RCM ensembles

A double bass player smiling in an orchestral rehearsal
In addition to performing in their own groups, Royal College of Music students regularly perform together in our fantastic range of ensembles, which are highly regarded by audiences and critics alike.

Some ensemble projects are built around short, intense rehearsal periods that mirror professional conditions and offer valuable real-world experience. Others benefit from extended periods of expert sectional training, offering scope for reflection and deeper artistic development. RCM ensembles regularly work with some of the world's greatest conductors, choral directors, bandleaders and opera directors, many of whom have commented on the excellent musicianship, dedication and passion of our students.

You can watch performances by a range of RCM ensembles on our YouTube channel and you can view our current events in the Explore section of our website.


The RCM runs orchestras of different sizes, representing a variety of specialisms. Between them, the RCM Symphony Orchestra, RCM Philharmonic, RCM Opera Orchestra, RCM Baroque Orchestra, RCM String Orchestra and RCM Wind Orchestra give our students ample opportunity to explore a variety of repertoire and benefit from a range of orchestral experiences. Recent visiting artists include Sir Antonio Pappano, Sakari Oramo, Martyn Brabbins, Jessica Cottis, Rafael Payare, Jac van Steen,Vasily Petrenko, Kevin John Edusei and Joana Carneiro.

Our orchestras play a significant role in performing life at the RCM. In addition to regular events, such as our Orchestral Masterworks series, they provide several highlight concerts every year and orchestral performances are often streamed around the world via the RCM YouTube channel. Outside the RCM, our orchestras are regularly invited to perform across London at prestigious venues including London's South Bank Centre.


Every musician at the RCM has the opportunity to sing with the RCM Chorus in a public performance. The ensemble routinely performs large repertoire with the RCM Symphony Orchestra, often under the stewardship of world-famous orchestral conductors.

The RCM Chamber Choir performs regularly at the College, as well as in venues around London and beyond. The ensemble represents a fantastic opportunity for singers in the Vocal Faculty to develop their choral skills to a very high level, including performing Stravinsky's Les Noces at the Royal Festival Hall, with Vasily Petrenko. Choral singers also join the RCM Baroque Orchestra for an annual performance of Bach Cantatas, at the RCM and often in external concerts, too.

Jazz ensembles

The RCM Jazz Orchestra and RCM Swing Band enjoy regular slots in the College’s annual programme of events, playing to sell-out crowds. Both ensembles receive invitations to perform at a range of high-profile venues across London, including Ronnie Scotts, and at the London Jazz Festival.

Faculty ensembles

Our faculties run a number of smaller ensembles, which allow students to explore specific repertoire and benefit from specialist coaching.

The RCM Brass Ensemble and RCM Wind Ensemble both perform regularly at the College and beyond. The RCM Brass Ensemble also provides music at graduation ceremonies and other formal events.

Alongside our RCM Percussion Ensemble, our percussion quartet PERC’M features in our regular percussion concerts and annual Percussion Festival, and often tours, both in the UK and abroad.

RCM New Perspectives, our flagship new music group directed by Timothy Lines, performs new and recent works by RCM composers and eminent names in contemporary music, including our composers in residence. In recent years, these have included Chaya Czernowin, Mark-Anthony Turnage, and Steve Reich.


The RCM Opera Studio is recognised worldwide for its high performance standards. We present three fully staged operatic productions a year, along with regular opera scenes and special projects. Some of the world's most acclaimed directors, designers and choreographers join us for these productions, providing a professional experience within a supportive environment. Every opera is normally double cast to maximise the number of students who can benefit from this vital experience.

Recent performances have included operas by Ravel, Respighi, Humperdinck and Offenbach with directors including Jeremy Sams, Stephen Barlow and Liam Steele, while a performance of Handel’s Rodelinda was made exclusively for film. We also present biennial fully staged productions of mini-operas written by RCM student composers. Operas are available to view on the RCM YouTube channel, and on operavision.eu including Mozart Le nozze di Figaro, directed by Sir Thomas Allen. 

Find out more about RCM Opera Studio

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