Harpsichord and Continuo Fellowship
All junior and accompaniment fellows hold a unique position at the Royal College of Music. They are expected to develop musical and communication skills by undertaking further intensive study, working with other students internally and doing all they can to raise the profile of the RCM externally. All fellows work in close contact with the Creative Careers Centre, the RCM’s centre for professional skills and publicity services.
The application deadline has passed
Applications for 2018-19 fellowships closed on Monday 5 February 2018. Applications for 2019-20 fellowships will open in autumn 2018.
Current Harpsichord and Continuo Fellow
Claire Williams, harpsichord
Originally from Bath, Claire Williams studied piano, harpsichord, fortepiano and clavichord at the Royal College of Music in London. She subsequently completed a Master’s degree at Trinity College of Music, studying harpsichord and chamber organ with James Johnstone. Since graduating, she has worked with a wide range of ensembles in the UK and abroad, including the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, the English Chamber Orchestra, Essex Baroque Orchestra, and the City of London Sinfonia. She is a regular member of Musica Secreta, Flautotonic, and Baroque Encounter.
Claire has performed in venues such as the Royal Albert Hall, St John's Smith Square, St Martin-in-the-Fields, Cadogan Hall, Southwark Cathedral, Wells Cathedral, Bolivar Hall, Fairfield Halls, 1901 Arts Club, Fenton House, Brighton Dome, and at events including Manchester, Bath, and Chelsea Festivals, Brighton Early Music Festival, East Cork Early Music Festival, London Handel Festival, Spitalfields Music, and the Suffolk Villages Festival. She has also been a guest artist at the Latitude Festival, Triora Musica in Italy, and Dartington International Summer School.
Alongside her demanding performance schedule, Claire finds time to teach the piano and harpsichord, and regularly gives recitals at the Handel House Museum. She can also occasionally be found shark diving, as a qualified PADI Open Water Scuba Diver.
The Harpischord and Continuo Fellow receives a tax-free bursary for which they carry out activities including musical work specifically designed to improve and widen their skill sets. Their commitments include being involved in RCM activities, including receiving guidance and informal tuition, and practice time on keyboard instruments provided by the RCM. Bursaries are intended to supplement, not replace, contributions from applicants' own resources.
At the beginning of the academic year written approval must be obtained from the Projects Manager for their individual plan of study and involvement at the RCM. Bursaries are paid only after this approval has been confirmed. Funds are then normally made available on a termly basis, subject to satisfactory progress.
Applicants from outside the EU should note that they are required to indicate on their application what evidence they can show to prove their right to be in the UK for 2018/19.
The Harpsichord and Continuo Fellow is responsible for arranging their own lessons and other tuition. Tuition may include lessons with RCM professors or those not directly associated with us. Fellows are also responsible for planning their own work routines and monitoring their effectiveness. Funds may also be used for tuition in related areas of study, such as coaching on other areas of repertoire, language study, related instruments and costs associated with starting out in the profession.
The Harpsichord and Continuo Fellow is required to accompany one-to-one lessons, faculty classes, examinations and others as agreed with their relevant Head of Faculty. Accompaniment is likely to be in the region of 540 hours over the year, primarily during the RCM’s 30 teaching weeks.
The Harpsichord and Continuo Fellow will report to the Head of Keyboard and to the Projects Manager, but also to the Head of the Faculty to which they are assigned.
You will be required to:
- Lead, coach, direct, inform and work with RCM performers and composers
- Provide advice, contacts, and examples of career development which should help current students
- Accompany for the faculty to which you are assigned but also be able to accompany for all faculties as required
- Liaise with and give support to the Head of Keyboard, and the Head of the faculty to which assigned and the Pathway Leader for Postgraduate Accompaniment
- Act as duo partner for students in concerts, prize competitions, faculty and guest masterclasses and examinations.
