Today, the RCM played host to the First Lady of China, Madame Peng Liyuan who also happens to be a renowned singer of Chinese folk music. During her visit RCM students met and performed for the First Lady, including soprano Gemma Lois Summerfield (Kathleen Ferrier Award 2015) and pianist Martin James Bartlett (BBC Young Musician 2014).
The RCM has developed partnerships with conservatoires across China and a strong connection with world-famous pianist, Lang Lang, who received an Honorary Doctorate in 2011. In addition, Professor Vanessa Latarche, Head of Keyboard at the RCM, is Vice Chairman of Lang Lang Music World – his school for gifted pianists in Shenzhen.
But the most surprising thing I discovered today (as a result of this visit) was the presentation the RCM made to the First Lady before she left the college: a facsimile of the original manuscript of Mozart’s Piano Concerto in C Minor, K 491, housed at the RCM for over a century. I had no idea that the original manuscript to my most favourite concerto is just a twenty minute walk away from where I work in central London.
There are other items in the RCM’s special collection, it turns out. Director’s Choice – an 80-page book detailing the items – includes portraits, manuscripts and historical instruments.