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About City

Performance at City


The BMus Programme at City is unique amongst leading university departments in London and surrounding areas for the central focus upon performance. We guarantee instrumental or vocal lessons during all three years of undergraduate study for those who have taken an audition or have Grade 7 or equivalent qualification. We also offer seven competitive scholarships of £2000 per annum, available upon entry for the most accomplished performers.

The BMus features a package of professional development including individual one-to-one tuition, a wide range of ensembles, regular performance workshops, masterclasses (recently given by such musicians as Martin Roscoe, Susanne Stanzeleit and Carla Rees), as well as an enviable range of weekly lunchtime and evening recitals. Various of our recent graduates have gone on to win major prizes and are developing professional performance careers.

All students receive 20 hours of individual tuition in their first year, and then depending upon whether they take single or double performance thereafter, either 12 or 20 hours per year. An excellent Performance Space is available for giving concerts, and wider events are organised off-campus.

Performance at City incorporates multiple traditions and genres. We have a natural strength in the study of the performance of Western classical music, but equally in jazz, in contemporary classical and experimental music, in early vocal music, and performance with electronics.

We do not consider the activities of making and thinking about music to be separate realms. Instead, we seek to integrate these activities as far as possible at all levels, with performance options available in many modules, as well as lecture recitals and supervised performance projects. City is an ideal choice for intelligent and versatile performers who also want to benefit from an intellectually vibrant and cross-cultural environment.

Several members of our permanent faculty are active professional performers 

Dr Ian Pace, Reader in Music and Head of Performance, is a world-renowned virtuoso pianist specialising in contemporary music, notorious for his performances of works involving extreme pianistic challenges. He has played in over 25 countries, recorded over 30 CDs, and premiered over 300 solo works. He was recently the feature of a major BBC Radio 3 two-hour feature on the programme ‘Hear and Now’.

Dr Alexander Lingas, Professor of Music  is also founder and director of Cappella Romana, a vocal ensemble devoted to early and contemporary sacred music. Known especially for Byzantine chant and Russian Orthodox choral music, they have released over 20 recordings and tour regularly in Europe and North America.

Also Dr Tullis Rennie, Senior Lecturer and BMus Programme Director, is a composer, improvising trombonist, electronic musician, and field recordist, who has appeared as trombonist at numerous venues and tours internationally with award-winning Barcelona-based performance group Insectotròpics.

Dr Claudia Molitor , Senior Lecturer in Music, is a composer, artist and performer whose work draws on traditions of music and sound art but also extends to video, performance and fine art practices.

Dr Erik Nyström, Lecturer in Music, is a composer who performs electroacoustic and computer music internationally, exploring multichannel spatial sound and generative algorithms.

Students are taught by top London-based teachers

All our instrumental teachers are themselves active performers and also work at a range of conservatoires. The following are just a few of them. We offer top solo tuition in all traditions and genres.

Madeleine Mitchell is a leading international violinist, who has performed as soloist and chamber musician in 50 countries, including with major orchestras. She has made many recordings, some of which were nominated for BBC Music Awards and collaborated with composers including James MacMillan and Michael Nyman. She is also a Professor at the Royal College of Music.

David Campbell (clarinet) was invited to join the Fires of London by composer Peter Maxwell Davies. In the intervening decades he has forged a career as a soloist, chamber musician and teacher and has played in over 40 countries. As well as his teaching at City University David is Artistic Director of Musicfest Aberystwyth.

Fini Bearman is an acclaimed jazz vocalist. Her album Burn the Boat received 4 star reviews from Jazzwise and The Guardian and had extensive airplay on BBC Radio 2, 3 and Jazz FM. Fini has performed at venues including Glastonbury, Ronnie Scotts, and The Barbican. Fini also teaches at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama.


City also has an in-house ensemble, the City Pierrot Ensemble, drawn from our instrumental and vocal faculty. It was founded in 2017 with major performances of Arnold Schoenberg’s Pierrot lunaire and Michael Finnissy’s Mr Punch as part of a special event dedicated to the commedia dell’arte. Led by artistic director Ian Pace, the ensemble have also given concerts of the Second Viennese School and Debussy, and in 2018-19 are collaborating for a second time with singer and composer Alwynne Pritchard and performing Olivier Messiaen’s Quatour pour la fin du temps.

Also in residence at City are the new music ensemble Plus-Minus and the renowned vocal ensemble EXAUDI.

City is well-known for its wide and eclectic range of ensembles, in which students participate during all three years of study. At present these include Orchestra, Choir, African Drumming and Dance, Javanese Gamelan, Balinese Gamelan, Jazz and Improvisation, Balkan Ensemble, Experimental Ensemble and Field Recording, many of which have also undertaken concerts off-campus and abroad.