- Be a member of the team of Accompaniment Fellows, giving support to others, attending regular Fellowship meetings and contributing to wider events
- Live in Greater London and be based at the RCM and normally be on site at least three days a week in term time
- Organise and/or become involved in projects and activities which enable you to work with current RCM students
- Participate in the organisation of and attend the annual Fellows’ evening
- Attend special events as RCM representatives, contributing to these as requested
Applicants should already have successfully completed formal studies at a level equivalent to a postgraduate diploma or degree or be completing these studies in the academic year in which the application is made. Applications will be considered from those with equivalent experience.
It is preferred that your existing formal studies have included specialism in harpischord and/or continuo.
Applicants need to be able to demonstrate:
- Wide experience of harpischord and/or continuo accompaniment work
- Excellent proficiency in sight-reading
- Considerable collaborative skills
If you are not an EU resident, you must obtain permission to be in the UK from the UK Border Agency in order to hold a fellowship. Accompaniment Fellows are not eligible to hold or extend student visas. The only option currently available for fellows who are not EU nationals is the Youth Mobility Scheme.
These conditions are set by the UK Government and can change. Please ensure you visit their website for the most up-to-date information.
How to apply
The deadline for applications is Monday 5 February 2018.
Applicants are required to submit a portfolio supported by a letter of application, which should indicate your suitability for the fellowship and your readiness to present yourself as an emerging professional.
Your application should contain:
- Letter of application addressed to the Director, including confirmation of permission to be in the UK and stating clearly that you wish to apply for an accompaniment fellowship
- Curriculum vitae and biography of c200 words
- Proposal for a programme of personal study
- A budget outline
- A publicity photograph
Submitting your portfolio
You should submit your portfolio online through the RCM submission portal. The information you upload to the portal does not constitute your entire application, but does form an integral part of it. You should ensure you have provided everything that is required. Incomplete applications may not be considered.
When using the submission portal you will be asked to create a user name and password, and to provide an email address. You should select 'junior fellow' from the list of programmes and the appropriate principal study instrument. There are no restrictions to the file size or type.
If you experience any problems uploading your portfolio please contact Lizzie Sambrook.
Assistant to the Artistic Director & Events Coordinator
020 7591 4370
If you are selected for the second stage, you should be prepared to discuss your application in further detail at interview. You are advised to keep a copy of whatever you submit.
Shortlisting and interviews
Shortlisted applicants will be invited to attend a sight-reading piano accompaniment audition and an interview with the Director and the Head of Keyboard.
Interviews for the Harpsichord and Continuo Fellowship will be held on Tuesday 6 March 2018.
Interviews will be held at the Royal College of Music in London.
Should you be invited to interview, you will be required to bring original documentation (visa, passport or leave to remain in the UK) confirming that you have permission to be in the UK.
In your interview you will be required to:
- Meet and talk with a panel
- Discuss the contents of your portfolio and your achievements to date
- Expand on any of the information in your portfolio in light of developments since applying
- Discuss experience and career plans and suggest ways in which you would like to contribute to the work of the RCM
- Present a short extract of not more than five minutes from your submitted recording and be prepared to discuss your performance(s) as an instrumentalist. Key selection criteria will include your ability to evaluate this in terms of strengths and weaknesses, as well as your development to date and future goals
Results will be conveyed as soon as possible after the interviews have taken place.
Conditions for successful applicants
As Harpsichord and Continuo Fellow you will be expected to:
- Include reference to the award in your CV and in any biographical notes accompanying appearances
- Produce a short written report on activities undertaken to date by the end of each term
- Keep trustees and sponsors informed on a regular basis of opportunities to attend performances or events in which you are involved
The RCM’s internal awards and competition funds are not available to Harpsichord and Continuo Accompaniment Fellows. It is possible to take part in competitions as an accompanist or an ensemble member, but fellows may not receive any prize money, which is only awarded to registered students. This restriction includes concerto trials as soloist. RCM awards and Access Funds are similarly unavailable.
Fellows are encouraged to support other students, particularly as accompanists, but may not perform as soloists in any of the regular chamber concerts. As part of the terms of the Fellowship, there are various special events, within the RCM and outside, in which Fellows are expected to take part, without additional payment.