'One equal music’ : the Royal College of Music, its inception and the legacy of Sir George Grove 1883-1895
The establishment of the Royal College of Music (RCM) in 1883 represents the denouement of an eighteenth-century movement to found a conservatoire with a national remit in Britain. Whether motivated by the desire to rival Continental conservatoires to generate and develop an environment in which a worthy successor to Purcell could be nurtured or to create an indigenous musical workforce to obtain direct control of market forces, the RCM was seen as a panacea in the light of the demise of the experimental National Training School for Music (1876-1882) and the ineffectual Royal Academy of Music founded in 1822. The NTSM's financial concerns led Sir Henry Cole to approach the Royal Commission of 1851 for aid. In return for a meagre grant, the Commission insisted the NTSM remodel its management and constitution on pain of eviction from buildings on the Kensington Estate. Cole's approach to 1851 Commissionets precipitated the involvement of the Prince of Wales and other senior members of the Court that led directly to the establishment of the RCM in 1878.Attempts to institute the RCM as a quango to regulate the music profession alongside music education both at elementary school and university level were intended to provide ideal circumstances for inducing comprehensive treasury assistance where the NTSM failed. When this proved elusive, a contingency was provided by George Grove (first RCM Director from 1882) who, at the request of the Prince of Wales, imtiated a capital fund. The introduction of fee-paying students alongside scholars provided financial security that distanced the College & insolvency. Substantial growth in numbers during the first few years forced Grove and the Council to address the issue of a new building. Grove's appointment of an unrivalled professorial staff and the development of a rigorous curriculum, whose inspiration was to be found within the Continental traditions in France and Germany, had paid dividends. By 1894, the results of RCM's pedagogical methods were respected across Europe. The appointment of Grove's neighbour, Alexander Mackenzie, as Principal of the RAM heralded an environment for mutual co-operation between two rival institutions. The institution of local examinations under the Associated Board of the Royal Academy of Music and the Royal College of Music from 1889 marked the conclusion of further attempts to amalgamate the two institutions. The foundation of both the Associated Board was intended to provide a remedy to the shortage of suitably-qualified candidates entering for scholarships and to improve music tuition among school children as set out in the RCM's 1883 charter. The coalition created formidable opposition to Halle's proposal to establish a chartered Royal College of Music in Manchester (RMCM) in 1893 and Parliament's attempts to include music within the provision of the bill for the regulation and registration of teachers. The foundation of the Associated Board allowed Grove to begin implementing the RCM's remit to lead the music profession on both a national and imperial scale. The RCM's national and European reputation established by Grove was consolidated under the directorate of his successor, c. Hubert H. Parry, who confirmed the RCM's global reputation to which other, fledgling institutions, such as New York's Juilliard School of Music, came to aspke. Grove's initiatives, which began the process of emancipating composer and performer alike, went on to transform Britain's international musical reputation within a generation, the ramifications of which continue to affect us more than a century later.