MMusPerf (Keyboard)

  • Application deadline
    1 December
  • Course duration
    2 years
  • Course accreditation
    Trinity Accredited Course
  • Course fee
    €9,500
  • Course fee (non-EU/EEA)
    €20,500

Course Introduction

An Introduction from Head of Keyboard, Colma Brioscú

Welcome to the Keyboard overview of the MMusPerf programme at the Royal Irish Academy of Music. The Keyboard Faculty has a rich tradition of success amongst our graduates, who perform in concert halls around the world. A committed teaching staff includes distinguished soloists and chamber musicians, and renowned pedagogues. It is our privilege to support our students to achieve their best. 

The Keyboard Department caters for music studies in piano, harpsichord, organ and accordion. 

I am very happy to take queries from you. You can contact me on colmabrioscu@riam.ie 

Course Outline

The MMusPerf Programme attracts keyboard players who have achieved a high level of technical and musical skills in their undergraduate studies. The objectives of this 2 year postgraduate programme are to further develop the student, to:

  • Perform demanding musical repertoire to a professional standard with technical assurance, confidence and a sense of individual artistry

  • Demonstrate critical understanding of the different demands of a range of performance groupings through the assimilation and public performance of a range of demanding musical repertoire

  • Demonstrate critical understanding of a musical concept through composition, music technology or academic study clearly and unambiguously

  • Critically assess historical research with the intention of enhancing musical interpretation and contributing to the field of learning.

  • Demonstrate the ability to engage in the business-related aspects of the life of a professional musician with confidence through course work and assignments

You will have solo, chamber music and orchestral performance opportunities as soloist and member of the ensemble. Our weekly keyboard performance classes will give you the chance to perform your chosen solo works and you will have time with an accompanist to help to prepare you for concerto performance.

Pillars of Study

The Masters in Music Performance Programme has 5 pillars of study:

  • Principal Study

  • Chamber Music

  • Large Ensemble Work

  • Academic Studies

  • RIAM Holistic – the Working Musician (optional)

Principal Study

For two hours weekly over thirty weeks, you will receive one-to-one tuition from a teacher recognised for excellence in their field. You will experience masterclasses from internationally recognised performers in solo repertoire and chamber music.

Assessments are designed to ensure that you cover a substantial amount of repertoire across both years and are open to the public.

  • Mid-year recital (35 - 40 minutes) taking place in February and open to the public.
  • An end-of-year full-length recital (60 minutes)
  • Candidates must also prepare a major concerto in full to be performed [with piano accompaniment] at an appropriate time during the year.

Chamber Music

MMusPerf students are expected to cover in detail a minimum of 30 minutes of chamber music for a range of ensembles. Typical chamber music works at Masters level include major cornerstones of the repertoire by Brahms, Beethoven up to Schoenberg and later 20th century composers.

RIAM’s MMusPerf pianists frequently represent the institution in exchanges with institutions such as the Royal Northern College of Music, The Juilliard School of New York and the Liszt Academy, Hungary, through chamber music projects.

Voice and piano duos are encouraged, and MMusPerf students frequently perform the major works of this repertoire, such as the song cycles of Schubert, Schumann and Wolf, and rich repertoire of the French Mélodie.

RIAM has a collection of early pianos and these are used in projects run through our Historical Performance Department. Performances are tailored in many instances to the great Irish stately homes, which would have first hosted musical evenings of such music.

Large Ensemble Performance

Throughout the 2 years you will take part in RIAM Chorale, either as a member of the choir or as rehearsal pianist. There are additional opportunities to play in orchestras if piano parts are required, and as continuo in RIAM’s Baroque works.

Academic Studies

The academic component of the MMusPerf degree adds an intellectual foundation to your practical keyboard studies, enriching your playing.

You have the opportunity to explore a specialist academic elective of your own choice: Dissertation, Composition, Music technology, Analysis or Conducting.

This enables you to shape your learning according to the direction you wish to go as a professional – composer/performer; artistic researcher; creator of electro-acoustic installations and much more. You will receive one-to-one supervision and prepare major academic or compositional works.

RIAM Holistic- the Working Musician (optional for all Master students)

The fifth pillar of study is designed to make you a flexible and adaptable artist, ready in mind and body for the demands of a portfolio career in music. MMusPerf students have the option to take the following classes:

  • Career Strategy

  • Entrepreneurship

  • The Principles of Pedagogy

  • Music in the Community

  • Contemporary Music Collaborations

  • Yoga and Feldenkrais

  • Performance Psychology

 For a more detailed description of the course requirements, please refer to our course handbook.

Performing Opportunities

Career Destinations

The following graduates represent a selection of career destinations of RIAM alumni:

Finghin Collins, concert pianist

Lance Coburn, concert pianist, lecturer in the RIAM

Dimitri Papadimitriu, Artist Lecturer in Chamber Music, Carnegie Mellon University, School of Music

Fiachra Garvey, Artistic Director, North Wicklow Chamber Music Festival

Why Choose Us

RIAM MMusPerf keyboard graduates have enjoyed considerable success in international competitions and include: 

  • Lance Coburn (First prize, Cologne International Piano Competition) 

  • Soo Jung Ann (First Prize, Maria Canals and Beethoven International Piano Competitions) 

  • Alexander Bernstein (Third Prize, Dublin International Piano Competition) 

We take in small numbers each year, so you will get lots of attention, many performance opportunities and lots of support. 

Keyboard students receive two hours of practical lessons each week, which means you will make progress very quickly. 

Our keyboard professors are noted pedagogues, performing artists and chamber musicians. This means that they know the standard needed to reach the profession and have the practical experience to guide you there. 

RIAM students have access to some of the world’s leading performers and teachers through the RIAM Masterclass and International Visiting Artists Programmes. Recent keyboard visitors include Roy Howat, John O’Conor, Vanessa Latarche, Joanna McGregor, Pascal Roge and Grzygorsz Kurzsynski. 

We believe that collaborative projects chamber music is very important to keyboard players’ development, so we will give you many opportunities to study with expert coaches and perform this repertoire in public.  

Through our Historical Performance Department, we will give you access to projects involving early pianos, opening up your imagination in interpreting pieces from the 18th and early 19th centuries. 

Dublin is a bustling and vibrant capital city of Ireland, soon to be the only English-speaking country in the EU. 

As an associate college of Trinity College, the University of Dublin, RIAM students graduate with a degree from one of the top universities in the world. RIAM students have access to Trinity’s Sports Centre, sports clubs and famous societies. You can have the university experience, but with classes in the intimate setting of a conservatoire. 

Entry Requirements

Auditions

There are no set audition pieces. You will need to perform a balanced and stylistically contrasting programme of at least 30 minutes. A short interview (normally 10-15 minutes) will follow the performance.

Auditions are usually held in late January. Overseas applicants may audition by unedited DVD.

If submitting a DVD, please ensure that the quality of this DVD is sufficient for the panel to make a judgment. Poor quality DVDs will result in the panel being unable to process your application.

Candidates will generally receive the result within a month of their audition.

Entry requirements

To read more about prior qualifications, language requirements and musical standard required, please visit our Postgraduate Entry Requirements page

Course handbook