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Historical Timeline

Historical Timeline

RCM Timeline



  • The Toronto Conservatory of Music is founded and the development of a unique graded curriculum for the study of music begins. Edward Fisher serves as the first Principal and Music Director.



  • The Conservatory moves into a new purpose-built structure at the corner of University Avenue and College Street in Toronto, while expanding its curriculum across Canada.


  • The Conservatory establishes its first external examination centres in several southern Ontario towns in order to provide graded third-party assessment for local students studying the curriculum.



  • Frank Welsman founds and directs the Toronto Conservatory Orchestra, which later becomes the basis of the Toronto Symphony Orchestra.



  • Augustus Vogt, conductor of the Toronto Mendelssohn Choir, is appointed Principal of The Conservatory. Under his leadership, The Conservatory becomes one of the largest such institutions in the British Empire.


  • The first piano repertoire book, based on The Conservatory's graded curriculum, is published by the Frederick Harris Music Company and distributed to music students and teachers throughout Canada.



  • Sir Ernest MacMillan is named Principal. Under his leadership The Conservatory's music library is expanded and new courses are introduced, including opera classes. He also makes annual trips to communities across Canada, fostering musical culture and inspiring a generation of Canadians.



  • The Conservatory's graded curriculum is accredited by the Ontario Department of Education.
  • Conservatory faculty member Viggo Kihl is chosen to lead the inaugural music program of The Banff Centre.



  • The Frederick Harris Music Company, exclusive publisher of all of The Conservatory's curriculum materials, becomes a wholly-owned part of The Conservatory.


  • Pianist Glenn Gould receives his ARCT Diploma at 12 years of age.


  • The Conservatory Opera School is established under Music Director Nicholas Goldschmidt. The Opera School later leads to the formation of the Canadian Opera Company.


  • In recognition of its status as one of the Commonwealth's greatest music institutions, The Conservatory receives the Royal Charter from King George VI, and becomes The Royal Conservatory of Music.


  • Royal Conservatory faculty member Ernesto Vinci founds the celebrated opera department of The Banff Centre.



  • Soprano Lois Marshall receives an Artist Diploma. Tenor Jon Vickers enrols in The Royal Conservatory of Music Opera School.


  • Soprano Teresa Stratas receives an Artist Diploma.



  • The Conservatory launches the Orff Music for Children program in North America, setting the music education foundation for thousands of teachers across North America.


  • The Royal Conservatory's national headquarters moves to McMaster Hall on Bloor Street in Toronto.


  • Organist, choir director, and keyboard pedagogue Dr. David Ouchterlony becomes Principal of The Royal Conservatory.



  • Ezra Schabas is appointed Principal of The Royal Conservatory and launches the Orchestral Training Program and a comprehensive program for musically gifted children.



  • A new academic plan is developed by Dr. Peter Simon, Robert Creech, and Campbell Trowsdale, which leads to the re-establishment of professional performance training programs at The Royal Conservatory.



  • The Royal Conservatory of Music Act of the Ontario Legislature re-establishes The Royal Conservatory's status as a fully independent, not-for-profit entity.
  • Dr. Peter Simon, President of the Manhattan School of Music and a Conservatory alumnus, is appointed President of The Royal Conservatory.


  • The Royal Conservatory Early Childhood Music Education creates a partnership with Toronto Metropolitan University.


  • The Royal Conservatory launches Learning Through the Arts (LTTA), a national arts-based program designed to improve academic achievement in schools and address a range of social issues.


  • The newly restored Mazzoleni Concert Hall opens and is named in honour of celebrated conductor and former Conservatory principal Ettore Mazzoleni.
  • The Royal Conservatory of Music Professional School is re-named The Glenn Gould School. The Government of Canada designates The School as a National Training Institution.
  • The program for musically gifted children is expanded and named the The Young Artists Academy.



  • Following a successful expansion throughout Ontario, LTTA programming is launched across Canada.


  • The Royal Conservatory launches the Building National Dreams Campaign to build a state-of-the-art centre for performance and learning that will include the restoration of historic McMaster Hall and building expansion to accommodate new studios and performance spaces.
  • A Queen's University study of 6,000 students finds that Learning Through the Arts students score 11 percentile points higher in math than non-LTTA students.
  • The ARC Ensemble (Artists of the Royal Conservatory) is founded as The Royal Conservatory's resident chamber ensemble, consisting of senior faculty members of The Glenn Gould School.


  • TELUS Corporation becomes the major supporter of the Building National Dreams Campaign and the new facility is named the TELUS Centre for Performance and Learning. The facility includes Koerner Hall, the stunning 1,135 seat concert hall named after leading Canadian philanthropists Sonja and Michael M. Koerner.


  • Official groundbreaking ceremony for the TELUS Centre for Performance and Learning takes place.
  • Royal Conservatory alumni Ian Ihnatowycz and Marta Witer provide support to preserve the beautiful McMaster Hall heritage building, which is renamed Ihnatowycz Hall in their honour.
  • The Royal Conservatory launches Living Through the Arts, a program that brings artist-educators into health and social service organizations to deliver arts-based workshops for communities in need.


