The Royal Northern College of Music has reached the ripe old age of 40. It’s without a principal, as Professor Jonty Stockdale stepped down from the job in July after less than four years, and Professor Linda Merrick is now Acting Principal. Formed from a union of Charles Hallé’s Royal Manchester College of Music (founded 1893) and the Northern School of Music (founded 1920), practical operations began in autumn 1972. The official birthday comes next June, as the RNCM was ‘opened’ by the Duchess of Kent, its first President, in June 1973. In 2009 she handed over to Sir Willard White, but her attachment to it is as strong as ever.