SCHOOL OF STRINGS: Orchestra Agreement

All violin, viola, cello and double bass students in the School of Strings will be issued with a provisional college Orchestra Agreement at the end of RNCM Induction Week. The agreements will be posted in the student pigeonholes and detail the orchestral commitments for a student for the whole academic year.

Students should take this Agreement immediately to their tutor for discussion. Following this, return one signed copy to the Orchestra Office by Friday 4 October 2019.

If the agreement is not returned, acceptance will be automatically assumed.

Individuals may request changes to the initial agreement (in writing or by email) up to fourteen days from the issue date. After the two-week grace period, students that have submitted a request to change their agreement will be issued with a revised version and a tacit acceptance of the agreement will be presumed.

Valid requests for change will only be considered if supported by a properly completed Absence Request Form, which must be discussed with and approved by your tutor and Head of School.

Please put any valid request for a change to your Orchestral Agreement in writing to Charlotte Ferry and hand it into the Orchestra Office or email to:

Withdrawal from RNCM Ensembles after this date is possible only in an emergency or in exceptional circumstances.

A properly completed Absence Request Form must be submitted to the Orchestra Office for all absences from college during term time whether or not they clash with orchestra. Absence Request Forms are available from outside the Orchestras and Ensembles Office, or can be downloaded from Moodle.

In acknowledgement of the varying time commitments between the longest and shortest ensemble projects, a points system is in place.  Each student will have a maximum of 25 points, with a balance of long and short projects, providing a varied range of experiences and repertoire over the year.

The Autumn and Spring Operas have the longest commitment and both are worth 5 points. The shortest commitments, e.g. Concert Orchestras, are worth 1 point. 

In addition to the projects in your agreement the School of Strings are delighted to announce one further special orchestra project this year, to which personnel will be allocated, solely based on results from the Autumn Term orchestral auditions.

Strings Festival (11-12 January 2020)

One highlight of the RNCM Strings Festival (Sunday 12 January 2019) will be a concert in which RNCM String students will play alongside the Hallé Orchestra, working under the conductor Erik Neilsen with guest soloists Kristof Barati (Violin) and Veit Hertenstein (Viola). The programme will feature Strauss Don Juan, the Schnittke Viola Concerto and the Brahms Violin Concerto.

The RNCM strings students chosen by the School of Strings to be involved in this project will be allocated based on the results of your October College Orchestral Auditions.

Professional Experience Schemes

If you have applied for the Professional Experience Schemes with the local orchestra (Camerata, BBC Philharmonic) we recognise that you may need to renegotiate parts of your Orchestral String Agreement to avoid clashes when PES audition results are announced and dates offered. We will help you through this so you can honour the PES commitments and still fulfil an amended Orchestral String Agreement.

We actively encourage you to come in and discuss exactly what you have been offered so we can help you assess any potential issues.

The orchestra agreement covers the full academic year. Please ensure that you have adequate accommodation until the end of the term and that all external engagements, particularly summer courses, are arranged around your college ensemble commitments. If you have any questions, please contact the Orchestra Office as soon as possible.

Players are required to attend all rehearsals, concerts and recordings associated with each project. Music will be available for signing out from the Orchestra Office before the first rehearsal. Failure to return music after the final concert will incur a fine. Seating is determined by audition marks; there may however be certain circumstances when external factors affect the seating plan, in which case the marks will be used for advisory purposes only.

The Head of School expects you to prepare all music prior to the first rehearsal and strongly recommends that parts are taken to tutors for consultation, particularly when solos are involved

The mark you achieve in your Autumn and Spring Term auditions inform the decision as to whether you will be selected by the School of Strings to participate in additional Professional Experience Scheme opportunities throughout the year. For string players, this includes ensembles such as the Chamber Orchestra of Europe, and the Academy of Ancient Music.


Last modified: Wednesday, 18 September 2019, 4:37 PM