Department of Music
REF 2014 results
Department of Music celebrates outstanding results in the Research Excellence Framework (REF) 2014.
Situated right at the heart of one of the world's greatest musical cities, the Department of Music combines world-leading research with exceptional teaching in performance, composition and musicology.
We offer excellence in everything we do. Our education quality is underpinned by outstanding lecturers, two of whom received National Teaching Fellowships in 2012 and 2013.
Our flourishing performance culture is sustained through the provision of private performance lessons from visiting professional musicians and from the exceptionally wide range of classical and world music ensembles we sustain. We nurture musical creativity in a rich variety of forms, enhanced through outstanding facilities for performance, sound recording and composition, and building on our longstanding international reputation for creative work in music, media and technology.
City was ranked 14th in the UK for Music in the Guardian University Guide 2017.
Department of Music at City University London
See what the Music Department at City University London has to offer.
The department offers a range of courses at undergraduate, postgraduate taught and research degree level.
See which course is right for you:
School of Arts & Social Sciences Postgraduate Scholarships 2016/17
The School of Arts and Social Sciences is delighted to offer a number of scholarships for postgraduate students. The scholarships are worth £2,000 towards tuition fees awarded on the basis of academic merit and applicants' personal statements.
The Department of Music is an internationally renowned, research-driven environment for musical study and practice. Our research outlook is both cosmopolitan and international.
The department is celebrating the confirmation of our status as an internationally pre-eminent centre of research excellence. The Research Excellence Framework (REF) 2014 rated 87% of our research as either 'world leading' (4*) or 'internationally excellent' (3*). This included 100% of our research impact being considered 'outstanding' (4*) or 'very considerable' (3*) and a research environment that was similarly assessed at 100% in being 'world leading' (4*) or 'internationally excellent' (3*) for its vitality and sustainability. The department has been placed 11th out of 84 submissions for the proportion of 4*+3* activity and is in the top 25% of all submissions nationally for Grade Point Average (GPA).
Clearly defined research identity based around three overlapping areas:
- Ethnomusicology, particularly of the urban environment
- The interface between music and technology, notably in relation to music and other media
- The various relationships between musical scholarship and performance.
This overarching research profile is evidenced not only through individual and collective staff activities but also in the nature and scope of various PhD research projects and has been further vertically integrated within the department through the creation of aligned MA pathways, from which several of our PhD students have progressed. Our international recognition has been achieved through a very wide range of publications, performances, recordings, broadcasts and conference presentations, to which all members of staff have contributed.
We have a large and diverse research community. All students benefit from participation in a weekly research seminar series, attended by both staff and student researchers.
Our postgraduate community is large, eclectic and distinguished, with around 35-40 students pursuing doctoral research at any one time.
The Middle East and Central Asia Music Forum has been running since 2007 and is open to researchers, students and anyone interested in the music and culture of the region. In the spirit of fostering dialogue and interdisciplinarity, we hope that the issues discussed at the forum will be of interest to a broad audience, including musicologists, ethnomusicologists and other researchers in the arts, humanities and social sciences. In addition, we welcome those working on other aspects of Middle Eastern and Central Asian culture broadly speaking (dance, visual arts, media, film, literature, etc.). The Forum convenors are Dr Laudan Nooshin (City University London) and Dr Rachel Harris (SOAS).
The most recent Middle East and Central Asia Music Forum took place on Friday 13th May 2016. The next meeting will be held at the School of Oriental and African studies, University of London, on Monday 7th November 2016. A schedule will be posted in due course.
Take a look at past Middle East and Central Asia Music Forum events. For further information on this event please contact Dr Laudan Nooshin.
The Music Department at City University London has been awarded 50k funding from the 10th Anniversary AHRC Cultural Engagement Fund. This scheme funds one or more collaborative projects to support the engagement of arts and humanities research with wider cultural and civic contexts. It particularly seeks to fund recently completed doctoral graduates, and so aims to to support the broader career development of these graduates, particularly in relation to work with non-academic partners to support the impact of arts and humanities research.
The Cultural Engagement Fund projects at City are as follows:
Professor Stephen Cottrell is working with Dr Jocelyn Howell on sources in the Boosey and Hawkes archive. The project uses 3D printer technology to provide lost or damaged component parts for older musical instruments for which such parts are no longer available.
Dr Alexander Lingas is working with Dr Dimitrios Skrekas to develop a study day on the teaching of Byzantine music in diaspora involving academic musicologists from the Department of Music at City University and its Erasmus partner, the Department of Music Studies of the University of Athens, members of the choir Cappella Romana, instructors and students of the School of Byzantine Music of the Archdiocese of Thyateira and Great Britain, and interested members of the general public.
