Professor Colin Lawson, the tenth director of the Royal College of Music (RCM), has announced his decision to stand down from the role on August 31, 2024.


Professor Lawson has led the Royal College of Music through almost two decades of sustained growth. Indeed, under his tenure, the RCM is now ranked the global top institution for performing arts according to the 2022 QS World University Rankings.

During Lawson's time as director, the RCM has also delivered a £40 million campus redevelopment. Its physical footprint has doubled since 2017, with new performance spaces that replicate the professional environment, plus a new interactive museum open to the public. He has also been a dedicated supporter of access and excellence for all, and over 50% of RCM students now receive scholarship support.

Elsewhere, Lawson's international outlook has brought new significant partnerships such as the ground-breaking Global Conservatoire which connects students and cultures, sharing knowledge on-screen across the world. He has also built up the College's digital presence: the RCM now broadcasts many more concerts, including masterclasses with some of the world’s greatest musicians, reaching over a million YouTube views in 95 countries.

Lord Guy Black, RCM chairman, comments: ‘Professor Lawson is a distinguished director, eminent musician and respected academic, and the RCM is enormously blessed to have had the benefit of his leadership for nearly 20 years. During this time, he has seen an extraordinary transformation in the RCM, both physically and culturally.

'His leadership throughout the pandemic has been essential to steering the Royal College of Music through the biggest crisis of our times and he brought the institution through it stronger than ever before. I am immensely grateful for his continuing dedication and commitment.’


Photo by Chris Christodoulou


Steve Wright
Steve WrightMulti-Platform Content Producer, BBC Music Magazine

Steve has been an avid listener of classical music since childhood, and now contributes a variety of features to BBC Music’s magazine and website. He started writing about music as Arts Editor of an Oxford University student newspaper and has continued ever since, serving as Arts Editor on various magazines.