We offer a stimulating and creative environment in which to study and to develop your musical creativity.
Our facilities for performance, sound recording and composition are outstanding.
Students benefit from private instrumental and vocal lessons from our team of visiting professional musicians, a wide range of classical, contemporary and world music ensembles, two ensembles in residence, workshops with high-profile music industry professionals and a constant flow of visiting musicians and composers who offer masterclasses and workshops.
City was ranked 15th in the UK for Music in the Guardian University Guide 2019.
In the 2018 National Student Survey, the Music Department received a 100% satisfaction rating in teaching, a 97% score for learning resources and an overall satisfaction score of 95%, placing us 5th in the UK for Music.
The Music Department awards a number of prizes each year, in recognition of outstanding achievement by students.
This includes prizes made possible by the generosity of the Worshipful Company of Musicians, the Worshipful Company of Cordwainers, the Robert Chalmers Memorial Bursary and JAMES (Joint Audio Media Education Support).
Worshipful Company of Musicians Prize for the Undergraduate Final Year Major Project in Music
Final Year Department of Music Prize for Major Project: Dissertation
Final Year Department of Music Prize for Major Project: Composition
Final Year Department of Music Prize for Major Project: Performance
Final Year Department of Music Prize for BSc Music, Sound and Technology Major Project
JAMES Richer Sounds Outstanding Achievement Award (BSc)
Final Year Department Prize for Overall Achievement and Contribution to the Department
2nd year UG prize for overall achievement
2nd year UG prize for contribution to the department
1st year UG prize for overall achievement
1st year UG prize for contribution to the department
(Prizes are not awarded in each category every year)
We also offer a prize for the best performance of a work by a female composer in the final recitals
Students are also nominated or invited to apply annually for the following bursaries:
Robert Chalmers Memorial Bursary (based on financial need): 3 awards of £1,000 each.
Worshipful Company of Cordwainers Bursary (based on financial need; students need to be strong performers to play at Cordwainers’ dinners): 2 awards of £2,000 each.
Here is a list of the 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.
The facilities at City include a flexible Performance Space, rehearsal rooms, an ensemble room, Balinese and Javanese Gamelan, the main Recording Studio (Audient), two recording/mix studios (Neve, SSL), three composition/surround studios and Mac Labs. Most studios are equipped with either 5.1 or 8.1 Genelec systems. All of the studios are equipped for sound editing, processing and mixing, and are equipped to deliver multi-track recording and mixing to a professional standard. As well as general software such as Logic, Sibelius and Pro Tools, these studios are equipped with Native Instruments Komplete, Ableton live, Max and IRCAM.
The recording studio is equipped to deliver multitrack recording and mixing to a professional standard. Following a recent refurbishment, the studio is now equipped with Protools HD (24/24), and an Audient 8024 36 channel in-line analogue console. For the more digitally minded, we also have Euphonix MC Control and MC mix.
The Mac pro is housed in a separate machine room, and has Logic, Protools HD, Native Instruments Komplete and VSL Sound Cube (full version) installed, as well as numerous stand alone effects plugins such as Altiverb. Outboard effects and processing include Maselec MLA-2, Drawmer 1969, Lexicon PCM80 and TC Finalizer.
All the studios at City University London have access to a large array of microphones, including Neumann U87, AKG414s and Soundfield ST450. Please use the download link below for a full list of microphones available.
The room itself is analyzed and acoustically treated to a high standard. It adjoins, and has line of sight with via control room windows, a vocal booth, a larger live room, and our large acoustically treated performance area. This enables recordings of anything, ranging from solo instruments, right up to large ensembles and orchestras. Download the equipment list.
Neve and SSL Rooms
The Neve (Genesys Black) and SSL (AWS 948) rooms are equipped to a very high standard with equipment used in many commercial recording studios. These rooms can be used for a variety of purposes, including mixing, mastering, multitrack recording and film and electroacoustic composition. The SSL room has a large array of outboard equipment and keyboards, which can by viewed by downloading the equipment lists.
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 equipped for sound editing, processing and mixing. As well as general software such as Logic, Sibelius and Protools, these studios are equipped with Native Instruments Komplete, Ableton Live, Max PSP and VSL (full version).
All rooms are spectrum analysed, soundproofed and acoustically treated to a very high standard. These rooms are intended for film scoring, electronic music composition and general pre/post production work.
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 a full-time technician. Technicians also provide specialist workshops for students in mixing and mastering techniques.
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.
Meet Cleo, a student at City who has gone on to be a sound engineer, working at some of the UK's most exciting festivals. Find out what she loved about her studies with us and discover our outstanding music facilities.
Celebrating Music education at City University London
2015 marked 40 years of music education at City. The first Music degree course was launched in 1975 with a small cohort of excited students. During the first few weeks of the new term, Queen’s ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ was released and the Sex Pistols played their first gig down the road at St. Martin’s School of Art.
From the outset the Department was concerned with music in contemporary multicultural and technological society, the approach was global and interdisciplinary, all set in the thriving musical life of London. Performance was at the heart of the Undergraduate curriculum. Nowadays everyone claims to be ‘global’ in reach and ‘interdisciplinary’ in outlook, so it is hard to imagine how groundbreaking this approach was, but City has always been a place of innovation and risk taking.
There have been many changes over the years. Flares have been replaced with skinny jeans, for example. UK Higher Education has become an altogether different place. In the academic year 1970-71, there were 621,000 students at University; while in 2007-08 there were 2.5 million students in Higher Education in the UK.
What has remained constant is the rigour of our Music degree programmes which nourish the mind and the soul, the care and attention we give to our students, the enthusiasm and success of our graduates, and our determination to ensure that Music is a vital part of a modern society.
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.
The Sound Studios at City, University of 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.
The Studios have also hosted a number of eminent visiting professors including (among others)
Iannis Xenakis (Gresham Professor of Music, 1975)
R. Murray Schafer
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.
“I enjoy the diversity of areas we can choose to study, from ethnomusicology through to classical, but also that I can really focus on my creative work for my major projects. I chose composition and performance.”
Anna, year 3 student
“The performance opportunities in the department are outstanding, both solo performance and the wide range of ensembles, workshops, concerts and other activities.”
Leo, year 3 student
“The studio facilities are amazing. They are the latest you could have. Plus, the fact that you can patch from any space, such as the gamelan room, into the recording studio makes for a great many possibilities when it comes to multi track recording.”
Catherine, year 2 student
“If you’re into composition, any genre, then you’re totally spoilt with a regular composition forum, world-leading visitors from film composers through to sound artist, and lots of opportunities to have your pieces workshopped by professionals. It’s been very inspiring.”
Vincent, year 3 student
Find out more about our alumni and what they think about studying Music at City, University of London.