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Faculty of Music


For me, Cambridge is perhaps the most mercurial of places, and, in my mind, continues to be even after leaving; it is equal parts challenging, exciting, diminutive, expansive, and so many other things. As an eighteen-year-old who made a rather late decision to switch to the Music Tripos, I was both keen to validate my choice and apprehensive about all the things I was sure I didn’t know. I was greatly pleased to find that many of the questions I was beginning to ask organically were explored thoroughly during the course of my degree, be that getting under the skin of sixteenth-century counterpoint or questions pertaining to what I later happily found out was the existing and burgeoning field of performance studies. What was most satisfying to me above all was the way that the combination of the varied electives of the Tripos and my extra-curricular activities (primarily in St John’s College Choir) fostered a ‘cross-fertilised’ approach to my musical development, an approach which sometimes manifested itself in delightfully fortuitous ways. I was glad to have the opportunity to both extend myself further in existing technical strengths of counterpoint, tonal composition and analysis, and be challenged in less familiar, discursive realms of historical papers, the latter of which were often taught by the very same people who were at the forefront of their respective academic disciplines. 

Although I now earn my living primarily in a field outside of music, I strongly feel that the academic constitution I developed in Cambridge continues to serve me well both in my professional life and personal endeavours. What is invaluable above all is the desire to bring a reflective and critical apparatus to any topic in an almost subject-agnostic manner. And all this is to say hardly anything about the extraordinary relationships I forged and continue to cherish with friends, colleagues and mentors who are all fantastic at what they do; I simply can’t think of a better place where it could have all started. 

Gopal Kambo read music at St John’s College, 2015-18, and subsequently earned an MPhil in 2020. During that time, he was a choral scholar in the College Choir, regularly touring internationally, broadcasting and recording. Now, alongside working in finance in London, he maintains a career in singing, appearing as an oratorio soloist and consort singer as regularly as possible. In 2022, he was privileged to sing at the Platinum Jubilee and Funeral Services of HRH Queen Elizabeth II with the Choir of the Chapel Royal, St James’s Palace.