The Royal Belfast Academical Institution

Music at Inst

Performing Music

There are enormous numbers of boys involved in musical activities at Inst. The fact that these activities are voluntary gives ample testimony to the loyalty and commitment which the Music Department inspires. Spectacular performances, greeted by (the now customary) standing ovations, represent highlights of the school year, and of many pupils’ school career.



A choir of 120 voices would be huge for most schools, but for a Boys’ school it is unprecedented. The age-range is 12-18 (the younger boys providing the upper voices - Treble and Alto - for the older ones – Tenor and Bass). In this way, the juniors can perform alongside the seniors at all the major events of the year - wonderful experience for them.

The repertoire is as wide-ranging as is possible, from the great classics (this year Haydn, Mozart and Britten), to more contemporary styles (Radiohead, U2 and Queen).

The standard is extremely high, and the Choir has made numerous television and radio appearances. They have also won many awards, including the UTV School Choir of the Year.



The Inst Orchestra is also a very large group (between 70 and 80 players) and combines junior and senior pupils. All the music is specially arranged by Mr Bolton to cater for different abilities, enabling the younger boys to perform alongside the older and more experienced ones, and to learn from them. In this way, we find that they develop much more quickly as musicians (and as people).

The repertoire is as wide as that of the Choir, and the standard is similarly high, resulting in many trophies at Music Festivals over the years.


Jazz Band

This is an elite group of jazz specialists, directed by Mrs Harshaw, and has become one of the highlights in our concert programmes. They have also won many festival trophies and are much in demand for outside engagements.


Music and Drama

Inst has a thriving tradition of stage musicals (often in collaboration with Victoria College). The music for these productions is directed by Mrs Harshaw. Most recently, she composed music for a highly acclaimed performance of Macbeth and was the musical director for an adaptation of Willy Russell's Blood Brothers.



There are many other smaller ensembles in our thriving Music Department, including a String Group, Clarinet and Saxophone Quartets, Recorder Ensemble etc.


21 2024
Year 10 Cara-Friend Anti-bullying Workshops
24 2024
Non-uniform Day
27 2024
Normal School Day
29 2024
Scouts DoE Year 11 Silver Expedition
College Square East, Belfast, Co. Antrim, BT1 6DL
Tel: 028 90 240461
© 2024 The Royal Belfast Academical Institution