Academy alumnus Gareth Coker begins his Visiting Professorship this academic year. Drawing on his vast experience in video game composition, Gareth will share his expertise with Academy students and give valuable insights into the industry. His appointment will facilitate a broadening of the area of study in the Academy’s Composition department and establish new potential career opportunities for students in the composing profession. In his first engagements with the Academy, Gareth will lead a seminar for composition students and also invite students to sit in on the recording sessions of his latest project at AIR studios.
Gareth Coker is known for his melodically driven scores, unique soundscapes, and attention to detail with the application of how music can, with each title, distinctively immerse and connect with the player's experience. In 2021 and 2023 Gareth won the Ivor Novello Award for Best Original Video Game Score. Other awards that his critically acclaimed scores have garnered include the Academy of Interactive Arts & Sciences Award for Outstanding Music Composition, the SXSW Award for Excellence in Musical Score (twice), and multiple BAFTA nominations. His video game and animation scores include Ori and the Will of the Wisps, the ARK series, Halo Infinite, The Ruined King: A League of Legends Story, Immortals Fenyx Rising, Minecraft - Mythologies, Mario + Rabbids: Sparks of Hope, and the upcoming Prince of Persia: The Lost Crown (2024).
Gareth Coker said: ‘I'm thrilled to be able to return to the Royal Academy of Music to help its composers fully understand and explore the possibilities of composition within video games and how that can plant seeds in animation, film and beyond. The world of video games is still expanding and is a platform for any artist to have their work reach an enormous audience. It is also in my opinion the place where the most creative music work for media is being done and I look forward to showcasing all this and more with the Academy's composition students.’
Colin Currie is also an alumnus of the Academy, and has served as professor of solo percussion, collaborator and leader of many projects. This appointment strengthens his relationship with the Academy by working not only with percussion students but developing a role with other instrumental students in exciting new concert opportunities. Colin will begin his role in September 2024, when he will also direct his first concert for the Academy.
Colin Currie is in high demand as a percussion soloist, performing regularly with the world’s leading orchestras and ensembles including the London Philharmonic Orchestra, Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, New York Philharmonic and the Cleveland Orchestra. With a particular focus on contemporary compositions, Colin has worked closely with many of today's most renowned composers. He has premiered works by Steve Reich, Elliott Carter, Louis Andriessen, HK Gruber, James MacMillan and Einojuhani Rautavaara. In addition to his career as a soloist, Colin is the founder of the Colin Currie Group, the Colin Currie Quartet and Colin Currie Records.
Colin Currie said: ‘As I begin my third professorial decade for my Alma Mater I am delighted with this new and enriched role, curating ensemble projects for and with the students. Nothing is more crucial than performance experience, and this area will engender maximum diversity of contemporary repertoire and broad stylistic versatility.’
The Academy’s Principal, Jonathan Freeman-Attwood, said: ‘I’m delighted to welcome these two esteemed alumni to these new positions as the Academy strives to expand the contemporary boundaries of our students' creativity. Colin and Gareth are not only artists at the top of their respective fields but also fabulous role models. Their appointments will provide special opportunities to help our young colleagues to be best prepared for the ever-changing professional world.’
The Academy is proud to welcome some of the world’s finest artists to work with our students on masterclasses and performance projects, providing them with inspirational learning opportunities. Recent Visiting Professor appointments have included distinguished soprano and conductor Barbara Hannigan, tenor Nicky Spence and violist Timothy Ridout.