The guitar department at RWCMD offers students the opportunity to be part of a dynamic community of guitarists which includes some of the world’s leading teachers and players. Under the leadership of John Mills for twenty years, the department established a reputation as one of the largest and most successful conservatoire guitar departments in the UK.
The training covers a wide solo repertoire as well as other important works including concertos and chamber music, enabling students to build a secure foundation upon which to establish a rewarding career in this increasingly competitive musical field.
The department enjoys longstanding support and input from some of the world’s most eminent guitarists. Students have recently performed in masterclasses with John Williams, Sean Shibe, Gerald Garcia, Ian Watt and Richard Wright amongst others. Julian Bream is a longstanding supporter who has contributed a large number of guitar scores, a valuable collection of lute scores and treatises, a large part of his art collection, and a concert guitar for use by the department.
Idiomatic general musicianship classes include opportunities to explore performance styles from the 16th century onwards, including figured bass and ornamentation on baroque guitar and theorbo. Guitarists may also apply for tuition on the lute and vihuela.
The department has a number of ‘period’ instruments which are available on loan, these include copies of a baroque guitar, vihuela, romantic guitar, lute and theorbo.
In addition to regular opportunities to perform in the College’s own venues as part of a vibrant in-house concert programme, the department has also established strong connections with local community arts centres and guitar societies offering further performance opportunities.
The John Mills Guitar Prize takes place annually in the summer term, and the Stuart Cohen Award for Classical Guitar is presented each academic year in recognition of one student’s outstanding contribution to the department.