Governance & organisation

RCM staff in robes on the Britten Theatre stage during a graduation ceremony
His Majesty King Charles III is Patron of the Royal College of Music. 

The Royal College of Music is established under a Royal Charter. The RCM Council is its governing body, chaired by Lord Black of Brentwood. Management of the RCM is led by the Directorate, headed by Director, Professor Colin Lawson CBE. Committees support Council, including the Senate, which is the senior academic committee of the RCM.

The RCM's governing framework sets short and long-term objectives, ensuring the College remains among the leading music conservatoires in the world.

Royal Charter

The RCM is established under a Royal Charter that dates from 1883. The Charter was revised in 1994, when a Supplemental Charter was granted. The Royal Charter and Statutes were extensively revised by the College in 2009, when The late Queen was pleased to allow the amendments at a meeting of the Privy Council held on 9 July 2009. The late Queen was pleased to approve an Order amending the Royal Charter of the Royal College of Music further at a meeting of the Privy Council held on 24 April 2018 at Windsor Castle. The amendments to the Statutes were also approved by the Privy Council. 


His Majesty King Charles III


The Most Revd and Rt Hon the Lord Archbishop of Canterbury

The Most Revd and Rt Hon the Lord Archbishop of York

The Rt Hon the Lord Mayor of London

Jane Barker CBE FRCM (appointed 2022)

Sir Anthony Cleaver FRCM (appointed 2007)

Mr Humphrey Norrington OBE FRCM (appointed 2003)

Dame Janet Ritterman DBE HonDMus (appointed 2005)

Professor Lord Winston FRCM (appointed 2017)


The Council is the governing body of the RCM and is supported in this role by a number of committees, principal among these being the Finance & General Purposes Committee.

The current Council Chairman is Lord Black of Brentwood.

Responsibilities & members

Statement of Council responsibilities and schedule of delegation of powers

Role description of members of Council

Council members

Conflict of Interest policy

Anti-bribery and corruption policy, regulations and procedures

A register of Council members' interests is maintained, and is available for inspection on request to the Clerk to the Council.

Further information can be provided by the Clerk to the Council. 


The RCM Directorate, led by Professor Colin Lawson, takes responsibility for every aspect of the day-to-day running of the College. This includes teaching and research, artistic programming, financial management, administration, fundraising and communications. 

Director of the RCM, Professor Colin Lawson CBE

Colin read music at Oxford and was subsequently awarded an MA at Birmingham University for his work on the eighteenth-century clarinet. His subsequent doctoral research into the chalumeau in eighteenth-century music (1976; published by UMI in 1981) remains the most extensive study of the instrument and its repertoire. He taught at Aberdeen, Sheffield and London Universities before moving to Thames Valley University as Pro Vice-Chancellor (2001-5). At TVU he was Dean of an arts faculty that contained some 8,000 students, with a curriculum ranging over a wide creative and technological spectrum. In July 2005 he became Director of the Royal College of Music, London, where he holds a Personal Chair in Historical Performance.

Colin has an international profile as a period clarinettist and has played principal in most of Britain's leading period orchestras, notably The Hanover Band, The English Concert and the London Classical Players, with whom he has recorded extensively and toured world-wide. Described recently as 'a brilliant, absolutely world-class player' (Westdeutsche Allgemeine Zeitung) and ‘the doyen of period clarinettists’ (BBC Music Magazine), he has appeared as soloist in many international venues, including London's major concert halls and New York's Lincoln Center and Carnegie Hall. His discography comprises concertos by Fasch, Hook, Mahon, Mozart, Spohr, Telemann, Vivaldi and Weber, as well as a considerable variety of chamber music. Among his most recent recordings are two highly-acclaimed discs of basset horn trios by Mozart and Stadler, and a CD of the Mozart Clarinet Quintet and associated fragments which reached the top 20 in the classical charts.

Colin has published widely on historical performance practice, especially for Cambridge University Press. He is editor of The Cambridge Companion to the Clarinet and author of Cambridge Handbooks to Mozart’s Clarinet Concerto and Brahms’s Clarinet Quintet. He is co-editor of a series of Cambridge Handbooks to the Historical Performance of Music, for which he has co-authored an introductory volume (1999) and a book on the early clarinet (2000). He is also editor of The Cambridge Companion to the Orchestra (2003). Most recently he co-edited The Cambridge History of Musical Performance, which appeared in February, 2012.

