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Royal Celtic Society endows bursary for traditional music students at Royal Conservatoire of Scotland

Having supported traditional Scottish musicians through the pandemic crisis, the Royal Celtic Society has continued its tradition of promoting traditional Scottish culture with a £500 bursary for students

Rated as one of the three best music education institutions in the world along with the Royal Academy of Music in London and the Juilliard School in New York, the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland (RCS) is the only one offering a degree course in traditional Scottish music.

The study includes Gaelic and Scottish song, fiddle and cello, flute and whistle, accordion, clarsach, piano, percussion guitar and the Highland bagpipe. The Royal Celtic Society was founded in 1820 to preserve the music, language, literature, art and history of Scotland, so supporting the course was considered a perfect fit.

The bursary is in addition to the society’s £2500 prize for the best new composition in the Scots tradition. Last year, it was won by Ewen Henderson, a fiddler and it will be run again this year.

Beginning in 2021/22, the bursary is offered to a student in the Traditional Music Department and although it is available to students of all traditional styles, the hope is that it will particularly aid students of song, thereby promoting poetry and language, as well as music. The money will go to help the cost of study or living expenses based on financial need and will be made at the discretion of the Conservatoire and the society.

Professor Joshua Dickson, Head of the Department of Traditional Music, said, ‘We are delighted to receive this bursary from the Royal Celtic Society, which will make a meaningful difference to a student living on a budget. We are pleased to work with this prestigious society dedicated to the cultural heritage of the Highlands and Islands in furthering interest in the traditional arts and music of Scotland.’

‘It is a great privilege for us to work with the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland,’ said Alan Hay, Chairman of the Royal Celtic Society. ‘The Royal Celtic Society’s charitable purpose covers the full spectrum of Scotland’s cultural heritage, including language, literature, music and arts.  So, we are particularly happy that the Conservatoire will generally apply this bursary to the field of song, which supports our interest in language, poetry, literature, and even history, as well as music.’