Composition at City
Instruments and Vocal
Students gain experience of the composition process, from developing material, creating scores and parts, to working with professional musicians in rehearsal to realise a personalised, imaginative engagement with musical materials in a range of contemporary compositional techniques.
Students develop their understanding of sound as musical material and learn a range of studio techniques through stages of the composition process, from capturing sound materials to the final forming and diffusion of a composition using the finest professional studios and equipment. Explore our studio facilities.
Students engage their creative imagination and discover new approaches to music-image synergy, learning to generate fluent, coherent and imaginative soundtracks that are dramatically, structurally and gesturally appropriate from top professionals in the field.
Visitors and Industry Sessions
We regularly invite practitioners from a diversity of backgrounds, including acoustic and electronic music and moving image composition, as well as improvisation, sound design, production and management to present and talk about their work though lectures, masterclasses and industry sessions. Visitors have included:
Marko Ciciliani is a composer, audiovisual artist and researcher based in Austria. The focus of his work lies in the combination of instruments and electronics, often in audiovisual contexts.
Tony Cousins started his career as a musician. He became a cutting engineer in 1980 at the Townhouse before becoming a fully-fledged audio mastering engineer when he co-founded Metropolis Mastering.
Evelyn Ficarra is a composer and sound artist. Her work finds expression across a range of forms including music theatre, multi media, installation, dance, film and the concert hall.
Lee Gamble is a London-based producer and DJ who first emerged from the jungle scene. He is a founding member of the CYRK collective.
Bryn Harrison is a composer whose recent compositional output has been largely concerned with the exploration of musical time through the use of recursive musical forms which challenge our perceptions of time and space.
Miles James is a producer and recording artist from London.
Mica Levi is a London based artist, music producer and composer. She has written the film scores for Pablo Larrain’s Jackie and Jonathan Glazer’s Under the Skin.
Dario Marinelli is an Italian film composer. Marianelli has collaborated with the director Joe Wright on Pride & Prejudice (2005), Atonement (2007), The Soloist (2009), Anna Karenina (2012) and Darkest Hour (2017).
Úna Monaghan is a harper, composer, and sound artist from Belfast, Ireland. Her recent work has combined traditional music with bronze sculpture, sound art and movement sensors.
Mari Ohno is an artist and composer based in London and Tokyo. She creates sound installations and performances by experimenting with interdisciplinary materials and approaches.
Students are given many opportunities to workshop their music with professional ensembles-in-residence EXAUDI and Plus Minus Ensemble as well as a renowned list of international visitors. Find out more about our ensembles-in-residence and visiting performers.
Concert Series and Summer Sounds Festival
Our weekly public concert series and annual three-week City Summer Sounds Festival allow students to experience a wide variety of music presented by leading musicians from London and beyond. Each year exceptional instrumental, studio, and moving image work by students is featured in public performance during City Summer Sounds, reaching a wide audience from inside and outside the university. Find out about what’s on.
Our composition staff is made up of active professionals with vibrant international artistic careers, including two British Composer Award winners, a Guggenheim Fellow, and an award-winning composer for feature films and BBC television. Learn more about their music.
Ensembles in residence and guests
The Music Department hosts two world-leading ensembles-in-residence for performances, seminars, and student composition workshops: The renowned vocal ensemble EXAUDI and the multi-instrumental ensemble Plus Minus. The department’s in-house ensemble is the City Pierrot Ensemble, drawn from a range of leading professional performers who also teach at City. It was founded in 2017 and is led by artistic director Ian Pace.
In addition, each year we invite an international list of visiting ensembles and artists to lead composition workshops with students, including:
- line upon line
- Two New Duo
- The Riot Ensemble
- Manuel Zuria and Dario Calderone
- Marco Fusi and Mark Knoop
- Cath Roberts
Visiting composers and sound artists
Our innovative research centre SPARC (Sound Practice And Compostiion @ City) also hosts international visiting artists who lead research seminars, guest lectures, masterclasses, and performances including: