ENJOY ALMOST LIMITLESS CREATIVE SCOPE TO ESTABLISH YOUR NICHE AND LAUNCH A VARIED AND REWARDING CAREER

The Strings Department provides a structured framework for undergraduate and postgraduate study.

'The walls of the Academy are quite porous. People from the profession come in and students go out. There’s no "them and us"'
Professor Jo Cole, Head of Strings

During your time with us, you will receive intensive training in the crucial disciplines of solo performance, chamber music and orchestral playing. We will nurture your talent and help you to become a versatile, creative and practical musician.

Our highly distinguished professors and visiting professors range in age from their 20s to their 80s, encompassing an incredible breadth of knowledge and boasting an extraordinary musical lineage.

Students have access to instruments from the Academy Museum’s extensive collection, from newly minted modern instruments to ‘golden-period’ Stradivari violins. The Academy is unique in also having a professional team of luthiers permanently on site.

Our approach is to create grounded, rounded musicians whose progression into the music profession is natural, informed and positive.

Josef Špaček rehearses the 'Allegro vivace' Dvořák’s Serenade for Strings

Josef Špaček rehearses the 'Allegro vivace' Dvořák’s Serenade for Strings

Open Days

We launched our first-ever Virtual Open Days in September 2020. Check out all our content here: ram.ac.uk/opendays

Nathaniel Anderson-Frank

Nathaniel Anderson-Frank

Graduated 2011
Violin

Nathaniel Anderson-Frank

Graduated 2011

Violin

Nathaniel Anderson-Frank is Leader of the BBC Concert Orchestra. He has appeared with them as soloist at the 2019 BBC Proms, as well as on tour around China and the UK, and is frequently featured on BBC Radio 2 and 3. In recent years, Nathaniel has been invited to guest lead the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, BBC Symphony Orchestra and the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra; previously, he was Assistant Leader of the Philharmonia.

Since 2013, Anderson-Frank has led the prize-winning Piatti Quartet, with whom he has appeared in concert throughout the UK and Europe. Recent recordings with the quartet include a critically acclaimed album, Albion Refracted, for the Champs Hill label, featuring the premiere recordings of Mark-Anthony Turnage's Twisted Blues with Twisted Ballad and Joseph Phibb's String Quartet No 1.

A committed educator, Anderson-Frank regularly coaches students at both the Royal Academy of Music and the Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music & Dance, where he has also held solo and chamber music fellowships. Anderson-Frank has been invited to share his experience as an orchestral tutor for the Pioneer High School for the Performing Arts (USA), I, Culture Orchestra (Poland), Aberdeenshire Youth Orchestra and the National Music Camp of Canada.

A native of Toronto now living in the UK, Anderson-Frank received his Master’s degree with the highest honours from the Royal Academy of Music as a full-scholarship pupil of Maurice Hasson. He also holds a Bachelor of Music degree with academic honours from the Cleveland Institute of Music, where he studied with Paul Kantor. He was made an Associate of the Academy in 2015.

Photo by Brianna Eddy

Meet
our alunni

Ning Feng

Ning Feng

Graduated 2003
Violin

Ning Feng

Graduated 2003

Violin

Ning Feng is recognised internationally as an artist of great lyricism, innate musicality and stunning virtuosity. The Berlin based, Chinese violinist performs across the globe in recitals and chamber concert with major orchestras and conductors.

Recent engagements have included the Budapest Festival Orchestra with Iván Fischer; tours with the Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra and Jaap van Zweden to Europe, Asia and Australia; a tour to China with the Konzerthausorchester Berlin and Lawrence Foster. As well as successful debuts with the Los Angeles Philharmonic and Xian Zhang; National Symphony Orchestra and Gianandrea Noseda and BBC Philharmonic Orchestra and Simone Young. In recital and chamber music he performs regularly with Igor Levit at many of the world’s major festivals and concert venues.

Feng records for Channel Classics in the Netherlands and his new disc Virtuosismo featuring Paganini’s Violin Concerto No. 1 and Vieuxtemps’ Violin Concerto No. 4 was released in September 2019. His earlier recording of Bach’s complete solo works for violin was hailed by Gramophone as “unlike anyone else’s… it’s the illusion of a freewheeling conversation projected from within that held me captive." Further discs include recordings of the Elgar and Finzi violin concertos with the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra, Tchaikovsky’s Violin Concerto and Bruch’s Scottish Fantasy with the Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin, Apasionado with the Orchestra Sinfónica del Principado de Asturias featuring works by Sarasate, Lalo, Ravel and Bizet/Waxman, two releases with the Dragon Quartet featuring string quartets by Schubert, Dvořák, Borodin, Shostakovich and Weinberg and two CDs of violin solo repertoire.