Dr Laudan Nooshin is working with Dr Andrew Pace and the British Library on the archiving and dissemination of the Peter Kennedy Paper Archive. Peter Kennedy was one of the most important collectors of music traditions from the British Isles. He started recording in the early 1950s, work that instigated the presentation of folk music and traditions on the BBC. In just over 50 years he amassed a collection of audio and video recordings amounting to approximately 1500 hours, plus several hundred photographs as negatives and prints and cabinets full of paperwork (correspondence, contracts with artists, etc.).
Between February and May 2016, Andrew Pace worked on an AHRC Cultural Engagement Fund project with City University London in collaboration with the British Library to sort, catalogue and promote an important collection of British and Irish folk music. Peter Kennedy’s archive contains thousands of field recordings, photographs and paper files that relate primarily to his time recording traditional performers throughout the UK and Ireland during the 1950s. Kennedy (1922–2006) stands out as one of the most influential collectors of the period, whose personal archive continues to generate a great deal of interest from academic researchers, practising musicians and record labels. The principal output for this project has been the development of a new website which provides access to all of the material from this collection that has been digitised over the past few years.
An interactive interface has been applied to images of Kennedy’s own field recording reports, encouraging users to explore his collection and discover recordings and photographs in a far more engaging way than is possible through traditional text-based catalogue queries. This project also takes an important step toward better integrating the needs of academic and general audiences on one platform – a useful experiment in archive engagement in its own right. A feature article in English Dance and Song magazine coincides with the launch of the website at the beginning of June.
Dr Laudan Nooshin
Here is a list of the academic staff who work in the Department of Music. You can find out more about each member of staff, including their latest publications and their contact details by following the links below.
- Dr Newton Armstrong, Lecturer in Composition
- Professor Stephen Cottrell, Professor of Music
- Dr Aaron Einbond, Lecturer in Music
- Dr Alexander Lingas, Reader in Music
- Dr Miguel Mera, Reader and Head of Department
- Dr Laudan Nooshin, Reader, MA Programme Director, Director of Music Research Degrees
- Ian Pace, Lecturer
- Professor Rhian Samuel, Emeritus Professor
- Dr Shay Loya, Lecturer in Musicology
- Professor Denis Smalley, Emeritus Professor
Professor Stephen Cottrell
City Sound Studios
The composition studios include three surround (8.1/ 5.1) studios, one of which is dedicated to film and live electronics work, and three stereo composition studios. All of the studios are equipped for sound editing, processing and mixing. As well as general software such as Logic, Sibelius and Pro Tools, these studios are equipped with Native Instruments Komplete.
All rooms are spectrum analysed, soundproofed and acoustically treated to a very high standard. Recent work created by students and staff in the composition studios has included multichannel compositions, music for dance, data sonifications, works for instruments and live electronics, digital instrument and software design, interactive audiovisual environments, and Foley, dubbing, sound design and music scoring for film.
The studios and Performance Space are managed and maintained by full-time technical director Will Goring, and part-time technician Rick Campion. Rick also provides specialist workshops for students in mixing and mastering techniques.
The recording studio is equipped to deliver multi-track recording and mixing to a professional standard.
Module: Sound Recording and Studio Techniques
The undergraduate elective module 'Sound Recording and Studio Techniques' allows BMus students to learn how to use the studio for both classical and popular multi-track recording and mixing. The module is delivered by professional sound engineers Will Goring and Paul Newis.
Music recorded and mixed by students
Title: White Noise (Disclosure Cover)
Producer, Keys & Vocals: Matteo Bragoli
Drums: Thomas Aston Bass: David Thompson
Established in 1975
The Sound Studios at City University London were established by Simon Emmerson (now Professor of Music, Technology and Innovation at De Montfort University) at the foundation of City's Music Department in 1975. Since then the Studios have played a major role in the development of electronic and electroacoustic musics, producing generations of leading composers and researchers in these fields.
Since their inauguration the studios have moved and undergone refurbishment several times. In 1990 Peter Gabriel formally opened the newly constructed studios in the College Building, and in 2007 the studios were refurbished once again to their current high specification.
Professor Emmerson served as Director of the Studios from 1975-2004. Denis Smalley joined City in 1994 and served as Director of the Studios from 2004 until his retirement as Emeritus Professor in 2009.
Full-time faculty members (past and present)
- Dr Laurie Radford, (2005-8)
- Dr Katharine Norman (2009-10)
- Dr Newton Armstrong (2009-present)
- Dr Miguel Mera (2009-present)
- Dr Diana Salazar (2013-2015)
The Studios have also hosted a number of eminent visiting professors including (among others)
- Iannis Xenakis (Gresham Professor of Music, 1975)
- John Chowning
- Francis Dhomont
- Jonty Harrison
- R. Murray Schafer
- Karlheinz Stockhausen
City's heritage in electronic & electroacoustic music
The studios remain integral to many of City's offerings in music, at both undergraduate and postgraduate levels. In recent years the Department of Music's strong heritage in electronic and electroacoustic music has expanded to encompass a broad range of contemporary practices, including: composition for moving images, live and interactive electronics, interdisciplinary and intermedia work, and music combining instrumental and electronic resources. City's BMus, MA Music, PhD and staff composers continue to make an impact in contemporary music and sound art at national and international levels.
