Double bassist Graham Mitchell takes on the role of head of strings, while Catrin Finch has been appointed head of harp

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Graham Mitchell (© Christopher Walker), Catrin Finch (© Jennie Caldwell)

The Royal Academy of Music has announced Catrin Finch as head of harp and Graham Mitchell as head of strings from the 2022/23 academic year. 

Finch succeeds Karen Vaughan, the LSO’s former co-principal harpist, and Graham succeeds cellist Jo Cole. Both Cole and Vaughan have performed their roles as head of department since 2010.

Mitchell is a highly sought-after double bass player, chamber musician and teacher. An Academy alumnus, Mitchell stayed on as a professor of double bass following his graduation. In recent years, he has held the position of senior professor of double bass at the Academy and was appointed as Serge Koussevitzky professor of double bass in October 2021.

Finch, also an Academy alumna, was Royal Harpist to HRH the Prince of Wales, from 2000-04 and has appeared with many of the world’s top orchestras. She has recorded for most of the major international recording companies, including Universal Records, Deutsche Grammophon, EMI and Sony Classical, both solo and with notable artists such as Bryn Terfel, Sir James Galway and Julian Lloyd Webber. She demonstrates versatility in different musical genres which range from solo classical recitals and concertos through to crossover mix and her own 14-piece band CF47. Finch is committed to promoting the harp, and classical music in general, to a new and wide audience. 

The Academy’s principal, Jonathan Freeman-Attwood, said: ‘These are two wonderful new appointments. Catrin Finch is one of the world’s great harpists, an extraordinarily committed advocate for her instrument and hugely dedicated to the mentoring and guiding of young musicians. 

‘I am also delighted that Graham Mitchell will be continuing the outstanding work of Jo Cole. Graham is another renowned instrumentalist and a passionate teacher who is deeply committed to the rounded development and wellbeing of students. 

‘Both new heads are committed to the crucial task of identifying talented young musicians from all backgrounds, and offering students the skills and experiences that will prepare them for a fast-changing professional environment.’