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Music

Department ensembles

All undergraduate music students participate in our departmental ensembles. Students from other departments are also very welcome to join, as an enjoyable and sociable extra-curricular activity. Please contact the Head of Performance Studies, Dr Ian Pace, with a few details about your musical experience and an indication of which ensembles you are interested in. Our Chamber Orchestra and Chamber Choir require an informal and friendly audition; many of our other ensembles require no previous experience.

African Dance and Drumming: Barak Schmool and Laurie Blundell

Rehearses on Mondays at 6:30-8:30pm in the Performance Space & ALG13

This ensemble focusses on traditional and modern African music and dance. Students will play an array of percussion instruments, and we recommend this ensemble to anyone interested in playing jazz to underpin their practice.

Balinese and Javanese Gamelan: Andy Channing

Javanese Gamelan rehearses on Thursdays at 2-4pm in the Gamelan Room (ALG26)
Balinese Gamelan rehearses on Tuesdays at 4:30-6:30pm in the Gamelan Room (ALG26)

Gamelan is the name for a tuned percussion orchestra from Indonesia comprising bronze gongs, gong-chimes, drums and metallophones which produce rich and mesmerising sounds. No experience is necessary. City has two types of gamelan, the gentler Javanese style (recommended for beginners) and the more energetic Balinese style. This ensembles are run by Indonesian music expert Andy Channing.

Chamber Choir: Tim Hooper

Rehearses on Wednesdays at 5:30-7:30pm in the Performance Space

The choir is a group of around twenty musicians, some of whom have much choral experience and others who have little. All are welcome to sing with us, though there will be a short simple singing test, mainly to check which part you should sing. The choir performs two concerts a year, usually in a local church. Recent concerts have included Vivaldi Gloria, Bruckner Motets, Madrigals, Britten Ceremony of Carols and other Christmas music.

Chamber Orchestra: Tim Hooper

Rehearses during the last week of May 2019

The City Chamber Orchestra has around 20 members. It performs two concerts a year with a burst of rehearsals in the three days leading up to these concerts. Recent performances have included Mozart Symphony No. 40, Schubert Symphony No. 5, Elgar Chanson De Matin and Nuit and Debussy Petite Suite. Entry is by audition, held at the start of the Autumn Term.

City, University of London Experimental Ensemble (CUEE): Tullis Rennie

Rehearses on Thursdays at 4-6pm in the Performance Space

CUEE are a large group of students making music together through free improvisation, interpretation of graphic, text and video scores, and devised performances. The ensemble is open to all interested participants: vocalists and performers on any instrument, laptops and electronic devices plus any other sound-making objects you wish to play. CUEE recently performed a full-length concert at London's IKLECTIK, including the premiere of a new work written especially for the ensemble by composer and improvisor Cath Roberts. The group also worked with composer Michael Finnissy for an event marking his 70th birthday celebrations, and have also performed the work of Pauline Oliveros with Seth Cluett.

Civitas: Alexander Lingas

Rehearses on Mondays at 6:30-8:30pm in AG09

Civitas is a vocal ensemble devoted to the performance of the Early Musics of Eastern and Western Europe, including both plainchant (Latin, Byzantine, and Slavic) and polyphony. The group is led by BMus Programme Director Alexander Lingas, also known internationally as the founding Director of the professional vocal ensemble Cappella Romana: www.cappellaromana.org.

Jazz and Improvisation Ensemble: Shirley Smart

Rehearses on Thursdays at 6:30-8:30pm in the Performance Space & ALG13

This ensemble will look at a range of approaches to improvisation. There will be a significant focus on jazz improvisation, but also free improvisation, world music traditions, and classical improvisation. The aim of the ensemble is both to equip students with the techniques and knowledge to be able to adapt to the variety of improvisational contexts which occur in contemporary musical life, as well as develop skills within a particular area. There is a focus on ear-training, listening and reacting within a group, and discussion of material from an analytical and practical point of view. Attendance at outside events is also encouraged and information will be made available.

Balkan Ensemble: Gundula Gruen

Rehearses on Wednesdays at 3-5pm in AG09 & ALG13

The Balkan ensemble is a lively group which performs music from the Balkans and surrounding countries, including from Bulgaria, Macedonia, Serbia and Romania. The music is initially learnt by ear and sheet music is provided later. The group is open to instrumentalists and singers of any kind and style, from intermediate level to advanced. Apart from learning the music, including ornamentation, accompaniments and style, this group provides excellent aural training and basic improvisation.

Field Recording Ensemble: Claudia Molitor

Rehearses at Thursdays at 2-4pm in the Performance Space

The Field recording ensemble will explore field recording practices in all their glorious variety. We will look at examples from artists, but most of all you will be creating your own work in small groups, creating five projects, for example an audio-documentary or an imaginary environment, throughout the year. During many of these sessions we will be outdoors, in the field, no matter what the weather is like. No experience necessary. The ensemble is run by composer and City faculty member Claudia Molitor.