Born in Chengdu, China, Ning Feng studied at the Sichuan Conservatory of Music, the Hanns Eisler School of Music in Berlin with Antje Weithaas and the Royal Academy of Music in London with Hu Kun. The recipient of prizes at the Hanover International, Queen Elisabeth and Yehudi Menuhin International violin competitions, Ning Feng was First Prize winner of the 2005 Michael Hill International Violin Competition in New Zealand and in 2006 won first prize in the International Paganini Competition.

Photo by Felix Broede

Sir Clive Gillinson

Sir Clive Gillinson

Graduated 1969
Cello

Sir Clive Gillinson

Graduated 1969

Cello

Sir Clive Gillinson was born in India in 1946 and began studying the cello at the age of 11, playing with the National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain. He studied at the Royal Academy of Music, where he won the top cello prize, and then went on to become a member of the Philharmonia Orchestra.

Gillinson joined the London Symphony Orchestra in 1970 and in 1984 was asked by the Board to become Managing Director, a position he held until becoming the Executive and Artistic Director of Carnegie Hall in 2005. Under Gillinson’s leadership, the London Symphony Orchestra initiated some of the city’s most successful artistic festivals, established an annual residency in New York from 1997 and was a founding partner in the Pacific Music Festival in Japan. Gillinson also developed the LSO Discovery music education programme and created LSO St. Luke’s, its music education centre, and LSO Live, the orchestra's award-winning international recording label.

Gillinson served as Chairman of the Association of British Orchestras; was one of the founding Trustees of the National Endowment for Science, Technology and the Arts; and was founding Chairman of the Management Committee of the Clore Leadership Programme.

Among his many awards, Gillinson received an Honorary Doctor of Music degree from the City of London University and is a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Music and the Royal Northern College of Music. He has been a Visiting Fellow at St Catherine’s College Oxford and is an Honorary Fellow of the Guildhall School of Music & Drama. He was awarded the CBE in the 1999 New Year Honours List and received the 2004 Making Music Sir Charles Grove Prize for his outstanding contribution to British music. He is the only orchestra manager ever to be honored with a knighthood, in 2005.

In 2016, Gillinson co-authored a book, Better to Speak of It, published by Arch Street Press, offering first-hand experiences of how creativity can be applied with substantial results.

Lynda Houghton

Lynda Houghton

Graduated 1980
Double Bass

Lynda Houghton

Graduated 1980

Double Bass

Lynda Houghton is Principal Double Bass with the Academy of St Martin in the Fields and has been playing with the orchestra for more than 25 years on many recordings and world tours.

Having studied at the Royal Academy of Music and at the Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity in Canada, Houghton rapidly went on to establish a reputation as a talented exponent of contemporary music, much in demand with London Sinfonietta. She was also invited to play with the London Symphony Orchestra – the first woman bassist with the orchestra.

Houghton also enjoys playing with a number of other chamber orchestras and ensembles, such as the City of London Sinfonia and Orchestra of St John’s, where she is Principal Bass in both, and as a guest in many other ensembles, including The Nash Ensemble and The Fibonacci Sequence. She has played at the Sangat Chamber Music Festival, Festspiele Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, Orpheus & Bacchus Music Festival and Edinburgh International Festival. An enthusiastic period instrumentalist, she has toured and recorded with Trevor Pinnock’s The English Concert and John Eliot Gardiner’s English Baroque Soloists.

Houghton is an Associate at the Academy and, while being in demand as a teacher and examiner, her playing engagements encompass not only the world of contemporary, symphonic and chamber music but also films and popular music.

Tim Ridout

Tim Ridout

Graduated 2016
Viola

Tim Ridout

Graduated 2016

Viola

With recent awards including the Symphoniker Hamburg’s inaugural Sir Jeffrey Tate Prize and a Borletti-Buitoni Trust Fellowship, Timothy Ridout has confirmed his position at the forefront of young European soloists. He has been a BBC New Generation Artist since 2019 and will join the Bowers Program of the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center in 2021.

