Just in: John Tom heads north

Just in: John Tom heads north


norman lebrecht

April 18, 2016

The international operatic bass Sir John Tomlinson will become president of the Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester from January.

One of the friendliest professionals on the opera circuit and a unique artist, John Tom (as he’s widely known) was born in Oswaldtwistle and regards the northwest of England as his home turf.

He said today: ‘I have been associated with the College since 1966 when, as a young engineering undergraduate, I pinned on the noticeboard a card with the words ‘singing lessons required’. The next day Patrick McGuigan (later in the 90s to be Head of Vocal Studies) replied and I began singing lessons with him which led to me becoming a full-time student. Since then it’s been my pleasure to return at regular intervals for recitals and masterclasses and more recently to come and work with the students for a couple of days each term. Now I am privileged to become President of the RNCM for a five-year term and as such it is an honour for me to continue my association with this great institution.’




  • Una says:

    President? What is that? I am an RNCM person and no idea what that position means? Sounds very American for Manchester! Head of singing, Principal (or is it Principle?). He’s already President of the Manchester Wagner Society but that is just what it is and not paid!

  • Robert Fitzpatrick says:

    President of the Board of Governors, me thinks. Linda Merrick is still Principal.

  • Martin Snell says:

    The title of President of the Royal Northern College of Music has existed since the College’s creation through the amalgamation of the Royal Manchester College of Music and the Northern School of Music in ca. 1972. It was a secondary form of Royal Patronage as the position was filled for many years by HRH The Duchess of Kent until she withdrew from public life. HM The Queen is still Patron of the RNCM. The Duchess, as President, was initially succeeded by Sir Wilard White. The title is akin to the chancellor of a university and presides over College graduation ceremonies but, as far as I am aware, has no role to play in the administration of the College. It is purely an honorary position.