  • The Royal Conservatory establishes a partnership with Baycrest, a global leader in providing innovations in aging and brain health, to deliver Living Through the Arts programming.


  • The LTTA method is adopted by 10 schools in Germany.


  • The academic section of the new TELUS Centre for Performance and Learning opens.
  • The ARC Ensemble receives Grammy Award nominations for Best Chamber Music Performance.


  • Koerner Hall, named after leading Canadian philanthropists Sonja and Michael M. Koerner, opens, completing the final phase of The Royal Conservatory's expansion and redevelopment at the TELUS Centre for Performance and Learning.
  • Along with Koerner Hall and The Royal Conservatory's expansion, The Rupert Edwards Library opens and is a valued resource for students and faculty. From the Building National Dreams campaign, the library was named The Rupert Edwards Library by the Edwards Charitable Foundation in honour of its founder.
  • From November 4 to 6, 2009, as Prince of Wales, His Majesty King Charles III visited Toronto with the then Duchess of Cornwall, now Her Majesty Queen Camilla. As part of his trip, he visited The Royal Conservatory of Music and other charities and attended events.



  • The Royal Conservatory creates a partnership with Carnegie Hall to create the Carnegie Hall Royal Conservatory Achievement Program in the United States, based on the internationally respected graded curriculum system of The Royal Conservatory.


  • The Royal Conservatory celebrates its 125th anniversary year.
  • The Royal Conservatory is granted a Royal Patronage from His Majesty King Charles III (then as His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales) and was also selected to work with Prince's Charities Canada to expand Learning Through The Arts, The Conservatory's successful arts-based educational intervention program, into the United Kingdom.


  • The Royal Conservatory takes on sole responsibility for the management and administration of its program of music assessments in the United States, under the name The Royal Conservatory Music Development Program.


  • A research centre is established at The Royal Conservatory, dedicated to better understanding the impact of music education on brain development and cognition.


  • Lang Lang selects the curriculum of The Royal Conservatory to be the basis of his foundation's Keys of Inspiration program, which transforms young lives through music.
  • The Royal Conservatory launches RCM Teacher Certification, the first North American system of accreditation with embedded online professional development for music teachers who use the curriculum of The Royal Conservatory.


  • The Royal Conservatory of Music launches its first line of digital resources.


  • The Royal Conservatory launches Resounding! The Campaign for The Royal Conservatory by announcing a collective gift of $20 million from three couples: Michael and Sonja Koerner; Tim and Frances Price; and James and Louise Temerty. It is the largest gift in the history of the organization.


  • KUNÉ – Canada’s Global Orchestra, an initiative by The Royal Conservatory to celebrate the cultural diversity and pluralism of Canada, announces debut album and new management deal.
  • New research by The Royal Conservatory is published in the journal Music Perception and demonstrates the link between music education and early childhood language development.


  • Internationally acclaimed Koerner Hall celebrates its 10th anniversary and 1000th concert performance.



  • Remote Examinations are launched across North America, allowing The Royal Conservatory to deliver over 30,000 RCM Certificate Program exams.
  • The Conservatory’s season gala reimagined for the virtual world, The Resounding Concert, is enjoyed by over 40,000 viewers around the world.


  • The Royal Conservatory’s community school is renamed the Oscar Peterson School of Music to honour the legacy of the legendary jazz pianist and beloved alumnus and Honorary Fellow of The Royal Conservatory.
  • Internationally acclaimed pianist, composer, and RCM alumnus, Stewart Goodyear is appointed to a three-year term as The Royal Conservatory's inaugural Artist in Residence. 
  • The Glenn Gould School is one of 12 top music education institutions in the world to participate in the inaugural Sir Elton John Global Exchange Programme.
  • The Royal Conservatory offers more than 400,000 new books to 20,000 music teachers in Canada and the US
  • The ARC Ensemble (Artists of the Royal Conservatory) celebrates its 20th anniversary.
  • Robi Botos, acclaimed pianist and protégé of the late Oscar Peterson, is announced as The Royal Conservatory's inaugural Jazz Artist in Residence for a three-year term.


  • Alexander Brose becomes President & CEO Designate of The Royal Conservatory. He will succeed Dr. Peter Simon upon his retirement on August 31, 2024.
  • The Rebanks Family Fellowship and International Performance Residency Program celebrates its 10th anniversary. The Glenn Gould School’s unique one-year program mentors musical artists on the precipice of professional success.
  • The Chicago Symphony Orchestra performs two sold-out concerts in The Royal Conservatory’s Koerner Hall – its first Toronto performance in over 100 years.
  • Celebrated pianist, Jeremy Denk, announced as the Ihnatowycz Chair in Piano at The Glenn Gould School, only the second to be named to the role after the late Leon Fleisher.