We are still accepting applications for the BMus (Hons) Music (for the vocal, instrumental & composition pathways) and BMus (Hons) Jazz courses. Places are subject to availability. Please get in touch with our Admissions Team before submitting an application.
With world-class training and a wide variety of opportunities to perform, you’ll gain all the skills you need to flourish as a professional harpist.
Why study harp at RWCMD?
- You'll join a small, close-knit department, creating a nurturing and supportive environment.
- Our diverse and challenging programme prepares you for life in the contemporary professional world, covering everything from solo performance to chamber ensemble playing, from orchestral work to performing popular idioms or jazz.
- One-to-one lessons and weekly performance classes centre on developing your technique, learning a broad repertoire of solo works, including notable concertos and chamber pieces.
- Opportunities to perform include public recitals, which might be with the symphony orchestra, chamber orchestra, wind-band or opera orchestra.
- Our regular teachers include Meinir Heulyn and Valerie Aldrich-Smith who cover operatic and orchestral repertoire and Amanda Whiting who gives regular jazz and arranging classes.
- Visiting artists include experimental harpist Rhodri Davies who focuses on contemporary music.
- You can also take part in masterclasses and watch recitals given by internationally renowned soloists who visit the College each year, such as Isabelle Perrin, Alexander Boldachev, Sylvain Blassel, Anneleen Lenaerts, Florence Sitruk, Chantal Mathieu and Maria Luisa Rayan.
- Students who qualify are given the opportunity to audition for professional placement schemes with BBC National Orchestra of Wales and Welsh National Opera Orchestra, working side by side with world class orchestral musicians.
- We have a wide range of harps that you can use for practising, performing and assessments, including concert harps, a semi-grand harp, one Erard Grecian harp, two Welsh triple harps and several clarsachs.
A course with a Royal pedigree
Alis Huws, the current Royal Harpist and recent RWCMD graduate, studied here as both an undergraduate and masters student. She continues a long tradition of royal harpists with links to the College: Fellow, graduate and artistic director of World Harp Congress 2022, Catrin Finch, was the first harpist appointed to the role.
Graduate Hannah Stone held the role from 2011, and Alis’s immediate predecessor Anne Denholm, studied at RWCMD’s Junior Conservatoire.
Opportunities outside the College
As the harp is the national instrument of Wales our students are frequently in demand. Past solo performances include functions for the Welsh Government in the Senedd and at 10 Downing Street. The College harp ensemble is also often requested to perform at events in venues such as St David's Concert Hall and for Royal visits to the College.
You can also apply for positions for BBC National Orchestra Wales or Welsh National Opera Orchestra, who run side-by-side schemes, giving you opportunities for mentoring by professional musicians, and performance experience.
Led by harpist Kathryn Rees
Kathryn is a passionate advocate of exploring the varied potential of the harp, drawing on its traditional/classic roots but looking outwards at its contemporary possibilities.
She has been a tutor at the Royal Welsh College of Music & Drama for the past fourteen years, specialising in harp technique. Her past and current students have achieved great success at competitions both nationally and internationally.
After graduating from the Royal Northern College of Music, Kathryn studied her Masters in Harp Performance and Literature at the Eastman School of Music, Rochester, New York. She completed her studies on a Rotary International Ambassadorial Scholarship. After a season as Principal Harp at the Heidelberg Opera Festival, Kathryn worked as a freelance orchestral harpist in New York state and taught as Senior harp instructor at the Interlochen Arts Academy in Michigan.
Kathryn has enjoyed a varied performing career, presenting recitals in Canada, the US, UAE and Qatar and freelanced orchestrally here in Wales, most notably with Welsh Sinfonia.
Kathryn teaches an extensive studio of private students and is frequently in demand for masterclasses and adjudicating at competitions.
Find out more about RWCMD
- Our thriving, multicultural institution welcomes 800 students from more than 40 countries. You’ll train side-by-side with other instrumentalists, actors, singers, composers and performance designers and will work with them on projects throughout the year.
- Collaboration forms a huge part of what we do, allowing you to immerse yourself in new experiences with a broad range of disciplines and skills from across the college. Our unique student-led company REPCo, encourages students to work together to be bold, imaginative and entrepreneurial.
- Our industry partnerships provide real-world, enhanced learning experiences with leading arts organisations and professional musicians, also offering you opportunities to build your future professional networks.
- RWCMD is a vibrant arts centre staging 500 performances a year (many of which are free) which are a combination of world-leading artists and student work, often side by side. Regular major events at RWCMD include BBC Young Musician of the Year, and BBC Cardiff Singer of the World and standalone events such as the World Harp Congress in July 2022.
- The College is the first UK conservatoire to achieve a gold standard level of quality assurance across Music, Drama and Under 18s in the recent international MusiQuE, Music Quality Enhancement review. Reviewers were particularly impressed with the College's approach to the individual student experience, multidisciplinary collaboration, and overall ambition, citing RWCMD as a shining example of best practice across European conservatoires, and reflecting the College's exceptional people and unique community.
- As the world’s only Steinway-exclusive conservatoire the College now has a world-leading fleet of pianos, and every acoustic piano at the College is a Steinway.
- We fundamentally believe in the power of music to transform and enrich society, developing skills in teaching, coaching and co-creating projects to create musicians of the future who will make an impact as performers, teachers and enablers within the broader community. Fundamental questions - ‘How can we shape the industry of the future’, ‘How can we use art to make a difference’ - help us to produce musicians who are truly relevant to a 21st Century world.
- You’ll practice, study and perform in a beautiful, inspiring setting, bordering Bute Park, one of the largest green spaces in the city. We have a chamber music hall with extraordinary acoustics, a glass-lined foyer and performance space, the Richard Burton Theatre, as well as state-of-the-art studios and rehearsal spaces.
- Our campus is right in the centre of Cardiff, the UK’s first Music City, and the thriving, compact capital of Wales, which is only two hours by train to central London.
- Cardiff was named as the most cost-effective city in the UK for students, according to the NatWest Student Living Index 2022.
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