Recent concerto engagements include Hector Berlioz’s Harold en Italie with the Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin, Orchestre National Bordeaux Aquitaine and Orchestre National de Lille; Mozart’s Sinfonia Concertante in E flat at Sion Festival (alongside Janine Jansen) and with Chamber Orchestra of Europe and Camerata Salzburg; Béla Bartók with BBC Symphony Orchestra, Symphoniker Hamburg and Sinfonieorchester Aachen; William Walton with Philharmonia Orchestra and Luzerner Sinfonieorchester; and the Benjamin Britten Double Concerto with Tapiola Sinfonietta and Siberian State Symphony Orchestra. He has worked with conductors including Christoph Eschenbach, David Zinman, Gabor Takács-Nagy, Sylvain Cambreling and Sir András Schiff.

Equally in demand as a recitalist and chamber musician, Ridout’s engagements include several appearances per season at Wigmore Hall, as well as throughout the UK, Europe and Japan, plus invitations to festivals across Europe and America. His chamber music collaborators include Joshua Bell, Isabelle Faust and Christian Tetzlaff, among many others, and he also maintains a regular relationship with The Nash Ensemble.

His second album, Music for Viola & Chamber Orchestra: Vaughan Williams, Martinu, Hindemith & Britten, was released to general acclaim in February 2020, following his debut in 2017, Henri Vieuxtemps: Complete works for Viola.

In 2016, Ridout won first prize in the Lionel Tertis International Viola Competition; other prizes include the 2019 Thierry Scherz Award at the Sommets Musicaux de Gstaad and first prize at the 2014 Cecil Aronowitz International Viola Competition.

Born in London in 1995, Ridout studied at the Royal Academy of Music, graduating with the Queen’s Commendation for Excellence. He completed his Master’s at the Kronberg Academy with Nobuko Imai in 2019 and in 2018 took part in Kronberg Academy’s Chamber Music Connects the World.

Photo by Kaupo Kikkas

Louisa Tuck

Louisa Tuck

Graduated 2006
Cello

Louisa Tuck

Graduated 2006

Cello

Louisa Tuck is the Principal Cello of the Oslo Philharmonic, a position she took up in 2015. Prior to this, she spent eight years as Section Leader cello of the Royal Northern Sinfonia; at the time of her appointment, she was the youngest principal cellist of any UK orchestra at only 23 years old.

Tuck has collaborated for many years with pianist Anna Tilbrook, enjoying a varied programme of duo to larger ensemble repertoire. Other recent UK-based chamber music has been with The Nash Ensemble and folk artist Kathryn Tickell and her group, The Side.

A professor of orchestral cello studies at the Norwegian Music Academy and a tutor of cello at Barratt Due Institute of Music in Oslo, Tuck was awarded Associate of the Royal Academy of Music in 2011.

In 2019, she was soloist with the Oslo Philharmonic for a recording of Richard Strauss’s Don Quixote, named Gramophone’s Editor’s Choice in January 2020: ‘Her playing is beautifully integrated and superbly eloquent – the hush and tenderness of the final minutes is especially moving.’

Find out more about the career paths of some of our former students

Meet our alumni

Nathaniel Anderson-Frank

Nathaniel Anderson-Frank

Graduated 2011
Violin

Nathaniel Anderson-Frank

Graduated 2011

Violin

Nathaniel Anderson-Frank is Leader of the BBC Concert Orchestra. He has appeared with them as soloist at the 2019 BBC Proms, as well as on tour around China and the UK, and is frequently featured on BBC Radio 2 and 3. In recent years, Nathaniel has been invited to guest lead the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, BBC Symphony Orchestra and the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra; previously, he was Assistant Leader of the Philharmonia.

Since 2013, Anderson-Frank has led the prize-winning Piatti Quartet, with whom he has appeared in concert throughout the UK and Europe. Recent recordings with the quartet include a critically acclaimed album, Albion Refracted, for the Champs Hill label, featuring the premiere recordings of Mark-Anthony Turnage's Twisted Blues with Twisted Ballad and Joseph Phibb's String Quartet No 1.

A committed educator, Anderson-Frank regularly coaches students at both the Royal Academy of Music and the Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music & Dance, where he has also held solo and chamber music fellowships. Anderson-Frank has been invited to share his experience as an orchestral tutor for the Pioneer High School for the Performing Arts (USA), I, Culture Orchestra (Poland), Aberdeenshire Youth Orchestra and the National Music Camp of Canada.

A native of Toronto now living in the UK, Anderson-Frank received his Master’s degree with the highest honours from the Royal Academy of Music as a full-scholarship pupil of Maurice Hasson. He also holds a Bachelor of Music degree with academic honours from the Cleveland Institute of Music, where he studied with Paul Kantor. He was made an Associate of the Academy in 2015.

