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Professor Linda Merrick was appointed the fourth Principal of the Royal Northern College of Music in 2013.. Alongside her commitment to music education, she is an internationally-recognised clarinettist, recording artist, pedagogue and researcher specialising in British contemporary repertoire.
Merrick was born in Bristol on 11 May 1963. She studied at the Royal Academy of Music (1981-1984) graduating with First Class Honours, followed by a further year of postgraduate study specialising in clarinet performance. Merrick continued her studies at Reading University, being awarded an MMus in Performance (1993) and progressed to receive a Ph.D. from UCE in 2004. She is a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Music, Royal College of Music, Royal Society of the Arts and the Royal Northern College of Music, where she holds a Personal Chair.
Initially joining the Royal Northern College of Music as Director of Performance Studies and Senior Tutor in Clarinet in 2001, Merrick was subsequently promoted to a number of different positions, including Director of the College’s prestigious Centre for Excellence in Teaching and Learning (2005-2010) and Vice-Principal (2006-2012). Prior to 2001, she was Head of Music at the London College of Music (1997-2001).
During her time as Principal of the Royal Northern College of Music, Merrick has presided over major curriculum and estates developments. Under her leadership, students at the College benefit from a number of professional experience, placement and entrepreneurship schemes and the opportunity to study in the real-world environment of an institution that is both conservatoire and busy public arts venue.
During Merrick’s tenure, research has flourished alongside professional practice, with the College being rated the top UK conservatoire for research in the Research Excellence Framework (2014), securing external funding for a number of large-scale collaborative research projects, and teaching and performance at all levels being informed by the latest scholarship and research. Having presided over the establishment of the first high quality popular music programme in a leading UK conservatoire, Merrick has been an advocate of music across all genres and is passionate about encouraging students to develop their individual identities as artists and find creative and innovative ways to create, capture and disseminate their original output live and online.
In her role, Merrick has led the establishment of a powerful global network of leading conservatoires, and developed active partnerships with education, cultural and commercial partners in the City of Manchester, across the North, nationally and internationally. She has also driven an ambitious access and widening participation agenda, reaching out to thousands of people of all ages and backgrounds in education, healthcare and third age settings to engage them with music and enrich lives.
As a clarinet soloist, Merrick has released over 40 solo CDs for labels including Metier, NMC, Naxos and Guild and broadcast for BBC Radio 3, Radio France, Radio DRS1 in Switzerland, CKWR in Canada and Arte TV in South Korea. She has performed as a soloist in America, Australia, Belgium, China, France, Germany, Spain, Switzerland, the UAE and across the UK.
An active commissioner of new music, Merrick has made a major contribution to the clarinet repertory to date, including a significant number of new concertos and clarinet quintets by British composers and many smaller-scale mixed chamber works and works for clarinet and electronics. In addition, she has performed over 80 new commissions and recorded three CDs with the contemporary ensemble Sounds Positive of which she is a founding member.
Passionate about chamber music, Merrick collaborates regularly with the Kreutzer Quartet, commissioning, performing and recording with them new clarinet quintets by leading British composers, including Simon Bainbridge, Nigel Clarke, Martin Ellerby, Michael Finnissy, Wilfred Josephs and John McCabe
Merrick remains active as a practice-based researcher, delivering papers nationally and internationally (e.g. Institute of Musical Research London, Royal Academy of Music, Reading University, Guildhall School of Music and Drama, Queensland Conservatorium, Brisbane, Australia, Edith Cowan University, Perth, Australia) and giving regular seminars on action research methodologies in music and contemporary performance practice. Her Ph.D. was published by VDM Verlag, Germany’s largest publisher of scientific monographs, in 2009, and she has published frequent articles in national and international journals on clarinet pedagogy and contemporary performance practice.
Merrick is Chair of Conservatoires UK, Vice-President of the Clarinet and Saxophone Society of Great Britain, a Trustee of the Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music and on the Boards of the Association of British Orchestras, Chetham’s School of Music, the Hallé orchestra and the Oxford Road Corridor Partnership (Manchester’s Innovation District). She is a UK Council Member for the Creative Industries Federation, served as a Commissioner on the Durham/Arts Council England Commission for Creativity and Education and is a Panel Member on the Department for Education’s Model Music Curriculum Review. Internationally, Merrick is a founder-member of the President’s Council for Entrepreneurship at New England Conservatory, Boston USA and acts as Honorary International Art Director on the International Expert Group for Poly Art Education, China.
- "RNCM Announces Professor Linda Merrick as its New Principal - Royal Northern College of Music". RNCM. Retrieved 2020-09-15.
- "Linda Merrick- Bio, Albums, Pictures – Naxos Classical Music". www.naxos.com. Retrieved 2020-09-15.
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