EXPLORE THE COMPLEX WORLD OF TIMPANI AND PERCUSSION PLAYING AT THE HIGHEST LEVEL

The Academy’s Timpani and Percussion Department has an international reputation for outstanding training.

'Our ethos has always been to keep standards high and numbers relatively low. Add to this our incredible line-up of professors and the prospects of high achievement take off'
Neil Percy, Head of Timpani and Percussion

Our teachers include soloists, principal players and leading session musicians, all of whom understand the priorities and challenges of an ever-changing profession.

Your employability is central to our mission – whether you come to us as an undergraduate or a postgraduate, you will develop all the skills you need for your lifelong musical and professional development through a course that offers a variety of experience across related instruments.

By focusing on a small number of talented students, we are able to provide ample resources and dedicated practice spaces, as well as a wide range of performance opportunities and projects – one of the reasons our graduates go on to have rewarding and diverse careers.

AUDITION INFORMATION

Go to the Timpani and Percussion page in the course finder to find up to date audition information for your level of study.

Timpani & Percussion

Open Days

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

Dame Evelyn Glennie

Dame Evelyn Glennie

Graduated 1985
Percussion (Orchestral) & Timpani

Dame Evelyn Glennie

Graduated 1985

Percussion (Orchestral) & Timpani

Dame Evelyn Glennie is the first person in history to successfully create and sustain a full-time career as a solo percussionist, performing worldwide with the greatest orchestras, conductors and artists. She paved the way for orchestras globally to feature percussion concerti when she played the first percussion concerto in the history of the Proms at the Royal Albert Hall in 1992. Glennie has commissioned over 200 new pieces for solo percussion from many of the world’s most eminent composers to vastly expand the percussion repertoire. She regularly provides masterclasses and consultations to inspire the next generation of musicians. The film Touch the Sound and her enlightening TED speech remain key testimonies to her innovative approach to sound-creation.

Leading 1000 drummers, she had the honour of a prominent role in the Opening Ceremony of the London 2012 Olympic Games.

Glennie was awarded an OBE in 1993 and now has over 100 international awards, including the Polar Music Prize and the Companion of Honour. She was recently appointed the first female President of Help Musicians, only the third person to hold the title since Sir Edward Elgar and Sir Peter Maxwell Davies.

Glennie is currently creating The Evelyn Glennie Collection with a vision to open a centre that embodies her mission to Teach the World to Listen. She aims to ‘improve communication and social cohesion by encouraging everyone to discover new ways of listening as proven in her book Listen World!. We want to inspire, to create, to engage and to empower’.

Photo by Philipp Rathmer

Meet
our alunni

Antoine Bedewi

Antoine Bedewi

Graduated 2005
Percussion (Orchestral) & Timpani

Antoine Bedewi

Graduated 2005

Percussion (Orchestral) & Timpani

Antoine Bedewi holds the position of Principal Timpanist with the BBC Symphony Orchestra, best known as the host orchestra of the world’s biggest international classical music festival, the BBC Proms.

Prior to joining the BBCSO in 2017 he held the position of Co-Principal Timpanist with the London Symphony Orchestra, whilst simultaneously freelancing with all of the major orchestras in London and the UK. He has also performed around the world with a variety of orchestras and conductors including the John Wilson Orchestra, Orchestre Révolutionnaire et Romantique, St Petersburg Philharmonic Orchestra, Chamber Orchestra of Europe and the Australian World Orchestra under Sir Simon Rattle and Riccardo Muti. In 2007 he served as the Principal Timpanist at Chile’s national opera house, Teatro Municipal.

As a percussionist, Bedewi appears frequently with the Colin Currie Group, an internationally-acclaimed ensemble founded in 2006 specialising in the music of Steve Reich. With Reich’s personal endorsement the group has performed at international venues including London’s Royal Festival Hall, Louis Vuitton Foundation (Paris), Elbphilharmonie (Hamburg), Amsterdam’s Concertgebouw and Opera City Tokyo.

Bedewi currently teaches orchestral timpani at the Royal Academy of Music, having previously completed his postgraduate studies there in 2005. Prior to this he was awarded a first-class degree in music from the Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts, where he was also presented with the Director’s Prize for all-round excellence and service to the Academy.