Photo by Brianna Eddy

Ning Feng

Ning Feng

Graduated 2003
Violin

Ning Feng

Graduated 2003

Violin

Ning Feng is recognised internationally as an artist of great lyricism, innate musicality and stunning virtuosity. The Berlin based, Chinese violinist performs across the globe in recitals and chamber concert with major orchestras and conductors.

Recent engagements have included the Budapest Festival Orchestra with Iván Fischer; tours with the Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra and Jaap van Zweden to Europe, Asia and Australia; a tour to China with the Konzerthausorchester Berlin and Lawrence Foster. As well as successful debuts with the Los Angeles Philharmonic and Xian Zhang; National Symphony Orchestra and Gianandrea Noseda and BBC Philharmonic Orchestra and Simone Young. In recital and chamber music he performs regularly with Igor Levit at many of the world’s major festivals and concert venues.

Feng records for Channel Classics in the Netherlands and his new disc Virtuosismo featuring Paganini’s Violin Concerto No. 1 and Vieuxtemps’ Violin Concerto No. 4 was released in September 2019. His earlier recording of Bach’s complete solo works for violin was hailed by Gramophone as “unlike anyone else’s… it’s the illusion of a freewheeling conversation projected from within that held me captive." Further discs include recordings of the Elgar and Finzi violin concertos with the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra, Tchaikovsky’s Violin Concerto and Bruch’s Scottish Fantasy with the Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin, Apasionado with the Orchestra Sinfónica del Principado de Asturias featuring works by Sarasate, Lalo, Ravel and Bizet/Waxman, two releases with the Dragon Quartet featuring string quartets by Schubert, Dvořák, Borodin, Shostakovich and Weinberg and two CDs of violin solo repertoire.

Born in Chengdu, China, Ning Feng studied at the Sichuan Conservatory of Music, the Hanns Eisler School of Music in Berlin with Antje Weithaas and the Royal Academy of Music in London with Hu Kun. The recipient of prizes at the Hanover International, Queen Elisabeth and Yehudi Menuhin International violin competitions, Ning Feng was First Prize winner of the 2005 Michael Hill International Violin Competition in New Zealand and in 2006 won first prize in the International Paganini Competition.

Photo by Felix Broede

Sir Clive Gillinson

Sir Clive Gillinson

Graduated 1969
Cello

Sir Clive Gillinson

Graduated 1969

Cello

Sir Clive Gillinson was born in India in 1946 and began studying the cello at the age of 11, playing with the National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain. He studied at the Royal Academy of Music, where he won the top cello prize, and then went on to become a member of the Philharmonia Orchestra.

Gillinson joined the London Symphony Orchestra in 1970 and in 1984 was asked by the Board to become Managing Director, a position he held until becoming the Executive and Artistic Director of Carnegie Hall in 2005. Under Gillinson’s leadership, the London Symphony Orchestra initiated some of the city’s most successful artistic festivals, established an annual residency in New York from 1997 and was a founding partner in the Pacific Music Festival in Japan. Gillinson also developed the LSO Discovery music education programme and created LSO St. Luke’s, its music education centre, and LSO Live, the orchestra's award-winning international recording label.

Gillinson served as Chairman of the Association of British Orchestras; was one of the founding Trustees of the National Endowment for Science, Technology and the Arts; and was founding Chairman of the Management Committee of the Clore Leadership Programme.

Among his many awards, Gillinson received an Honorary Doctor of Music degree from the City of London University and is a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Music and the Royal Northern College of Music. He has been a Visiting Fellow at St Catherine’s College Oxford and is an Honorary Fellow of the Guildhall School of Music & Drama. He was awarded the CBE in the 1999 New Year Honours List and received the 2004 Making Music Sir Charles Grove Prize for his outstanding contribution to British music. He is the only orchestra manager ever to be honored with a knighthood, in 2005.

In 2016, Gillinson co-authored a book, Better to Speak of It, published by Arch Street Press, offering first-hand experiences of how creativity can be applied with substantial results.

Lynda Houghton

Lynda Houghton

Graduated 1980
Double Bass

Lynda Houghton

Graduated 1980

Double Bass

Lynda Houghton is Principal Double Bass with the Academy of St Martin in the Fields and has been playing with the orchestra for more than 25 years on many recordings and world tours.

