The orchestra helps develop talent through its own Orchestra Academy and by organising masterclasses and collaborative efforts with other musical institutions, including the Conservatorium van Amsterdam, the Learning Orchestra and the Concertgebouw.
Each season, the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra Academy offers several young, exceptionally talented musicians a chance to take part in productions while receiving instruction and guidance from members of the orchestra. These young Academy students also team up with RCO musicians to give chamber music concerts at a number of locations.
In addition, Academy students take lessons, participate in workshops and receive training. Since its inception in 2003, the Orchestra Academy has produced many successful professional musicians. Most play in professional orchestras; indeed, no fewer than six former Academy students are now fully fledged members of the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra.
During the academy course the academists play up to twelve programmes with the orchestra, conducted by world renowned conductors and under the guidance of mentors from the orchestra. The academists play chamber music with members of the orchestra and students of the Music Chapel Queen Elisabeth. Furthermore, the academists receive:
During the academic year (September to June) the academists receive a monthly allowance. The academists reside in Amsterdam. Academy students, who have completed the course successfully, are given priority at Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra auditions for a three-year period.
In the cities where the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra has residencies (London, Paris, Brussels and Frankfurt) and in countries which are home to RCO societies of friends (Switzerland, the UK, France, Belgium and the US), members of the orchestra give individual masterclasses to music students. RCO musicians also give masterclasses to youth orchestras while on tour.
During its 2013 world tour, for instance, the RCO established strong educational ties with the KwaZulu-Natal Symphony Orchestra’s young musicians programme.
Finally, the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra offers a number of special opportunities to young conductors.
Every other season, the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra organises a masterclass for conductors. In 2012, Mariss Jansons shared his expertise with conducting students from Hungary, China and the UK: Gergely Madaras, Yu Lu and Alexander Prior. On Friday, 3 April 2015, Valery Gergiev worked with the RCO to help three young conducting talents further their careers: Joshua Weilerstein, Ben Gernon and Zaurbek Gugkaev.
The next mastclass takes place at 28, 29 and 30 June 2017 with Daniele Gatti as tutor.