2022 RPS Julius Isserlis Scholars (clockwise from top left: Octavian Ioan-Pirlea, Sharon Zhou, Anna Ryan, Hiroki Kasai, Katie Taunton, Vanessa Hristova)

Study Abroad

Musicians often benefit from the experience of studying in a different country, drawing from a change of setting and fresh expertise. The RPS 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.

Applications are now closed for the 2024 RPS Isserlis Scholarship, but information on how to apply remains here for reference. If you would like this information in a different format, for accessibility reasons, please call us on 020 7287 0019 or email us at admin@philharmonicsociety.uk, and we will do our best to help.

    The Scholarship has helped countless musicians in many different ways over the years. Percussionist Rebecca Burch travelled to Ghana to collaborate with local musicians and learn indigenous repertoire, and trumpeter Imogen Whitehead flew to Oslo for an intensive spell of lessons and masterclasses with Norway’s top players. Clarinettist Mebrakh Haughton-Johnson has undertaken postgraduate study at The Juilliard School in New York City, USA, and violist Hiroki Kasai is currently taking lessons with the renowned musician Noboku Imai at the Escuela Superior de Musica Reina Sofia in Madrid.

    The funds making this possible were generously bequeathed to the RPS 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.

    In May 2023, 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 and vocalists 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 and vocalists 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 hope the prospect of such funding encourages you to think imaginatively about what musical development you could pursue overseas. We recognise these can be unusual times to plan for overseas study, partly due to the UK’s changing relationship with the EU and different restrictions in some nations due to the pandemic. Funds granted can only be given for plans agreed with the RPS, but we appreciate that in these circumstances some modification to these 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. We also ask you to complete our simple budget template (which you can download here), uploading this when you come to complete the online form.

    Shortlisted applicants will be invited to attend a live audition in London which will take place on Tuesday 16 April 2024. We aim to notify you in the week commencing Monday 18 March 2024 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 Charlotte Smith at charlotte@philharmonicsociety.uk or call us on 020 7287 0019.

    When is the closing date?

    The closing date for submission is 11am on Tuesday 13 February 2024.