His teachers include Simon Carrington and Alan Cumberland, whose virtuosic Two Challenges for Timpani (2003) are dedicated to Bedewi.

Colin Currie

Colin Currie

Graduated 1998
Percussion (Orchestral) & Timpani

Colin Currie

Graduated 1998

Percussion (Orchestral) & Timpani

Colin Currie is as solo and chamber artist at the peak of his powers. Championing new music at the highest level, he is hailed as being "at the summit of percussion performance today" (Gramophone). Currie is the soloist of choice for many of today’s foremost composers and he performs regularly with the world’s leading orchestras and conductors.

A dynamic and adventurous soloist, Currie's commitment to commissioning and creating new music was recognised in 2015 by the Royal Philharmonic Society who awarded him the Instrumentalist Award. From his earliest years Currie forged a pioneering path in creating new music for percussion, winning the Royal Philharmonic Society Young Artist Award in 2000 and receiving a Borletti-Buitoni Trust Award in 2005. Currie has premiered works by composers such as Steve Reich, Elliott Carter, Louis Andriessen, HK Gruber, Mark-Anthony Turnage, James MacMillan, Brett Dean, Sir Harrison Birtwistle, Einojuhani Rautavaara, Helen Grime, Jennifer Higdon, Kalevi Aho, Rolf Wallin, Kurt Schwertsik, Andrew Norman, Julia Wolfe and Nico Muhly.

Currie's orchestral engagements also include appearances with the Rundfunk-Sinfonieorchester Berlin, MDR Leipzig, Orchestre Philharmonique de Strasbourg, Swedish Chamber and Scottish Chamber Orchestras, Deutsche Staatsphilharmonie Rheinland-Pfalz and Orquesta Filarmónica de Gran Canaria. Currie also collaborates with various chamber partners, including Nicolas Hodges, Antoine Tamestit, the JACK Quartet and his own Colin Currie Quartet, for performances at Vienna Konzerthaus, de Doelen, Wigmore Hall, LSO St Luke’s, Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama, King's Place and the Southbank Centre.

Currie's dynamic ensemble the Colin Currie Group was formed in 2006 to celebrate the music of Steve Reich and made its five-star debut at the BBC Proms. Since then, with Reich’s personal endorsement Currie and his ensemble have taken on the role of ambassadors of Drumming, which they have performed at many venues and festivals internationally. The Colin Currie Group return to the Southbank Centre in December 2019 for four sold-out performances of Drumming at the Hayward Gallery, where the work received its world premiere nearly 50 years ago.

Currie is Artist in Association at London's Southbank Centre, where he was the focus of a major percussion festival Metal Wood Skin in 2014 and continues to perform there every season.

Photo by Linda Nylund

Paul Stoneman

Paul Stoneman

Graduated 2015
Percussion (Orchestral) & Timpani

Paul Stoneman

Graduated 2015

Percussion (Orchestral) & Timpani

Paul Stoneman is No.2 Percussion with the Philharmonia Orchestra. Born in South Wales, he started playing percussion aged 9 and was a member of the National Youth Orchestra of Wales throughout his school years. After graduating from the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama with first class honours and the Eirwen Thomas scholarship prize, he entered the Royal Academy of Music for his postgraduate degree where he studied with Neil Percy and Simon Carrington. During his time at the Academy Stoneman won both the Zildjian and the James Blades percussion prizes and graduated with distinction in 2017.

After leaving the Academy, he freelanced as a percussionist and timpanist in London and around the UK, working with many of the country’s leading orchestras including the London Symphony Orchestra, London Philharmonic Orchestra, Chamber Orchestra of Europe, John Wilson Orchestra, Orchestra of the Royal Opera House and the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra.

In early 2019 Stoneman accepted the position of Section Principal Timpani with the Royal Northern Sinfonia before being asked to join the Philharmonia Orchestra as No.2 Percussion in the summer. He started his job with the Philharmonia in October 2019 and is a Zildjian and Vic Firth artist.

