After years of harmonious informal collaboration, the Royal College of Music and Royal Holloway's music department have announced a strategic partnership, writes Tony Tysome.
An agreement to be signed next week by RCM director Dame Janet Ritterman and Royal Holloway principal Stephen Hill is expected to open new opportunities for students and staff at both institutions.
Initially, it will mean shared supervision of doctoral students and will allow Royal Holloway music undergraduates to study with RCM professors.
A joint MMus in performance was being designed to combine "the highest standards of musical achievement with some of the most innovative areas of musicological scholarship", a spokeswoman said.
Dame Janet said: "There have been many collaborations (between the two institutions) at an individual level for years, but now that will happen automatically as it becomes part of course provision. We will be able to jointly develop the masters field in such a way that we can offer a balance between performance and academic study in more varied ways."
There were no plans for the two institutions to move any closer together, although Dame Janet did not rule this out in the longer term.
The RCM, the only English music conservatoire that can award its own degrees under its royal charter, is celebrating its 120th year. Its alumni include conductor Sir Colin Davis, flautist James Galway and opera diva Dame Joan Sutherland.
Royal Holloway's music department was the highest rated in the University of London in last year's research assessment exercise. It was one of only three to receive a 5* rating, in 1996 and in 2001.
Alumni include opera stars Dame Felicity Lott and Susan Bullock, and BBC Radio 3 controller Roger Wright.