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Performance at Cambridge

Performance at Cambridge

Six things you might not know about Performance at Cambridge:

One of the most outstanding features of Cambridge is the richness and diversity of its music-making at all levels and in a wide variety of contexts.

Within the Faculty of Music, performance opportunities range from the Collegium Musicum (a period-instrument ensemble) to the New Music Ensemble and the gamelan orchestra. In addition to many professional concerts throughout the year, we host a number of resident ensembles: the Endellion String Quartet, Britten Sinfonia and Academy of Ancient Music not only perform regularly but also offer masterclasses and workshops for students.

Instrumental music is well served: CUMS (Cambridge University Musical Society) works with conductors of the calibre of Sir Roger Norrington and Sir Mark Elder, as well as composers such as Sir Peter Maxwell Davies. CUO (Cambridge University Orchestra) also performs regularly with well-known guest conductors. Many additional ensembles exist alongside these, some of them run by students.

At college level, much of the musical activity centres on choirs; these range from world-famous, quasi-professional ensembles directed by conductors with international reputations to less ambitious groups led by students.

But most of all it is the wealth of student-led music-making that makes Cambridge so special. There are more than 60 music societies to join, including chamber music groups, opera, music theatre, jazz and world music societies, not to mention the various college societies. And beyond the University there is a wealth of musical activity of all kinds, including the Cambridge Rock Festival and Cambridge Folk Festival. All of this adds up to one of the most vibrant musical environments in the world.

Alongside this abundant practical activity, there are innumerable opportunities for studying performance. The Faculty of Music is internationally renowned for its research on performance across a broad range of repertoires and methodological approaches. It also hosts the Cambridge Centre for Musical Performance Studies (CMPS), which promotes and supports an ambitious programme of teaching, research, performance events and collaborative pursuits across a broad spectrum, and is developing a series of resources for the benefit of scholars and practitioners interested in the study of performance. 

Students in the Music Faculty can exploit numerous possibilities to include practical elements in their studies. These include the performance pathway, which is available in all three years of the undergraduate course; the CAMRAM scheme, which enables Cambridge music students to take lessons at the Royal Academy of Music in London alongside their studies at the University; and the M.Mus. in Choral Studies course, which presents a unique programme for  training in choral conducting. The M.Phil. Performance Studies pathway and the Ph.D. programme are available for postgraduate students interested in specialising in performance studies. Other opportunities include the Practising Performance series of workshops, side-by-side events, and masterclasses with prominent artists.

Music-making at Cambridge is also supported by numerous Choral Awards, Organ Awards and the Instrumental Award Scheme. The Faculty itself offers purpose-built facilities, including practice rooms, a concert hall and a recital room, an impressive collection of instruments, and an extensive music library. Last but not least, the performance community at the Faculty includes experienced performers and leading experts in performance studies.