Sam Walton

Sam Walton

Graduated 2000
Percussion (Orchestral) & Timpani

Sam Walton

Graduated 2000

Percussion (Orchestral) & Timpani

Sam Walton was a concerto finalist in the BBC Young Musicians competition in 1996 and bronze medal winner in the Shell/LSO Competition the same year, before embarking upon his studies at the Royal Academy of Music.

He has worked with many of the UK’s orchestras including the London Philharmonic, BBC Symphony, Philharmonia and London Sinfonietta. In May 2012 he was appointed Co-Principal Percussion of the London Symphony Orchestra. Walton is also Principal Percussionist of the John Wilson Orchestra.

As a chamber musician, he is a member of the Colin Currie Group; has performed with violinist Viktoria Mullova; and pianists Martha Argerich, Pierre-Laurent Aimard and Cedric Tiberghien. He can be heard on numerous discs of repertoire by Reich and Bartok. He is also a member of the LSO Percussion Ensemble.

Solo appearances include concerto performances with the Orquesta de Castilla Y Leon, Gurzenich Orchester and Netherlands Radio Chamber Orchestra.

As a recording artist, Walton appears on many soundtracks for film and television, including the Harry Potter movies, Lord of the Rings, the Twilight Saga and Antman. He can be heard on albums by Seth Macfarlane and Gregory Porter. He also has been the percussionist for Howard Blake’s The Snowman stage show for 20 years!

Walton is currently a teacher at the Royal Academy of Music, Royal College of Music and Guildhall. He is also the percussion tutor for the European Union Youth Orchestra.

Erika Öhman

Erika Öhman

Graduated 2007
Percussion (Orchestral) & Timpani

Erika Öhman

Graduated 2007

Percussion (Orchestral) & Timpani

Within a year of graduating from the Royal Academy of Music, Erika Öhman joined the Hallé Orchestra as assistant timpanist and percussionist. She enjoys a varied freelance career with numerous orchestras in the UK and her native Sweden, including Royal Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra, London Symphony Orchestra, City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra and London Philharmonic Orchestra, with whom she featured as soloist in Messiaen's Des Canyons aux Étoiles.

Amongst other chamber projects, Öhman often performs together with her sister Karolina in the award-winning cello/percussion duo UmeDuo. Awards include first prize in the prestigious Swedish competition Ung & Lovande, resulting in two tours of Sweden. Other performances include festivals and collaborations throughout Europe, Russia and Iran. UmeDuo released their first CD Scrapes and Soundscapes in 2019.

In 2013, she was honoured to be made an Associate of the Royal Academy of Music.

Photo by Bill Lam

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

Dame Evelyn Glennie

Dame Evelyn Glennie

Graduated 1985
Percussion (Orchestral) & Timpani

Dame Evelyn Glennie

Graduated 1985

Percussion (Orchestral) & Timpani

Dame Evelyn Glennie is the first person in history to successfully create and sustain a full-time career as a solo percussionist, performing worldwide with the greatest orchestras, conductors and artists. She paved the way for orchestras globally to feature percussion concerti when she played the first percussion concerto in the history of the Proms at the Royal Albert Hall in 1992. Glennie has commissioned over 200 new pieces for solo percussion from many of the world’s most eminent composers to vastly expand the percussion repertoire. She regularly provides masterclasses and consultations to inspire the next generation of musicians. The film Touch the Sound and her enlightening TED speech remain key testimonies to her innovative approach to sound-creation.

Leading 1000 drummers, she had the honour of a prominent role in the Opening Ceremony of the London 2012 Olympic Games.

Glennie was awarded an OBE in 1993 and now has over 100 international awards, including the Polar Music Prize and the Companion of Honour. She was recently appointed the first female President of Help Musicians, only the third person to hold the title since Sir Edward Elgar and Sir Peter Maxwell Davies.

Glennie is currently creating The Evelyn Glennie Collection with a vision to open a centre that embodies her mission to Teach the World to Listen. She aims to ‘improve communication and social cohesion by encouraging everyone to discover new ways of listening as proven in her book Listen World!. We want to inspire, to create, to engage and to empower’.

