It’s easy to get caught up in the demands of our day-to-day work lives and often take for granted the amount of incredible culture on our doorstep in Manchester. RNCM lunchtime concerts are a brilliant example of easily accessible and affordable cultural happenings that you can call into in the space of a lunch hour. They’re the perfect way to break up the work day, remove yourself from the outside world temporarily and experience something new this spring.
On Monday lunchtimes, the college hosts a series of soloists and chamber groups, making the RNCM’s impressive concert hall feel like an intimate and welcoming space. Recitals are given by the next generation of great musicians, showcasing their inventive programming and virtuosic abilities on their instruments. In addition to the usual combinations of accompanied singers and flute or violin soloists you can find concerts with solo euphoniums, bassoon duos and classical guitar art songs. Check out their full listings to discover lesser known repertoire and see some of classical music’s rising stars.
Later in the week, the Thursday lunchtime concert series is an opportunity for larger ensembles to fill the concert hall. Often these involve visiting artists collaborating with the students from RNCM, giving them an opportunity to tackle larger scale repertoire with professional guidance.
A particularly special concert in the Thursday series sees members of the Chamber Orchestra of Europe leading students in a side-by-side project. The COE players will mentor and guide the RNCM pupils through Dvořák’s 8th Symphony. Based on the natural landscapes of the composer’s Czech homeland, you can hear hunting horns and birdsong among the jovial themes and folk dances of this symphony. It’s quite contrasting to Dvořák’s other long form orchestral works. The 8th Symphony has a much lighter feel, making it a great piece to brighten your day.
Earlier in February the students will be joined by Manchester Based new music specialists Psappha, for a performance of Steve Reich’s Double Sextet. Psappha have been bringing top-quality new music to the North for over 30 years. As an ensemble that is so closely linked with the city, this collaboration will surely be a meaningful one for the students.
Throughout the Thursday series you can also catch guitar, percussion and harp ensembles as well as baroque soloists and a guest concert with conductor Steven Verhaert. Even for the most committed of classical music fans, you can be sure to hear something completely new or at the very least something familiar reimagined in a totally original way.
For those working in the centre of Manchester, the RNCM is a short walk, or even shorter bus, away from the centre down the Oxford Road Corridor, making it very accessible for a quick lunchtime venture. The concerts are also incredibly affordable with the most expensive tickets costing just £5. The venues are also fully equipped for audience members with access needs so between location, cost and logistical needs you’d be pushed to find a more convenient series of top quality concerts in the North.
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