New head of conducting at London’s Royal College

New head of conducting at London’s Royal College


norman lebrecht

January 17, 2020

The RCM has rolled out a raft of appointments.

Toby Purser is to be Head of Conducting.

Dimitri Scarlato is Area Leader in Composition for Screen.

Soprano Sarah Tynan joins the Vocal and Opera Faculty.


Other recent appointments include Ilya Kondratiev, Mengyang Pan, Caterina Grewe and Dinara Klinton in the Keyboard Faculty; violinist Alexander Gilman as Visiting Professor in the Strings Faculty; bassoonists Emily Hultmark and Roberto Giaccaglia in the Woodwind Faculty; and double bass and violone player Carina Cosgrave in Historical Performance.


  • Concerned says:

    Who is Toby Purser? Why is he the head of conducting at one of the worlds great music schools?!

    • Patrick John Gordon Shaw says:

      Check out his Biography on his Website! His credentials are immaculate!

      • Also concerned says:

        I do not want to belittle his credentials however, he was considered a “young conductor” just a few years ago as he was the ENO Fellow. Normally for big positions like this, one would hire an older experienced maestro that can teach from experience with top professional musicians….or at the very minimum someone who has much successful teaching experience already.

      • Donna says:

        Credentials immaculate and conducting mediocre.

      • Anonymous says:

        Never heard of Toby Purser! I’ve only held a London orchestral job for twenty years, sessions, TV, BBC etc…like many of my colleagues! But how can he impart to the students when he himself isn’t a jobbing muso in either the concert hall or studio?

    • Tyhaiegjo says:

      And it’s only a few years since he failed to get into RAM…

  • Jack Humpreys says:

    So happy for Dinara Klinton, truly amazing musician and immaculate pianist…

  • Anon. says:

    I have played under Toby’s baton on several occasions, agreed, he is not the finest Maestro but the job, if like other faculty heads, will involve a lot of admin. Toby will be more than capable at running the department in an efficient way, perhaps better than a more well known Maestro.

    • a conductor says:

      Unless things have changed a lot, Head of Conducting at RCM involves a lot of teaching. In fact, the head is the main conducting teacher. I am certain that they could have found someone more experienced for the job.

  • Dt says:

    Brexit Britain – no surprise they should choose such a mediocre figure (but, incidentally, posh figure with family money) for such a job.

  • Toby is a tremendously gifted and accomplished conductor. He will be a great asset to the Royal College!

    • ??? says:

      No one disputes that as no one knows him. The question asked is why him and not one of the better known, or at least more established conductors or conducting teachers?

  • Poby Turser says:

    From where the industry is heading, a more inclusive, diverse and accessible music scene, Toby doesn’t seem in line with that vision. Specially given his past conducting experience, which is somewhat not as significant as many other accomplished peers, doesn’t seem to be the right appointment for providing training, inspiration, and a role model for the future group of musicians that is looking to make their mark and contribute to this field.