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London's Royal College of Music Appoints New Head of Strings

Guitarist Gary Ryan, who has been Assistant Head of Strings for the last 25 years, will step into the role


London's Royal College of Music (RCM) recently announced that guitarist and academic Gary Ryan will be its next Head of Strings. Ryan was first appointed to the RCM in 1996 and has served as its Assistant Head of Strings since 1996.

Ryan studied with David Miller at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama and with Timothy Walker at the Royal Academy of Music. In 1983, he became only the fourth-ever guitarist to be awarded the Fellowship of the RCM.

Widely respected as an adjudicator and juror, he is regularly invited as a panelist for instrumental competitions —including the BBC Young Musician of the Year.

The RCM's previous Head of Strings, violinist Mark Messenger, was suspended in October 2023 after complaints from students regarding his behavior. An independent investigation upheld these complaints, terming Messenger's actions as "gross misconduct." He resigned with immediate effect during his disciplinary hearing.

"Gary brings with him a wealth of experience as a performer, composer, teacher and examiner," said Professor Colin Lawson, RCM's Director. "His appointment follows a wide-ranging and thorough search process and I’m thrilled that the Strings Faculty will benefit from his excellent leadership."

"It is a tremendous honor to be appointed as the Royal College of Music’s new Head of Strings," Ryan said. "The RCM is a truly extraordinary musical environment which I consider my musical home and I am excited to lead the String Faculty forward into a new era, working in partnership with our outstanding students and world-leading professors."

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