious Monk, Betty Carter, Pat Metheny, Kenny Wheeler, Bill Frisell, Roy Haynes and Herbie Hancock over the course of his career.

John Hollenbeck

John Hollenbeck, Visiting Professor of Jazz 2013/14
Genre-crossing composer/percussionist John Hollenbeck received degrees in percussion (B.M.) and jazz composition (M.M.) from the Eastman School of Music and moved to New York City in the early 1990s. He has worked with many of the world’s leading musicians in both jazz and new music, including Bob Brookmeyer, Fred Hersch, Tony Malaby and Meredith Monk. 

“The stream of talented players emerging from the Royal Academy of Music’s jazz course seems unending
Ivan Hewett, Daily Telegraph’s Saturday Review

The Academy has for many years now produced the most outstanding array of exciting, versatile, creative and employable musicians to emerge on to the jazz scene.

So what is so unique about studying at the Academy that equips our graduates to achieve such consistently high levels? We offer an ideal supportive environment in which to learn and experiment with this extremely broad art form. There is a strong emphasis on performance and composition, with opportunities to play with your own groups — at the Academy and also at the many venues with which we have strong links, including the 606, the Vortex, the Forge, Ronnie Scott’s and Kings Place.

Departments full: Jazz

The course benefits from small numbers, enabling you to receive a personalised education and close support throughout your studies. The students of each yeargroup grow and develop as an ensemble, playing together extensively in projects and classes as well as collaborating with other players. This interaction between peers naturally develops to a level where lifelong musical associations are formed.

The finest jazz musicians have always been complete musicians with a unified voice through their improvising, composing and arranging: from Duke Ellington to Herbie Hancock, Wayne Shorter to Kenny Wheeler. We strive to continue this tradition with a full and varied course covering many aspects and forms of jazz and applications within other genres. We aim that, by graduation, you will have found your own creative voice and will be equipped with a versatile set of skills to enable you to pursue the future you want as a working musician.

You can find Academy graduates wherever innovations are being made. John Escreet and Orlando le Fleming are working in New York, and in London Kit Downes, Gwilym Simcock and Jasper Hoiby, among many others, have enjoyed countless successes.

The department runs a four-year BMus undergraduate programme, and MA and MMus programmes of 1–2 years.


Projects reflect the diversity of the jazz scene. Tutors are selected from our outstanding faculty alongside visiting artists including Chris Batchelor, Richard Fairhurst, Jim Hart, Mark Lockheart, Oren Marshall, Seb Rochford, Mark Sanders, Jean Toussaint, Will Vinson and Mike Walker.


Department Staff

Nick Smart
Head of Jazz Programmes

Contact Details

Emily Mould
Telephone: 020 7873 7379