Colin holds an honorary doctorate in music from the University of Sheffield. He was appointed a Commander of the British Empire (CBE) in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List 2016 for services to music and music education.

Deputy Director, Kevin Porter

Kevin Porter is Deputy Director of the Royal College of Music, where he has worked since 1994, leading the administration of the College, with a particular focus on international initiatives, governance and strategy.

His early career was in quality assurance, first at the University of East London and then for the Council for National Academic Awards. He then moved to London Guildhall University where he worked in governance and academic policy, as well as Quality Assurance. Kevin was a Specialist Assessor for the Association of University Administrators, Chairman of the Conservatoires UK Academic Administration Committee and he also chaired the CUK initiative to develop a new admissions service, UCAS Conservatoires.

He is currently a member of the Royal Albert Hall Council and he chaired the Board of KCG internal audit consortium until 2022, among an involvement in a range of HE sector organisations. His article ‘Management in the Conservatoire of the Future: administering or leading?’ was published in journal Studies in Higher Education in 1998 and, with Jeffrey Weeks OBE, he co-edited the oral history ‘Between the acts : lives of homosexual men, 1885-1967’.

Director of Estates, Aida Berhamovic

Aida joined the Royal College of Music in January 2017 and brings a wealth of experience advising high-profile complex organisations on business-focused strategic estate planning and delivery of high-quality customer-focused facilities and services.

As a leader in corporate real estate, she has worked within established consultancy practices and client-side organisations, managing estates, operations and design of a diverse range of complex projects in the UK and overseas.

Aida is a former British Airports Authority (BAA) portfolio leader. As a part of a four billion pound capital transformation programme she led the BAA Capital transformation team, setting strategic vision and delivering a range of capital projects and services for Heathrow‘s Western and Eastern Campus. Her other achievements include successful implementation of innovative evidence-based strategies that improved space utilisation, increased retail revenue and enhanced customer experience for the BAA departure lounges of Heathrow, Gatwick, Stansted, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Aberdeen and Southampton.

In her early career, Aida held positions with Miller, Gensler and Fitzroy Robinson, where she was responsible for a number of high-profile projects, leveraging construction and design to help her clients achieve their strategic goals. She successfully led multidisciplinary teams of architects, engineers and branding specialists to foster design excellence and advise a range of clients including Canary Wharf Group, Morgan Stanley, Credit Suisse, Clifford Chance and Polo Ralph Lauren. Aida’s in-depth understanding of design and its role within the building development process, combined with her collaborative team approach, made her highly sought after by colleagues and clients.

Aida is a Chartered Architect and holds a Master of Arts from Central Saint Martins - University of the Arts London.

Director of Development & Alumni Engagement, Lily Harriss

Lily Harriss has an impressive track record in fund raising and high performance team development.

The wealth of experience and history of accomplishments that Lily brings to the role include the establishment and leadership of the Development and Communications Team for Picture our Future: The Campaign for Dulwich Picture Gallery. During the campaign, which had a total goal of £20 million, Lily personally managed the completion of over £18.5 million in gifts and pledges.

Her other achievements at Dulwich Picture Gallery include the overseeing of multi-million pound gift agreements (including a pacesetting £13 million family contribution and a £6 million corporate bank strategy), leading strategic planning exercises, writing business cases, and aligning funding practices with strategic goals. Lily has also trained staff in a variety of fundraising and management practices with a focus on good business practice.

Lily’s most recent roles have included Director of Development at English Heritage (Interim), Director of University Fundraising at King’s College London and King’s Health Partners, and Strategic Counsel for LIFT (London International Festival of Theatre).

Originally from Canada, Lily was previously Director of Development, Corporations and Foundations at Queen’s University (Kingston, Ontario), accountable for more than $11 million in receipted gifts in one year. She managed the restructuring and building of her Development team and is credited with establishing a corporate and foundation partnership programme with the various units across campus. She also worked on two major campaigns at Queen’s University and was the author of a comprehensive End of Campaign Report. During her tenure, Queen’s endowment grew to become one of the largest post-secondary funds in Canada.