Photo by Philipp Rathmer

Antoine Bedewi

Antoine Bedewi

Graduated 2005
Percussion (Orchestral) & Timpani

Antoine Bedewi

Graduated 2005

Percussion (Orchestral) & Timpani

Antoine Bedewi holds the position of Principal Timpanist with the BBC Symphony Orchestra, best known as the host orchestra of the world’s biggest international classical music festival, the BBC Proms.

Prior to joining the BBCSO in 2017 he held the position of Co-Principal Timpanist with the London Symphony Orchestra, whilst simultaneously freelancing with all of the major orchestras in London and the UK. He has also performed around the world with a variety of orchestras and conductors including the John Wilson Orchestra, Orchestre Révolutionnaire et Romantique, St Petersburg Philharmonic Orchestra, Chamber Orchestra of Europe and the Australian World Orchestra under Sir Simon Rattle and Riccardo Muti. In 2007 he served as the Principal Timpanist at Chile’s national opera house, Teatro Municipal.

As a percussionist, Bedewi appears frequently with the Colin Currie Group, an internationally-acclaimed ensemble founded in 2006 specialising in the music of Steve Reich. With Reich’s personal endorsement the group has performed at international venues including London’s Royal Festival Hall, Louis Vuitton Foundation (Paris), Elbphilharmonie (Hamburg), Amsterdam’s Concertgebouw and Opera City Tokyo.

Bedewi currently teaches orchestral timpani at the Royal Academy of Music, having previously completed his postgraduate studies there in 2005. Prior to this he was awarded a first-class degree in music from the Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts, where he was also presented with the Director’s Prize for all-round excellence and service to the Academy.

His teachers include Simon Carrington and Alan Cumberland, whose virtuosic Two Challenges for Timpani (2003) are dedicated to Bedewi.

Colin Currie

Colin Currie

Graduated 1998
Percussion (Orchestral) & Timpani

Colin Currie

Graduated 1998

Percussion (Orchestral) & Timpani

Colin Currie is as solo and chamber artist at the peak of his powers. Championing new music at the highest level, he is hailed as being "at the summit of percussion performance today" (Gramophone). Currie is the soloist of choice for many of today’s foremost composers and he performs regularly with the world’s leading orchestras and conductors.

A dynamic and adventurous soloist, Currie's commitment to commissioning and creating new music was recognised in 2015 by the Royal Philharmonic Society who awarded him the Instrumentalist Award. From his earliest years Currie forged a pioneering path in creating new music for percussion, winning the Royal Philharmonic Society Young Artist Award in 2000 and receiving a Borletti-Buitoni Trust Award in 2005. Currie has premiered works by composers such as Steve Reich, Elliott Carter, Louis Andriessen, HK Gruber, Mark-Anthony Turnage, James MacMillan, Brett Dean, Sir Harrison Birtwistle, Einojuhani Rautavaara, Helen Grime, Jennifer Higdon, Kalevi Aho, Rolf Wallin, Kurt Schwertsik, Andrew Norman, Julia Wolfe and Nico Muhly.

Currie's orchestral engagements also include appearances with the Rundfunk-Sinfonieorchester Berlin, MDR Leipzig, Orchestre Philharmonique de Strasbourg, Swedish Chamber and Scottish Chamber Orchestras, Deutsche Staatsphilharmonie Rheinland-Pfalz and Orquesta Filarmónica de Gran Canaria. Currie also collaborates with various chamber partners, including Nicolas Hodges, Antoine Tamestit, the JACK Quartet and his own Colin Currie Quartet, for performances at Vienna Konzerthaus, de Doelen, Wigmore Hall, LSO St Luke’s, Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama, King's Place and the Southbank Centre.

Currie's dynamic ensemble the Colin Currie Group was formed in 2006 to celebrate the music of Steve Reich and made its five-star debut at the BBC Proms. Since then, with Reich’s personal endorsement Currie and his ensemble have taken on the role of ambassadors of Drumming, which they have performed at many venues and festivals internationally. The Colin Currie Group return to the Southbank Centre in December 2019 for four sold-out performances of Drumming at the Hayward Gallery, where the work received its world premiere nearly 50 years ago.

