About the ARCO Project

The ARCO Project was founded in 2015 by Dr Louise Lansdown, then Head of Strings at the Royal Birmingham Conservatoire (RBC) along with staff and students from the strings department. ARCO has evolved over the past nine years, and now boasts three projects, based in South Africa and India. The inaugural project started as a cross-continental online string teaching project between RBC and the Morris Isaacson Centre for Music, Soweto, South Africa, and in 2021 ARCO India was formalised, seeing RBC collaborate with the A.R Rahman Foundation and the Sunshine Orchestra based in Chennai. A new and third ARCO Project is currently being created in Prince Albert in collaboration with the Prince Albert Community Trust (PACT) starting in January 2024. As the inaugural project ARCO Soweto is the longest standing and most extensive of the three ventures. ARCO has recently moved its base to the Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester where it will be embedded as an academic elective in both the undergraduate and postgraduate courses during the 2023-24 academic year.

Music has always been a part of me and being given this opportunity meant a lot to me. It is really thrilling to be out of my comfort zone where I can challenge myself to become a better cellist.

Sifiso Mbatha (20), ARCO Ambassador