Royal Academy of Music to celebrate its bicentenary throughout 2022

02 December 2021
By Ellie Palmer
#Academy200 celebrations will run from January 2022 to July 2023, the year students were first enrolled, marking 200 years since the conservatoire was founded in 1822

London's Royal Academy will be celebrating it's 200th birthday throughout the course of 2022. 

The Academy was founded in 1822 by John Fane and Nicolas-Charles Bochsa, and its most well-known alumni includes Sir Simon Rattle, Elton John and Annie Lennox.

The Academy’s Principal, Professor Jonathan Freeman-Attwood CBE, said:

‘The Academy has shaped musical life in Britain and internationally for 200 years. Our ambitious programme for 2022 celebrates the breadth of our principal-study departments, showcasing our extraordinary students from more than 50 countries, and a teaching staff comprised of the world’s finest working musicians and teachers.

‘As we enter our third century we are firmly focused on the future and reflecting what we, as a conservatoire, need to provide to enable talented young musicians to lead fulfilling careers, while bringing music to as many people as possible. This means championing and supporting high-quality music education in the UK and inspiring the next generation of musicians. We need to continue to help people from all walks of life to believe they can study here, so they can play their part in the Academy’s next 200 years.’


The RAM entrance. © Frances Marshall


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Plenty of events will be taking place throughout the year to mark the celebrations, including:

  • Masterclasses by world-famous artists including Dame Sarah Connolly, James Ehnes, Joyce DiDonato, Dave Holland, Angelika Kirchschlager, Igor Levit and Claude-Michel Schönberg in spring (from 10 Jan)
  • Festival of works from 1822 and 1922, featuring the Academy Song Circle at Wigmore Hall (30 Jan) and a chamber festival curated by violin professor Levon Chilingirian (from 1 Feb)
  • World premiere of Freya Waley-Cohen’s opera WITCH, commissioned by the Academy (23-26 Mar)

  • Semyon Bychkov conducts the Academy Symphony Orchestra in Mahler Symphony No 3 (23 Jun)


Additionally, Wigmore Hall will be hosting the third Bicentenary Prize sponsored by LetterOne, where some of the Academy’s finest students will compete for a £10,000 prize (26 May).

Outside of the artistic programme, a new five-part podcast series will be launched in late spring. The episodes will open the doors of the Academy to a wider audience, and focus on an illuminating range of subjects from the beehives on the roof to the musical experimentation and pop culture of the 1960s and the fascinating story of Evelyn Dove and Edmund Jenkins, two Black students who were enrolled in the Academy in the early 20th century.

Find out more about the Royal Academy of Music here.

Main image: © Adam Scott

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