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  • Print publication year: 2019
  • Online publication date: August 2019

1 - The Founding Directors

from Part I - Building and Consolidating (1883–1914)


This chapter discusses George Grove’s success in his choice of staff and the quality of his leadership in knitting together the wide range of musical characters and personalities into a cohesive educational body. There are some vignettes of the early staff, illustrated by a photograph which vividly captures them at the laying of the foundation stone of the new building in 1890. Grove’s letters to his confidante, Edith Oldham, capture some of the personalities and the day-to-day strains of their working together, and these are quoted to give a more realistic sense of the College in its early days than has been given before. The second part of the chapter looks at why Parry was chosen as the College’s second Director and looks at his musical and strategic limitations. Parry’s bitter feuding with Stanford – a defining characteristic of his time as Director – is examined. The chapter shows that Stanford (not Parry) was the RCM’s musical director and explains how this greatly benefitted the College, and that the need for this dual leadership was recognized by the RCM Council.