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ARCHIVE MMus in Choral Studies

The University of Cambridge and its world-famous collegiate choirs provide an exceptional environment for aspiring singers, conductors and organists to develop the practical skills and scholarly expertise valuable for a professional career.  Students on this newly expanded ten-month course follow a specialist pathway in either Choral Conducting, Vocal Performance or Organ Performance and will have the opportunity to observe and work with College choirs, receiving instruction from leading Cambridge performers and academics as well as from an impressive roster of internationally acclaimed visiting artists including Voces8.


Choral Conducting

Ideal for those wishing to study choral conducting in a liturgical environment
Tuition is provided in masterclass, seminar and one-to-one format, covering a wide variety of topics such as gesture, technique, interpretation, score preparation, working with boys' and girls' voices, rehearsal skills. Students work with a dedicated MMus choir under professional guidance, and observe all the principal Cambridge choirs at work. The Pathway leaders are Stephen Layton, Graham Ross and Edward Wickham (Co-ordinator), and Tutors also include Sarah MacDonald, Andrew Nethsingha and Timothy Brown.

Vocal Performance

Ideal for those looking for a flexible post-graduate vocal training covering both ensemble and solo performance
Individual vocal tuition, regular song classes covering performance practice, vocal technique, interpretation, repertoire, singing in foreign languages and vocal pedagogy, ensemble performance classes covering interpretation, technique, directing a vocal ensemble, professional development, and classes in plainsong and reading from early sources. The Pathway leaders are Lynette Alcántara (Co-ordinator), David Lowe and David Skinner, and Voces8 is the Associate Ensemble. Visiting Tutors for ensemble coaching include David Hurley (ex-King's Singers), Ben Parry (ex-Swingle Singers), Paul McCreesh (The Gabrieli Consort) and Simon Halsey (London Symphony Chorus), and for solo tuition Dame Emma Kirkby and Dame Sarah Connolly.

Organ Performance

Ideal for those looking for a flexible post-graduate training closely linked to the Anglican choral tradition, covering a variety of keyboard skills
Tuition is provided in masterclass, seminar and one-to-one format, using the rich and varied resources of the Cambridge Chapel organs. The repertoire covered will range from the 16th century to the present day, including both solo performance and organ accompaniment in most major European traditions, with specialist classes in particular skills such as continuo playing and Psalm accompaniment. The Pathway leaders are Andrew Arthur, Anne Page and Richard Pinel (Co-ordinator), and further tuition can be arranged with one of the several leading organ teachers who regularly visit Cambridge. Further opportunities are available via the Cambridge Organ Scholars’ Forum and the Cambridge Academy of Organ Studies which both invite many leading European organists to teach in Cambridge such as Guy Bovet, Pieter Dirksen and Jennifer Bate.

Course Structure

Seminars are provided for all MMus students as the foundation for the more academic component of the course. These will include topics such as Words and Music, the History of the Anglican Choral Tradition, the study of Vocal Health and undertaking Outreach and Community work. Tutors include Jeremy Begbie, Malcolm Guite, Roger Bowers, David Skinner, Lynette Alcántara and Suzi Digby. Students may choose to develop specialist skills in the editing of early music and the art of musical arrangement, and to benefit from aspects of the teaching provided for all Pathways, as well as from some undergraduate courses such as aural training. The pattern of teaching changes through the course of the year, in tandem with the requirements of the compulsory practical exams and coursework. Practical training takes priority in the first term, preparation for exam components in the second (leading to exams at the end of the second term and start of the third), and in the third term the student focuses on their final project (chosen from the Optional Elements).  All students are invited to apply for membership of a College choir as singer or organist, and benefit from the rich library resources of the University of Cambridge.

1. Principal study performance:

  • Choral conducting pathway, leading to a conducting examination with set works
  • Vocal performance pathway leading to a solo vocal recital
  • Organ performance pathway leading to a solo recital of a set work and music chosen by the candidate

2. Principal study ensemble performance:

  • Choral conducting pathway: leading to a conducted choral recital
  • Vocal performance pathway leading to a vocal ensemble examination
  • Organ performance pathway leading to a recital, playing organ and harpsichord continuo in a larger ensemble

3. Optional Elements: students select one of the following:

  • Extended essay
  • Editing project
  • Music arrangements
  • Secondary study (some options from other Pathways are available)

4. Seminar course: Weekly seminars, resulting in two coursework essays

5. College placements and observations: placement in college choirs with opportunities to direct and observe

6. Aural classes: regular classes during term