RNCM Founding Principal to be honoured with sculpture

The contribution of Sir John Manduell CBE in helping to create the Royal Northern College of Music is to be marked with the unveiling of a new sculpture at the conservatoire.

John Maundell
  Sir John was the founder principal at the RNCM 1973 to 1996

Sir John Manduell CBE, the Founding Principal who brought together two Manchester music schools to establish the Royal Northern College of Music (RNCM), will be honoured this summer with a new bust by renowned sculptor Hazel Reeves.

Ceremony unveiling

The bronze head and shoulders will celebrate Sir John's 25 years as head of the conservatoire (from 1971), will be revealed at a ceremony on Friday 21st June ahead of a concert featuring the RNCM Chamber Orchestra and Chamber Choir, directed by David Hill MBE.

The commission has been made possible by the generous support of the Ida Carroll Trust and was initiated by two members of Sir John's original team, Bryan Fox and Richard Griffiths. It will include the creation of a unique plinth designed and made by RNCM alumnus Jonathan Stockton — now an internationally collected furniture designer and maker. It will be installed in the main reception area of the College.


Following the merger of the Royal Manchester College of Music with the Northern School of Music, Sir John brought the newly created Northern College of Music to its purpose-built premises on Oxford Road in 1973. It was granted the Royal Charter in July of that year.

Sir John enjoyed a successful broadcasting career with the BBC, and later became Programme Director of the Cheltenham Music Festival and founding Chair of the European Opera Centre.

He was a respected and commissioned composer. He received a CBE in 1982, was knighted in 1989, and was awarded the Chevalier des Arts et Lettres in 1990 — one of the highest honours the French Government can bestow. He died in 2017.

To see what the RNCM has grown into, it was like a blood infusion — seeing all these young people, all that talent, and the conservatoire itself made Sir John more tangible. It really helped me to understand him and his impactHazel Reeves


Speaking about the forthcoming unveiling, Sir John's widow, Lady Renna Manduell, said: "I am thrilled and delighted that John's unique contribution has been recognised and I am most grateful to all those who have had the thought and clear-sighted vision to create this tribute to his many years of extraordinary energy and steadfastness."

Sculptor Hazel Reeves said visiting the RNCM had allowed her to fully appreciate Sir John's significant legacy.

"To see what the RNCM has grown into, it was like a blood infusion — seeing all these young people, all that talent, and the conservatoire itself made Sir John more tangible. It really helped me to understand him and his impact."

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