Having studied at the Royal Academy of Music and at the Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity in Canada, Houghton rapidly went on to establish a reputation as a talented exponent of contemporary music, much in demand with London Sinfonietta. She was also invited to play with the London Symphony Orchestra – the first woman bassist with the orchestra.

Houghton also enjoys playing with a number of other chamber orchestras and ensembles, such as the City of London Sinfonia and Orchestra of St John’s, where she is Principal Bass in both, and as a guest in many other ensembles, including The Nash Ensemble and The Fibonacci Sequence. She has played at the Sangat Chamber Music Festival, Festspiele Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, Orpheus & Bacchus Music Festival and Edinburgh International Festival. An enthusiastic period instrumentalist, she has toured and recorded with Trevor Pinnock’s The English Concert and John Eliot Gardiner’s English Baroque Soloists.

Houghton is an Associate at the Academy and, while being in demand as a teacher and examiner, her playing engagements encompass not only the world of contemporary, symphonic and chamber music but also films and popular music.

Tim Ridout

Tim Ridout

Graduated 2016
Viola

Tim Ridout

Graduated 2016

Viola

With recent awards including the Symphoniker Hamburg’s inaugural Sir Jeffrey Tate Prize and a Borletti-Buitoni Trust Fellowship, Timothy Ridout has confirmed his position at the forefront of young European soloists. He has been a BBC New Generation Artist since 2019 and will join the Bowers Program of the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center in 2021.

Recent concerto engagements include Hector Berlioz’s Harold en Italie with the Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin, Orchestre National Bordeaux Aquitaine and Orchestre National de Lille; Mozart’s Sinfonia Concertante in E flat at Sion Festival (alongside Janine Jansen) and with Chamber Orchestra of Europe and Camerata Salzburg; Béla Bartók with BBC Symphony Orchestra, Symphoniker Hamburg and Sinfonieorchester Aachen; William Walton with Philharmonia Orchestra and Luzerner Sinfonieorchester; and the Benjamin Britten Double Concerto with Tapiola Sinfonietta and Siberian State Symphony Orchestra. He has worked with conductors including Christoph Eschenbach, David Zinman, Gabor Takács-Nagy, Sylvain Cambreling and Sir András Schiff.

Equally in demand as a recitalist and chamber musician, Ridout’s engagements include several appearances per season at Wigmore Hall, as well as throughout the UK, Europe and Japan, plus invitations to festivals across Europe and America. His chamber music collaborators include Joshua Bell, Isabelle Faust and Christian Tetzlaff, among many others, and he also maintains a regular relationship with The Nash Ensemble.

His second album, Music for Viola & Chamber Orchestra: Vaughan Williams, Martinu, Hindemith & Britten, was released to general acclaim in February 2020, following his debut in 2017, Henri Vieuxtemps: Complete works for Viola.

In 2016, Ridout won first prize in the Lionel Tertis International Viola Competition; other prizes include the 2019 Thierry Scherz Award at the Sommets Musicaux de Gstaad and first prize at the 2014 Cecil Aronowitz International Viola Competition.

Born in London in 1995, Ridout studied at the Royal Academy of Music, graduating with the Queen’s Commendation for Excellence. He completed his Master’s at the Kronberg Academy with Nobuko Imai in 2019 and in 2018 took part in Kronberg Academy’s Chamber Music Connects the World.

Photo by Kaupo Kikkas

Louisa Tuck

Louisa Tuck

Graduated 2006
Cello

Louisa Tuck

Graduated 2006

Cello

Louisa Tuck is the Principal Cello of the Oslo Philharmonic, a position she took up in 2015. Prior to this, she spent eight years as Section Leader cello of the Royal Northern Sinfonia; at the time of her appointment, she was the youngest principal cellist of any UK orchestra at only 23 years old.

Tuck has collaborated for many years with pianist Anna Tilbrook, enjoying a varied programme of duo to larger ensemble repertoire. Other recent UK-based chamber music has been with The Nash Ensemble and folk artist Kathryn Tickell and her group, The Side.

A professor of orchestral cello studies at the Norwegian Music Academy and a tutor of cello at Barratt Due Institute of Music in Oslo, Tuck was awarded Associate of the Royal Academy of Music in 2011.

In 2019, she was soloist with the Oslo Philharmonic for a recording of Richard Strauss’s Don Quixote, named Gramophone’s Editor’s Choice in January 2020: ‘Her playing is beautifully integrated and superbly eloquent – the hush and tenderness of the final minutes is especially moving.’