Prof. Dr. Jeffery Sharkey

Principal, Royal Conservatoire of Scotland

Pianist and composer Jeffrey Sharkey became Principal of the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland in September 2014, leading Scotland’s national conservatoire of dance, drama, music, production and screen. During his tenure the RCS has grown its global reach, ranking in the top 10 of the world in QS performing arts rankings for 5 out of the last 6 years, including number 3 in 2021. As principal, he is equally concerned with developing pathways for young Scots and is a contributor to the Music for Scotland Manifesto. Jeffrey is on the governing boards of the ABRSM and the Cumnock Tryst and is a council member for the Assocation of European Conservatoires. In addition to his duties as principal, he teaches chamber music at the conservatoire and maintains his performance collaborations with both teachers and with students. He became a British citizen in 1993 and his career spans work in both the UK and the USA.

Jeffrey previously served as Director of Johns Hopkins University’s Peabody Institute from 2006-2014, where he helped to revitalise the curriculum and start a number of successful programmes with the colleges of Arts and Science, Engineering, Business, Education and the School of Medicine. Jeffrey served on the Board of Singapore’s Yong Siew Toh Conservatory, an institution founded by the Peabody Institute, contributing to its strategic direction and helping it become one of the most important conservatoires in Asia. He also developed key partnerships in Korea, Taiwan and China. In Baltimore, Jeffrey started free programmes in music and dance to reach out to the wider community. These were connected to key arts organisations in the city and created pathways for talented youngsters to receive support throughout their studies. He also created the Academy programmes within the Preparatory to serve future professional musicians. Before Peabody, he was Dean of the Cleveland Institute of Music.

Jeffrey lived in the United Kingdom for 13 years, serving as director of music at the Purcell School in London and head of academic music at Wells Cathedral School where he started the school’s composition department. He was a founding member of the Pirasti Piano Trio, which recorded with ASV Records in the United Kingdom and toured throughout Europe and the United States. He maintained his performing profile in the United States, and Europe coaching chamber music as a faculty member and in master classes and summer festivals throughout the country. He performed with the Baltimore Symphony and collaborated with members of the Cleveland, Orion, and Cavani Quartets. Jeffrey Sharkey is a graduate of the Manhattan School of Music where he was the conservatory’s first double major in piano and composition. He earned a Master of Music degree in composition from Yale University and an MPhil from the University of Cambridge. His teachers have included pianists John Browning, Boris Berman, Constance Keene and Peter Frankl and composers Aaron Copland, Jacob Druckman, Earle Brown, John Corigliano and Robin Holloway.