In her early career, Lily worked as a fundraising and communications professional at various organisations including the Downtown Toronto Jazz Festival, the Harbourfront Centre in Toronto, the Edmonton Symphony, and the Art Gallery of Ontario. She began her career in volunteer management.

Director of Communications, Talia Hull

Talia Hull has joined the RCM as Director of Communications and brings a wealth of experience advising high-profile, complex organisations, specialising in strategic communications, issues management and brand repositioning. She has led successful external campaigns for the BBC, Warner Music and National Magazines (now Hearst).

She was previously Communications Director for littledesk pr advising a range of clients including the Incorporated Society of Musicians, The Space (a digital arts platform from Arts Council England in partnership with the BBC) and the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra.

Talia is a former Head of Communications for BBC Radio 3 & Classical Music TV and spent a number of years managing the public profile of Warner Classics’ four international record labels – Erato, Teldec, Nonesuch and Finlandia.

Artistic Director, Stephen Johns

Stephen Johns read music at Trinity College, Cambridge, where he was organ scholar. Trained at Abbey Road Studios, he has spent nearly 30 years in the recording industry as a classical record producer for a wide range of companies. He worked for EMI Classics from 1998, taking the role of Vice-President, Artists and Repertoire, in 2008. Stephen has worked with artists including Sir Simon Rattle, the late Bernard Haitink, Sir Antonio Pappano, Evgeny Kissin, Msitslav Rostropovich, Kyung Wha Chung, Emmanuel Pahud, and ensembles around the world including the Berliner Philharmoniker and Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra.

During his career recordings he has produced have received numerous international accolades including four Grammy Awards and five Gramophone Awards, the latter most recently for the Warner Classics studio recording of Verdi Aida.

Stephen joined the Royal College of Music in 2010 in the newly created role of Artistic Director.

Director of Finance, Rachel Harris

Rachel Harris joined the RCM as Director of Finance in November 2019 after seven years in the Higher Education sector at the University of Surrey, most recently as Director of Research & Strategic Finance. She also brings a wealth of experience from the commercial sector, having worked at the international telecommunications company O2 for twelve years in a broad variety of Senior Finance roles including Commercial Controller, Group Head of Analysis, Group Chief Accountant and Group Financial Controller. In her early career she worked in the audit and business advisory practice at Arthur Andersen, then at Universal Music and Thorn EMI.

Rachel read Mathematics and Management Studies at Emmanuel College, Cambridge, and is a qualified Chartered Accountant.

Director of Programmes, Diana Salazar

Diana Salazar joined the RCM in 2019 from the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland. At the College she oversees programme delivery and development at junior, undergraduate and postgraduate taught levels.

Diana began her teaching career in higher education at the University of Manchester before holding Lectureships in Music at Kingston University, then City University London. In 2015 she moved to the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland where, as Head of BMus, she was responsible for academic leadership, curriculum development and programme quality assurance.

Diana has extensive experience as an external examiner in music and music technology and as an external adviser and consultant for exam boards and higher education providers including ABRSM, Edexcel, WJEC, Bath Spa University, the University of Derby, Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance, The Hong Kong Academy of Performing Arts and The Royal Conservatoire in The Hague. Diana is a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy.

A Conservatoire graduate herself, Diana originally trained as a flautist at the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama before specialising in composition for Masters studies, followed by AHRC-funded doctoral studies at the University of Manchester. As a composer and sound artist her works have been performed and broadcast internationally, with many of her works recognised in leading international competitions including Bourges, Música Viva, the International Computer Music Association Awards, Musica Nova and Prix Destellos.


The senior academic committee of the RCM is the Senate. The functions of the Senate are described in the Charter as to 'advise the Council on all academic matters affecting the educational policy of the College and related matters'. In practice this means that the Senate is responsible for matters of academic policy and regulations, quality assurance and academic standards, the design of the curriculum and arrangements for assessment and for research policy. It has a committee structure to support it in this wide task.

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