Currie is Artist in Association at London's Southbank Centre, where he was the focus of a major percussion festival Metal Wood Skin in 2014 and continues to perform there every season.

Photo by Linda Nylund

Paul Stoneman

Paul Stoneman

Graduated 2015
Percussion (Orchestral) & Timpani

Paul Stoneman

Graduated 2015

Percussion (Orchestral) & Timpani

Paul Stoneman is No.2 Percussion with the Philharmonia Orchestra. Born in South Wales, he started playing percussion aged 9 and was a member of the National Youth Orchestra of Wales throughout his school years. After graduating from the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama with first class honours and the Eirwen Thomas scholarship prize, he entered the Royal Academy of Music for his postgraduate degree where he studied with Neil Percy and Simon Carrington. During his time at the Academy Stoneman won both the Zildjian and the James Blades percussion prizes and graduated with distinction in 2017.

After leaving the Academy, he freelanced as a percussionist and timpanist in London and around the UK, working with many of the country’s leading orchestras including the London Symphony Orchestra, London Philharmonic Orchestra, Chamber Orchestra of Europe, John Wilson Orchestra, Orchestra of the Royal Opera House and the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra.

In early 2019 Stoneman accepted the position of Section Principal Timpani with the Royal Northern Sinfonia before being asked to join the Philharmonia Orchestra as No.2 Percussion in the summer. He started his job with the Philharmonia in October 2019 and is a Zildjian and Vic Firth artist.

Sam Walton

Sam Walton

Graduated 2000
Percussion (Orchestral) & Timpani

Sam Walton

Graduated 2000

Percussion (Orchestral) & Timpani

Sam Walton was a concerto finalist in the BBC Young Musicians competition in 1996 and bronze medal winner in the Shell/LSO Competition the same year, before embarking upon his studies at the Royal Academy of Music.

He has worked with many of the UK’s orchestras including the London Philharmonic, BBC Symphony, Philharmonia and London Sinfonietta. In May 2012 he was appointed Co-Principal Percussion of the London Symphony Orchestra. Walton is also Principal Percussionist of the John Wilson Orchestra.

As a chamber musician, he is a member of the Colin Currie Group; has performed with violinist Viktoria Mullova; and pianists Martha Argerich, Pierre-Laurent Aimard and Cedric Tiberghien. He can be heard on numerous discs of repertoire by Reich and Bartok. He is also a member of the LSO Percussion Ensemble.

Solo appearances include concerto performances with the Orquesta de Castilla Y Leon, Gurzenich Orchester and Netherlands Radio Chamber Orchestra.

As a recording artist, Walton appears on many soundtracks for film and television, including the Harry Potter movies, Lord of the Rings, the Twilight Saga and Antman. He can be heard on albums by Seth Macfarlane and Gregory Porter. He also has been the percussionist for Howard Blake’s The Snowman stage show for 20 years!

Walton is currently a teacher at the Royal Academy of Music, Royal College of Music and Guildhall. He is also the percussion tutor for the European Union Youth Orchestra.

Erika Öhman

Erika Öhman

Graduated 2007
Percussion (Orchestral) & Timpani

Erika Öhman

Graduated 2007

Percussion (Orchestral) & Timpani

Within a year of graduating from the Royal Academy of Music, Erika Öhman joined the Hallé Orchestra as assistant timpanist and percussionist. She enjoys a varied freelance career with numerous orchestras in the UK and her native Sweden, including Royal Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra, London Symphony Orchestra, City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra and London Philharmonic Orchestra, with whom she featured as soloist in Messiaen's Des Canyons aux Étoiles.

Amongst other chamber projects, Öhman often performs together with her sister Karolina in the award-winning cello/percussion duo UmeDuo. Awards include first prize in the prestigious Swedish competition Ung & Lovande, resulting in two tours of Sweden. Other performances include festivals and collaborations throughout Europe, Russia and Iran. UmeDuo released their first CD Scrapes and Soundscapes in 2019.

In 2013, she was honoured to be made an Associate of the Royal Academy of Music.

Photo by Bill Lam