Linda Merrick ‒ clarinettist, academic and administrator ‒ has been appointed principal of the Royal Northern College of Music.
Vice-principal of the college since 2006, and formerly director of performance studies and senior tutor in clarinet (since 2001), Professor Merrick has also been acting principal since last July, when Professor Jonty Stockdale stepped down from the role after less than four years.
The college announced that she had been appointed ‘following an extensive international search’.
She played a key role in the college’s successful application in 2005 to be among the first UK institutions awarded CETL status (Centre for Excellence in Teaching and Learning) ‒ the only music conservatoire to be made one.
The award brought in £3,750,000, much of which helped to build the east wing extension of the college building, opened in 2007 to house the college’s Centre for Young Musicians and its Research Centre for the Vocational Training of Musicians, along with other aspects of the college’s work, as well as rehearsal space for Manchester Camerata, now orchestra in residence at the RNCM.
The Centre for Young Musicians pioneered the college’s PGCE course in music with specialist instrumental teaching, run jointly with Manchester Metropolitan University.
Linda Merrick trained at the Royal Academy of Music and Reading University and became head of music at London College of Music and Media in 1997, alongside a career as a clarinettist. She has commissioned over 70 new works for clarinet by British composers. In 2004 she completed a PhD on collaboration between composers and performers.
She has made over 20 solo CD recordings, including new concertos by Gary Carpenter, Nigel Clarke, Martin Ellerby, Kit Turnbull and Guy Woolfenden, Philip Sparke, Stephen McNeff, John McLeod, Edwin Roxburgh and Philip Spratley, and in chamber music premiere recordings of four new clarinet quintets with the Navarra Quartet, a new clarinet quintet by John McCabe with the Kreutzer Quartet, Wilfred Joseph’s and Robert Crawford’s clarinet quintets, chamber works by Malcolm Arnold, John Ireland and Martin Ellerby, and new works for clarinet and electronics with Chris Thorpe.
She has performed as a concerto soloist in America, Asia, Australia, Europe, South America, the UAE, and the UK, and broadcast for Radio 3, Radio France, DRS1 Switzerland, CKWR Canada and Arte TV South Korea. She is a founder member of the contemporary ensemble, Sounds Positive.
Linda Merrick is married to composer Martin Ellerby. They live in Altrincham, near Manchester.