Woodwind

The Rustic Wind Quintet, winners of 2013 McGrenery Prize for Chamber Music and the June Emerson Launchpad Prize

Christian Lindberg with the RWCMD Wind Ensemble

Students perform in the Dora Stoutzker Hall with the wind section of Welsh National Opera

The RWCMD Chamber Orchestra backstage at the Dora Stoutzker Hall

Woodwind students perform with the BBC National Orchestra of Wales at St David's Hall, broadcast on BBC Radio 3

With a clear focus on preparing students for career in and around music performance, the Woodwind Department, under the experienced leadership of Meyrick Alexander, is able to offer a full range of opportunities for students to gain experience as soloists, chamber musicians and orchestral players.

Most of the professional musicians who make up the departmental staff are current members of the Orchestra of Welsh National Opera or the BBC National Orchestra of Wales. There are also past or present members of the English Chamber, Royal Philharmonic, Philharmonia, London Symphony, London Philharmonic, City of Birmingham Symphony and Academy of St Martin in the Fields orchestras.

Individual instrumental lessons are complimented by tuition in small groups and by dedicated time with an accompanist. Departmental performance classes with dedicated professional accompanists also provide regular opportunities for students to perform for one another, and to receive feedback both from specialist tutors, and other students.

Masterclasses are with some of the world’s finest woodwind soloists and teachers, currently including William Bennett, Ian Clarke and Adam Walker (flute), Francois Leleux, John Anderson and Gordon Hunt (oboe), Michael Collins, David Campbell and Mark van de Wiel (clarinet), Vincent David, Christian Forshaw and Gerard McChrystal (saxophone) and Pascal Gallois, Lyndon Watts and Dag Jensen (bassoon).

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During their first year, every student is placed in a wind quintet consisting of flute, oboe, clarinet, saxophone or French horn and bassoon. Quintets receive regular coaching with specialist staff as well as assessments and public performance opportunities both at the College and at external venues.

College orchestras range from a full symphony orchestra through chamber, light music, opera, contemporary, baroque and wind orchestras and there are classes several times a week on orchestral training and repertoire for all orchestral woodwind students. There is also a weekly saxophone choir and two large woodwind chamber ensembles, which maintain a regular concert schedule, including trips to concert halls at venues in Wales and England.

Students come from music colleges and universities around the world to study at RWCMD at postgraduate level, and many are attracted by the Orchestral Performance Programme, which features established placement schemes with the Orchestra of Welsh National Opera and the BBC National Orchestra of Wales, allowing students to play in selected rehearsals with two of the UK’s leading professional orchestras. This provides an entry into the world of professional orchestral employment; and many former students are now working regularly with these two orchestras, and with others around the UK and abroad.

The reedmaking room is equipped with modern machinery for use by oboe and bassoon students, and there is regular instruction in this important area.

Related Posts

Head of Woodwind Studies
Nicholas Carpenter 

Flute
Roger Armstrong BSc (Hons) DSCM LMusA
Jonathan Burgess BA (Hons) ARCM
Matthew Featherstone
Elizabeth May GRSM ARCM
Sarah Newbold BA (Hons) ARCM LRAM Dip NCOS
Eva Stewart MA, AGSM

Piccolo
Andrew Lane LRAM

Oboe
John Anderson
Murray Johnston GRSM
Catriona MacKinnon
Sarah-Jayne Porsmorguer GMus (Hons) RNCM PPRNCM

Oboe Reedmaking
Bethan Keeble

Cor Anglais
Sarah-Jayne Porsmorguer GMus (Hons) RNCM PPRNCM

Clarinet
Leslie Craven ARCM
Timothy Lines
Robert Plane BA (Hons) MMus (London) DipRAM LRAM ARAM
Lenny Sayers BA (Hons) MMus (RNCM) PGDip RNCM PPRNCM

Eb Clarinet
John Cooper GRNCM PPRNCM

Bass Clarinet
Alison Lambert BMus (Hons) PPRNCM DKA

Bassoon
Meyrick Alexander ARCM
Martin Bowen
Stephen Marsden ARCM

Contra Bassoon
Christopher Vale ARCM

Saxophone
John Cooper GRNCM PPRNCM
Lara James MusM GMus (Hons) (RNCM) PPRNCM
James Mainwaring
Gerard McChrystal GMus (Hons) (RNCM) PPRNCM GSM MA
Jennie Joy Porton MMus (RWCMD)

Visiting Artists

Robert Plane

Christian Forshaw

William Bennett

Ian Clarke

Andrea Lieberknecht

Michael Collins

Amy Dickson

Dag Jensen

Michael Duke

Nicholas Daniel

Roger Birnstingl

Sarah Francis

Paul Edmund-Davies