The College takes delivery of 62 new pianos from the Steinway factory in Hamburg

With superb facilities, world-class piano training, and an open, industry-facing approach, the Keyboard Department at RWCMD has earned a reputation for producing highly skilled and employable musicians, performers, communicators and educators. Our approach promotes collaboration over competition, and we provide a creative and challenging environment in which students can begin to develop their own varied and exciting career paths while devoting themselves to pianistic excellence.

All-Steinway School

The Royal Welsh College of Music & Drama was the first All-Steinway Conservatoire in the UK, joining only a handful of outstanding institutions worldwide to become part of the family of All-Steinway Schools. The 62 brand-new Steinways, handpicked in Hamburg, have made an impact on every aspect of life at the College. They are serviced annually by Steinway & Sons and maintained to the highest standards throughout the year. In addition to the fleet of pianos, the College boasts the acoustically excellent Dora Stoutzker Hall – the first purpose-built chamber music recital hall in Wales and one of the best in the UK – offering a performance training experience that is second to none.

World-Class Opportunities

Our piano students benefit from an excellent staff-to-student ratio and an outstanding level of personal attention. Classes are small and there are many opportunities for all students to perform and receive feedback each term. The keyboard department curates a varied programme of recitals and collaborative performances, often in the College’s Dora Stoutzker Hall and at other prestigious venues in Cardiff, London and across the UK. Working with tutors from the College’s Drama department, pianists develop confidence in platform presentation and verbal communication. Regular masterclasses with some of the world’s most renowned pianists provide further inspiration, many of these guest artists performing at the College as part of the prestigious Steinway International Series.

A Diverse Experience

Students are exposed to a rich variety of professional musical performance at the College and across the city of Cardiff. Innovative study projects and playing opportunities promote an in-depth knowledge and understanding of piano repertoire, and we strive to offer an unparalleled range of further pianistic training. Our aim is to broaden our students’ musical outlook, providing the basis for future specialisms and a healthy professional portfolio. Collaborative performance projects run throughout the year, giving all students the chance to work with other instrumentalists, singers and composers. This encourages them to build their future professional networks and to forge lasting friendships through music. Performance on harpsichord and fortepiano promotes an historically informed approach, and all students also have opportunities to explore extended keyboard techniques for contemporary performance, as well as jazz piano, improvisation, and piano technology.

Producing Versatile Musicians

A rigorous curriculum ensures a mastery of keyboard technique with the aim of enabling our students to face any pianistic challenge with confidence. Sight-reading skills are the most powerful currency in the professional world, so we offer time and training in this crucial area. We also offer in-depth harmonic and rhythmic training at the keyboard while developing the additional vital skills of score-reading, transposition and memorization. We strongly encourage students to explore and enjoy piano performance in a wide variety of contexts and settings including community projects, orchestral performance, choral rehearsals, opera, and dance. Pedagogy forms yet another key element in the programme and we ensure students are able to gain practical experience of the essential skills involved in piano teaching.


By ensuring that our students’ pianistic excellence is fully supported by the wider range of skills necessary for a successful portfolio career, we have achieved an outstanding graduate employment record. We strive to ensure that during their time at College, our students learn to embrace the values of self-motivation, commitment and initiative while our strong emphasis on collaborative music-making also fosters the sort of highly developed interpersonal skills that are essential for any successful career in music.

Promoting Creativity

We are keen to encourage our students to learn to make confident, creative choices and to develop a strong sense of initiative. This is evident in their challenging and imaginative recital programmes, their approach to keyboard improvisation, their work with composition students, and the extraordinary artistic projects they devise. In an environment where musicians train side-by-side with actors, musical theatre performers and performance designers, our piano students can cross departmental boundaries with ease, inventing ever-new opportunities to expand their pianistic horizons and enrich their musical lives.

Individual Studies

All keyboard students receive weekly one-to-one lessons, participate in regular performance workshops, concert classes, skills seminars, study projects, ensemble coaching and practice surgeries. There is a full range of classes in supporting musical studies, our library houses facilities and resources for research, and students schedule their own practice hours in College.

Postgraduate Studies

Postgraduate pianists develop their performance skills at an advanced level through weekly one-to-one lessons, regular performance classes and an extensive range of ensemble opportunities and individual projects. These might incorporate performance on historical instruments, collaboration with student composers, concerto performances, in-depth study of Lieder repertoire or chamber music, or repetiteur skills. Masters students are expected to demonstrate and develop advanced skills in sight-reading, allowing them to engage readily in collaborative projects and all kinds of musical events. Students are also encouraged to pursue areas of personal interest and specialism, with the opportunity to incorporate these into their Final Recital. The department also offers specialist postgraduate programmes in Collaborative Piano and Repetiteurship.


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Head of Keyboard Studies
Simon Phillippo MA MPhil PhD (Cantab)

Alison Bowring MA LRSM
Graham Caskie
Mei Yi Foo
Robin Green BMus (Hons)
James Kirby GRSM LRAM
Richard McMahon ARAM BMus (London) LRAM ARCM FRWCMD
Richard Ormrod MA (Cantab)
Roger Owens MMus GRSM (Hons) ARCO ARCM
James Willshire MMus MPerf
Michael Young BA MMus ARCM

Collaborative Piano
Benjamin Frith
Simon Lepper
Catherine Milledge
Simon Phillippo
James Southall MA (Cantab) MMus ARCO
Richard Uttley MA (Cantab) MPerf ArtDip
Cordelia Williams

Simon Phillippo
Michael Pollock FRWCMD
Stephen Wood MA (Oxon) PGDip (RAM) ARCO

Vocational Contexts
Robert Clark - Ballet Piano
Connor Fogel - Music Theatre
Emma Gibbins - Church Performance
Kate Shipway - Ballet Piano
Christopher Williams - Orchestral Piano
Cordelia Williams - Chamber Music & Programme Curating
Stephen Wood - Opera Piano

Historical Performance
Steven Devine
Despina Homatidou

Keyboard Musicianship
Alison Bowring MA LRSM
Douglas Finch
Sharon Richards
Emyr Roberts
Huw Warren

Presentation Skills
Alma Shehan
Deborah Thomas

Visiting Piano Consultant
Charles Owen

Artist in Association
Llŷr Williams

Chamber Ensemble in Residence
The Gould Piano Trio

Steinway International Masterclasses 2018-19
Jonathan Biss
Yeol Eum Son
Yulianna Avdeeva
Nikolai Demidenko
Cédric Tiberghien

Piano Technician
Kait Farbon

Louis Schwizgebel

Federico Colli

Louis Lortie

Paul Lewis

Alexander Romanovsky

John Lill

Stephen Hough

Olli Mustonen

Llŷr Williams

Imogen Cooper

Freddy Kempf