Ross Montgomery

RPS Julius Isserlis Scholar 2019

Scottish clarinetist Ross Montgomery will undertake specialist tuition in Paris with Pascal Moragues and Nicolas Baldeyrou with the support of the RPS Julius Isserlis Scholarship.

Read on to find out about his musical interests and why he chose France as his prime study destination.

Who is your favourite composer and why?

There's a lot of variety in my musical life, so my 'favourite' composer can change regularly. As as a listener and performer though, I find I always come back to Mozart - it feels so perfectly human. I can really obsess over it, or have it wash over me; the language always feels very sincere.

Who is your favourite artist?

I've always been such a huge fan of Janine Jansen. Having heard her in many different scenarios, her performances always carry so much intention. Two years ago, I heard her and Martin Frost perform Messiaen's 'Quartet for the End of Time' at the Wigmore Hall. She drew the audience in effortlessly, creating the most eerie and intensely dramatic atmosphere I've ever experienced live. You could've heard a pin drop!

What's the best thing about being a performer, and what are the challenges?

Every day is different. There's very little sense of repetition. Having to stay at a high level to face each challenge, often in quick succession, can be difficult. For me, as a recital performer, I find that communicating honestly with the audience without getting self-absorbed can be really challenging. There are some occasions where you feel the situation so intensely you almost lose sight of whom you are performing for. We're so lucky to get to do what we love, and one must enjoy that, but also not get carried away!

I also find concert presentation quite challenging, so I'm always looking for opportunities to practice public speaking - as much as it petrifies me!

If you didn’t play a musical instrument, what would you be doing instead?

The dream would be to travel the world as a wine buyer. I love trying different wines when abroad. Though I doubt I have the palette to be a sommelier!

Tell us about France. What drew you to this country, and where do you hope it will lead to?

There are so many incredible French-school clarinettists. It's a country with an amazing tradition and level of virtuosity on the clarinet, and the instruments, reeds and mouthpieces that I (and most of my colleagues) play on are all made in France. There is also so much French repertoire I'd love to cover, and I feel that having lessons in France would be of huge benefit to my technical abilities.


Ross Montgomery is currently based in London and will complete an Artist Diploma this year at the Royal College of Music. After completing his Master’s at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, he joined Southbank Sinfonia in 2017 as Co-Principal Clarinet. He freelances regularly with the Royal Scottish National Orchestra and the Scottish Concert Orchestra, and is currently on trial for sub-principal clarinet with BBC Symphony Orchestra.

To read Ross' full biography, click here.


José Antonio Abreu, founder of the revolutionary Venezeulan ' El Sistema' which educates the poorest children in musical schools around the country: awarded RPS Honorary Membership in 2008.


In October 1970, Lutoslawski's Cello Concerto received its world premiere, having been commissioned by the RPS. The soloist was Rostropovich, who received our highest honour, the Gold Medal, the same year.