Our SIDE-BY-SIDE projects have played a unique role in high-level musical training at the Academy for over 20 years, giving students the experience of rehearsing and performing in a completely professional context. In March, we were delighted to continue artistic partnerships with five of our SIDE-BY-SIDE partners, allowing students to exercise their musical skills in environments that mirror the industry.

At the beginning of the month, we welcomed the Kaleidoscope Chamber Collective with their directors Tom Poster and Elena Urioste. Curated by some of the Academy’s current visiting professors, our students and members of Kaleidoscope performed three concerts, featuring music from Beethoven to Coleridge-Taylor.

Just a few days later, students from the Academy’s Manson Ensemble joined forces with the London Sinfonietta and Londinium Choir to pay tribute to Harrison Birtwistle in a concert at the Southbank Centre. The London Sinfonietta was the Academy’s first SIDE-BY-SIDE partner, a relationship dating back to 2002, and a longstanding collaborator of Birtwistle’s, so it was therefore fitting to come together to celebrate the late, great composer. The concert was reviewed by Ivan Hewett in The Telegraph:

'Played with edge-of-the-seat electric energy by the Sinfonietta and Royal Academy of Music Manson Ensemble.'

Later in March we were joined by regular collaborators the Riot Ensemble and Onyx Brass for further SIDE-BY-SIDE projects. Working with these ensembles gave our students the opportunity to experience the world of contemporary music performance, and learn about professional expectations across many different creative arenas. In two concerts at the Duke’s Hall, students from across the Academy joined these ensembles to showcase world premieres of works by Jasper Dommett, Andrea Balency Béarn, Errollyn Wallen and Bobbie-Jane Gardner.

Each year Academy instrumentalists join the Nash Ensemble for a concert at Wigmore Hall, and this year’s performance rounded off our series of SIDE-BY-SIDE projects in March. Acclaimed cellist Adrian Brendel and prolific pianist Alasdair Beatson joined our students for this concert, which featured works from our 200 PIECES collection as well as a new work by PhD student Sun Keting.

In our upcoming Summer term, we look forward to further SIDE-BY-SIDE projects with the Ligeti Quartet and the Academy's Wind professors. Visit our SIDE-BY-SIDE page to learn more and to read about our artistic partners.

Image 1: Students rehearsing with members of the Kaleidoscope Chamber Collective

Image 2: Students performing with the London Sinfonietta at Queen Elizabeth Hall, Southbank Centre © London Sinfonietta and Sisi Burn

Image 3: Students rehearsing with the Riot Ensemble