How a top Manchester music school is helping musicians who fled Ukraine due to war - and how you can donate

The Royal Northern College of Music (RNCM) has launched a new fund to support musicians displaced by Russia’s brutal invasion of Ukraine.

The Royal Northern College of Music. Photo: RNCM
The Royal Northern College of Music. Photo: RNCM
The Royal Northern College of Music. Photo: RNCM

A top Manchester music school has launched a new fund to support musical talent forced to flee from Ukraine by Russia’s invasion of the country.

The Royal Northern College of Music (RNCM) has set up the RNCM Ukrainian Musicians Fund which it is hoped will ensure young musicians will not have their careers and ambitions wrecked by war.

The conservatoire on Oxford Road hopes to raise enough money to provide all the support people fleeing a conflict zone need for their studies in Manchester.

The appeal is being backed by a pianist who studied at the RNCM and is originally from Ukraine,who spoke movingly about seeing first hand the devastation of war in his homeland.

What is the RNCM doing to support Ukrainian musicians?

The RNCM has unveiled the RNCM Ukrainian Musicians Fund to support musical talent displaced by the war in the country.

The music school says the aim is to ensure that Ukraine does not suffer the loss of an entire generation of musicians and that those already studying are given the opportunity to fulfil their dreams.

War damage at the Kharkiv Music Boarding School in Ukraine. Photo: Ivan Hovorun
War damage at the Kharkiv Music Boarding School in Ukraine. Photo: Ivan Hovorun
War damage at the Kharkiv Music Boarding School in Ukraine. Photo: Ivan Hovorun

The fund is aiming to raise enough money not only to cover fee bursaries but to provide additional support for living costs, English language training and wraparound support that will include counselling, health and wellbeing care.

This is because musicians leaving Ukraine are coming out of a country that has already been occupied for four months and suffered billions of pounds of infrastructure damage.

The RNCM says it wants musicians to feel safe and secure as part of the organisation while they are studying in the city.

‘I’ve walked through streets that have been totally destroyed’

Pianist Ivan Hovorun studied at the RNCM and is from the Ukrainian city of Lviv.

He has seen the devastation resulting from the invasion of Ukraine, a country rich in musical culture and home to leading conservatories such as the Lviv National Musical Academy and The Kiev Conservatory.

Ivan’s career has seen him play around the world and now he has pledged to support the next generation of musicians from his home country by helping to raise money for the RNCM Ukrainian Music Fund, including by playing a special recital.

He said: “I grew up and studied in Lviv, and I’ve walked through the streets and places that have been totally destroyed.

Ivan Hovorun
Ivan Hovorun
Ivan Hovorun

“I am in constant contact with my friends there, as they try to defend their homes and cities.

“It is 10 years since I studied at the RNCM, where for seven years of study I literally lived, and I have most pleasant memories of the those years and concerts.

“Since March 2022 I have been supporting Ukraine through different events and I am now supporting Ukrainian students of my alma mater. I think it is my mission to help.

“It is very important for global music culture that newly coming generation of Ukrainian music students will have access to the unique facilities, instruments, sources of information, concert platforms and fantastic teachers.”

What has the RNCM said?

Manus Carey, deputy principal at the RNCM, said: “We want to do everything that we can to ensure that these young musicians who have been displaced from their training have every opportunity to flourish, both in their music and as part of the communities of the RNCM and the city of Manchester.

“It’s unimaginable to think of what is happening in Ukraine, but as part of the international community of musicians it is our aim to give these talented young musicians a sense of hope.”

Rob Buckland, head of saxophone at the RNCM, spoke about one of the Ukrainian students, saying: “From the very first note, I knew that she was a really talented saxophonist with a special gift for melody and phrasing. Her playing is fundamentally connected to her very being, and she plays with a really entrancing connection to the music.

“To be able to provide this young saxophonist with the support to be able to live and study in Manchester, to find the very best in herself, and feel safe and secure in the incredible learning environment that is the RNCM, will mean more to her than she can ever say.”

Can I help to support the fund?

The RNCM Ukrainian Musicians Fund is online here. Donations can be made online, either through a suggested amount of £25, £50, £100, £250 or £500 or by entering another sum.

It is also possible to support the fund by cheque, sending it to Development Team, RNCM, 124 Oxford Road, Manchester, M13 9RD.