All undergraduate students participate in departmental ensembles:
African Dance and Drumming: Barak Schmool and Laurie Blundell
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
Chamber Choir: Tim Hooper
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
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
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.
Jazz and Improvisation Ensemble: Shirley Smart
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.
Latin Ensemble: Barak Schmool and Laurie Blundell
This ensemble covers one or more areas of Afro-Latin music. All instruments are welcome and previous participation in the African Dance and Drumming ensemble is required. The ensemble is for 2nd and 3rd year students only.
Students are also encouraged to form and direct ensembles themselves. These have included a City Big Band, a Contemporary Music Ensemble, a Balkan Ensemble and an Opera Group.
Balkan Ensemble: Gundula Gruen
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.