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MMus Orchestral Performance

  • Award:

    MMus Orchestral Performance

  • Awarding body:

    University of South Wales 

  • Location of study:

    Cardiff (RWCMD and Old Library) 

  • Start date:

    21 September 2025

  • Duration:

    13 months intensive or two years full time

  • Course code:

    807 (intensive) or 808F (full time) – UCAS Conservatoires


Delve into rigorous, specialist training with professional orchestral musicians, alongside mentoring and placement schemes with national orchestras.

Course overview

Performance placements in national orchestras – along with tailored training and mentoring schemes with industry professionals – form the foundation of this master’s programme.

Offered as a 13-month intensive or two year full time course, it equips you with the technical, stylistic and artistic skills that underpin orchestral performance at the highest level.

You can specialise in these instruments as part of your study:

  • Bassoon
  • Cello
  • Clarinet
  • Double bass
  • Flute
  • French horn
  • Harp
  • Oboe
  • Percussion and timpani
  • Tenor or bass trombone
  • Trumpet
  • Tuba
  • Viola
  • Violin

You’ll get one-to-one training from professional orchestral musicians, but also take part in a variety of solo and ensemble activities so you can immerse yourself in the art of performance.

Placements with the BBC National Orchestra of Wales (BBC NOW) and the Welsh National Opera (WNO) are embedded into the course. And with these organisations’ regular professional development seminars and mentoring schemes, you can easily lay the groundwork for a career as a professional orchestra musician.


'The Orchestral Performance course has been an opportunity to learn from professionals and peers about orchestral playing and the profession we are training to enter. The side-by-side placements are some of the most valuable experiences I've had through the course, they've taught me so much. The fact we have placements with both BBC NOW and WNO means we get to experience how two very different phenomenal orchestras operate.'
Maggie Lamelas, viola
'The BBC National Orchestra & Chorus of Wales partnership with RWCMD is two-way, strategic and dynamic, focusing on the development of the next generation of the profession both on and off the stage. For example, on the Postgraduate Orchestral Performance course, we work together to identify and nurture students through masterclasses and professional rehearsal opportunities, we provide a robust and relevant training for the orchestral profession as well as facilitating professional networks.'
Lisa TregaleDirector of BBC National Orchestra of Wales
‘RWCMD has its own unique stamp, and you feel that as soon as you walk into the building. What’s particularly striking is its openness, and I think that is because of the real commitment from staff and students to exchange knowledge in an atmosphere of tremendous support. You can see how the students would carry that through into their professional lives.'
Errollyn WallenComposer and RWCMD Artist in Residence

Why study this course?

  • You’ll get specialist, one-to-one performance tuition (what we call ‘principal study’) from professional orchestral musicians. They will guide you in developing fluency and expertise in a wide selection of orchestral repertoire, helping to prepare you for professional auditions.
  • Your principal study will be supported by varied and comprehensive approaches to learning: practical classes, workshops, masterclasses and coaching and performance activities.
  • These live performance activities are both solo and orchestrally based, allowing you to increase your skills and stamina, develop your awareness of professional protocols and expectations and enhance your musical and non-musical communication skills.
  • As well as training with professional orchestral musicians, you’ll be taught by renowned instrumental soloists and chamber musicians, prominent composers, conductors and creative artists in a range of genres – plus principal players in ensembles. They offer you not only first-rate tuition, but mentorship and networking opportunities as well.
  • Your core modules can be shaped to align with your skills and career goals, giving you an individual approach to your programme of study. With some modules, you’ll have a certain degree of flexibility in your assessments, as well.
  • Our strong partnerships with BBC NOW and WNO mean you can take part in their placement schemes – giving you performing experience and networking opportunities that are invaluable to building a career as an orchestral musician.
  • BBC NOW and WNO also offer our students a selection of experiences, which have in the past included employability seminars and practical workshops including sitting in sections and performance resilience.
  • These experiences also include placements in rehearsal patches for operatic or orchestral projects – as well as opportunities to get involved in performance projects, such as the Opera Gala and Conductors’ Showcase.
  • We also have close ties with Sinfonia Cymru, and they offer industry placements and community workshop leadership opportunities to our students.
  • While you’ll have a lot of individual support, you’ll also the chance to work with students on our drama courses. It gives you an insight into other disciplines and allows you to build creative partnerships that can last a lifetime.
  • You’ll dedicate much of your second year to developing self-directed, curated projects. Areas you can focus on include research, teaching, community music, collaborative creative practice, composition and digital artistry. You’ll be supported by a specialist mentor, who will guide your work and help you broaden your network of industry contacts.
  • Every year, internationally renowned artists visit the College to perform, but they hold masterclasses with our students as well. In these inspiring, collaborative sessions, they’ll offer crucial advice in taking your creative and stylistic skills to the highest level.
  • You’ll also create and curate your own performance projects, giving you the opportunity to conduct more detailed research into areas that interest you.
  • You can use your skills and talent to shape the next generation of musicians. Our partnerships with Making Music Changing Lives (MMCL) and BBC NOW allow you to support weekly activities as part of MMCL’s after-school sessions. You can also serve as BBC NOW mentors and role models to MMCL children at the BBC NOW concerts they attend.

Other course information

Find out more about studying music at RWCMD

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