HRH The Prince of Wales today listened to a performance at the Royal College of Music (RCM) of a guzheng, a rare 21-string Chinese zither, given to him during the State Visit by China in 2015, as he honoured outstanding figures in international musical life at the Royal College of Music’s Annual Awards ceremony.
The guzheng will be on loan to the RCM which already houses close to 1,000 extraordinary musical instruments including the earliest dated guitar (from 1581), the earliest known stringed keyboard instrument (a clavicytherium from ca. 1480) and a remarkable collection of English viols from the seventeenth century. The guzheng is an especially fitting gift given the RCM’s recent agreement with the Shanghai Conservatory of Music (SHCM) to establish a new Joint Institute in China, the first such partnership of any UK music conservatoire.
HRH The Prince of Wales, President of the Royal College of Music since 1993, presented the guzheng to Professor Colin Lawson, Director of the Royal College of Music, in the presence of representatives from the Chinese Embassy in London. It was played by Xiao Ran in a showcase performance as part of a short concert.
The concert also featured performances from the College’s most exceptional recent graduates including South African bass-baritone Simon Shibambu, percussionist Kizzy Brooks, bassoonist Todd Gibson-Cornish and current masters student, soprano Rowan Pierce. Rowan was awarded the prestigious President’s Award for her exceptional contribution to promoting the work of the Royal College of Music in the wider community. Rowan’s RCM highlights include performances in a Jonathan Dove premiere in 2012, Journeying Boys in 2013, and frequent performances in the RCM’s annual Bach Cantata series. Her external professional work has brought her to the attention of the professional musical world in both Europe and the UK. Rowan is a Samling Artist and her work with baroque groups in particular brings credit to both herself and the RCM as an institution.