Royal College of Music is first to rename piano ‘accompaniment’ course

23 July 2018, 15:41 | Updated: 23 July 2018, 16:52

By Maddy Shaw Roberts

A major step has been taken to recognise piano ‘accompanists’ and reflect the “tremendous skill needed to work in this field”.

The Royal College of Music (RCM) has renamed its Masters in Piano Accompaniment to reflect the essential role of pianists in music making.

The course, renamed ‘Masters in Collaborative Piano’, is the first in a London conservatoire to remove the word ‘accompanist’ from its title.

The RCM has a number of piano alumni who have established themselves as well-known chamber musicians and song pianists, including Benjamin Britten, who regularly performed in a duo with tenor Peter Pears.

Simon Lepper, Collaborative Piano Coordinator at the RCM, says: “Unfortunately, some pianists still see the word ‘accompanist’ as someone who failed as a soloist. In reality, it is a pianist who enjoys different forms of music making which all involve a collaborative element.

“By using the term ‘collaborative pianist’, we can go some way in continuing to change the perception of audiences and other musicians as to tremendous skill needed to work in this field.”

Students on the RCM’s Masters in Collaborative Piano course will receive two years of training, developing a broad knowledge of the instrumental duo, chamber and song repertoire as well as being introduced to the skills needed to become a répetiteur, ballet pianist, continuo player, orchestral pianist or vocal coach.

Applications for the Masters in Collaborative Piano are now open on the RCM website.