PhD Alumni of the City Sound Studios
Numerous postgraduate research students who worked in the City Sound Studios during their doctoral studies have gone on to receive recognition in prestigious international contemporary music competitions and festivals. Many have experienced substantial success as composers, sound artists, writers and/or software developers, and several now hold research and teaching posts in academic institutions around the world.
Through the course of the academic year, the Department hosts public lunchtime concerts to give professional experience to students, and also a range of evening recitals.
A summer festival takes place at the end of the academic year, in which all students taking solo performance, and many others, participate.
The undergraduate course also includes regular performance workshops led by professional musicians, in which students participate through both performing and peer feedback, to build a supportive and co-operative culture and to help familiarise students with the experience of performing in front of other musicians.
All undergraduate students participate in departmental ensembles
- African Drumming and Dance
- Balinese Gamelan
- Chamber Music
- City University Chamber Choir
- Javanese Gamelan
- Jazz Workshop
- Latin-American Music Ensemble
- Middle Eastern Music Ensemble
Students are also encouraged to form and/or direct ensembles themselves. These have included a City University Big Band, a Contemporary Music Ensemble and an Opera Group.
As a result of the employability skills gained throughout their degree, City University London Music graduates have an outstanding record of securing work in professions including:
- Music management and administration
- Music technology
- The music industry
Music students at the University will develop interrelated skills that are valued in a range of careers. At the Department of Music you will develop skills to pursue virtually any career inside or outside the Music industry:
- By studying performance, students develop the discipline of regular, focused practice and the ability to engage an audience.
- Work in ensembles develops skills as a team player. In undertaking independent and group research, students demonstrate motivation, project planning skills, and the determination to achieve their goals.
- Through coursework assignments students refine the ability to express their ideas, find original perspectives, and critically evaluate information and materials.
Employers respect the unique combination of practical and theoretical knowledge, social and 'soft' skills, and the intellectual rigour that marks out City University London Music graduates.
- Javier Alvarez, Composer
- Sue Bickley, Opera Singer
- Misty Brunton, Primary Teacher at Stoke Newington Primary School
- William Byers, Head of Music at Camden School for Girls
- Tony Castro, Musical Teatre Director and Musical Director
- Laura Chiplin, Venue Manager at the Barbican Centre
- Vicky Corley-Smith, VCS Management, Manages trumpeter Alison Balsom
- Celeste Cronje-Richardson, Principal Foresound School of Music
- Fiona Emsden, Head of music at Jewish Free School
- Richard Evans, House Engineer/Composer/Arranger at Peter Gabriel's Real World Studios
- Justine Fancy, PR Manager at MAMA & Company
- Peter Fender, Conductor and Composer
- Harriet Hale, Singer/songwriter, Director and Founder of Chocolate Box Music
- Clare Hammond, Concert pianist
- Rachel Hayward Steel, Pan soloist and Arranger
- Jacob Harewood, Music Therapist
- Maurice Horhut, Boogie-Woogie Pianist
- Dmitros Karydis and Petros Moschos, Piano Duo Anthithesis
- Dave O'Higgins, Jazz saxophonist
- Bill (Belinda) Jones Folk, singer/musician; BBC Folk Musician of the Year
- Gabrielle Messeder, Co-ordinator, Music Harvest, Ramallah,
- M.J. Cole, DJ and record producer
- Mark Lockett, Composer, performer
- Michael Morris, Software Developer, Soundmagic audio plugins
- Hannah Norbury, Production Assistant BBC Radio 3
- Hilda Paredes, Composer
- Nye Parry, Composer
- Alex Poots, Artistic Director of the Manchester International Festival
- Ross Purves, Head of Music Luton 6th Form College
- Sophie Ransby, Director of Gamelan Programme at South Bank Centre
- Helen Reid, Concert Pianist
- Lloyd Russell, Chief Examiner for GCE Music Technology A Level.
- Matthew Scott, Head of Music at the National Theatre and resident composer; theatre composer
- Meliz Serman, Head of Music at Davenant Foundation School
- Luke Shrewsbury, Sound Designer and Sound Editor at Acamar Films
- Martin Stig Anderson, BAFTA nominated videogame composer and winner at the Interactive Achievement Awards of the Outstanding Achievement in Sound Design
- Rachel Swindells, Hallé Gamelan and Community Projects Officer
- Jo Thomas Composer, winner of the Golden Nica at the Prix Ars Electronica
- Paul Tkachenko, Multi-instrumentalist and tuba player
- James Welburn, Senior International Operations Executive at the Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music
News, events and recent research
Alumnus creates ‘world’s first all-in-one music history app’
Drew Schweppe says his time at City was “critical” to the creation of his Informusic app...