2021 RPS Julius Isserlis Scholars (clockwise from top left: Alexandra Ridout, Ashby Mayes, Dorote Vdovinskyte, Thomas Mathias, Leo Appel, Laura Armstrong

Study Abroad

Musicians often benefit from the experience of studying in a different country, drawing from a change of setting and fresh expertise. The Royal Philharmonic Society is pleased to offer young musicians a life-changing opportunity to study abroad, be it to take lessons from a specialist based overseas or to fulfil a course at an international music school or university.

This is possible thanks to the RPS Julius Isserlis Scholarship which was generously bequeathed by Cecilia Helen Northcote to us some decades ago, and at her wish is dedicated to the inspirational Russian pianist, composer and teacher Julius Isserlis.

Applications for the 2022 Isserlis Scholarship are now open. Read on for the full terms and download the application guidelines here.

    Over the years, the Scholarship has helped countless musicians in many different ways over the years. These have included percussionist Rebecca Burch who travelled to Ghana to collaborate with local musicians and learn indigenous repertoire, trumpeter Imogen Hancock who flew to Oslo for an intensive spell of lessons and masterclasses with Norway’s top players, harpist Milo Harper who undertook a Masters with Emmanuel Ceysson at the Mannes School of Music in New York, and cellist Finn Mannion who travelled to Germany to scope out study options, meet contacts and attend masterclasses.

    In June 2021, we announced the most recent beneficiaries of the Scholarship. To read their stories and find out how we are supporting their studies abroad, click here.

    What does the RPS offer?

    This year, we expect to offer a total of £30,000 from the RPS Julius Isserlis Scholarship to young instrumentalists to study abroad for up to two years. This will be split between a number of musicians, as decided by the panel. Typical grants can range from as little as £500 up to £10,000.

    Who is it open to?

    All classical instrumentalists of any nationality between the ages of 15 and 25, who are permanently resident in the UK. In the application form, you will asked to confirm your age as it will be on the closing date.

    We recognise these remain somewhat unusual times to plan for overseas study, partly given Britain’s changing relationship with the EU and also how things are easing to different degrees in each nation following the height of the pandemic. Funds granted can only be given for plans agreed with the RPS, but we recognise in these circumstances that some modification to these - and particularly to their timeline - may prove necessary as things progress. We don’t want current circumstances to deter you from applying, and encourage you to contact us should you have any queries or issues regarding this.

    We are continually striving to address how we can minimise barriers to the widest possible range of applicants and are proud to have adopted Sound and Music's Fair Access Principles. We particularly welcome applications from under-represented demographics, such as those who are Black, Asian and ethnically diverse, or those who are disabled. If you feel that any part of our offer - or the experience in applying for it - could inhibit any such person from applying, please do let us know (contact details below) and we will be happy to address this.

    What does it cost?

    There is no entry fee so it is free for eligible candidates to apply. If you are shortlisted for audition in London, you would need to cover your own travel expenses and the cost of an accompanist should you need one.

    How can I apply?

    Applications should be submitted via the online form linked at the bottom of this page. Before applying, please take time to read the guidelines and criteria - linked below - and continue to consult them throughout the process. Shortlisted applicants will be invited to attend a live audition in London early in the week commencing Monday 4 April. We aim to notify you in the week commencing Monday 28 February if you have been selected for audition.

    If you have any further queries about any part of the process not addressed in the guidelines below or wish to speak to a member of the RPS team, please get in touch with us. We also warmly welcome feedback about our application process and are keen to hear from anyone who may have identified potential barriers to applying. You can contact our Administrator Camilla Carden at camilla@philharmonicsociety.uk or call us on 020 7287 0019.

    When is the closing date?

    The closing date is 11am on Tuesday 1 February 2022. We regret we cannot consider any applications received after that time.