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Composition and contemporary performance

Composition and contemporary performance

Royal Holloway encourages creativity in contemporary music of all kinds. The Music Department is dedicated to the idea of practice as research and is committed to supporting staff and students in the creation of new music through composition and performance.

Our composers and performers work across a wide range of styles and approaches including: music for the concert hall, opera, music for dance, electronic and electroacoustic music, installations and virtual reality, music for education, and interdisciplinary projects connecting music and sound with other art forms.

Our composers (Mark BowdenSamantha FernandoTonia KoTom Parkinson and Nina Whiteman) are commissioned by ensembles and organisations including: all of the BBC orchestras and choirs, London Sinfonietta, London Symphony Orchestra, National Theatre, Philharmonia Orchestra, Rambert Dance Company, Royal Opera House, and Welsh National Opera. Our expertise in sound design, electroacoustic music, and site-specific musical creativity includes collaborations with choreographers, theatre and film directors, writers, and visual artists.

Our performers (Mary DulleaZubin KangaNina Whiteman) specialise in contemporary music for keyboard, piano trio, chamber music, and music for voice, including projects which break down the boundaries between performer, composer and audience, and projects exploring the connection between technology, gesture and notation. Our work in improvisation crosses between disciplines and genres, connecting experiments in new instruments and performance techniques with digital technologies.

Royal Holloway is committed to increasing access to contemporary music. Our staff work regularly as animateurs and workshop leaders with organisations including: Britten Pears Arts, Britten Sinfonia, Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra, Dance East, London Philharmonic Orchestra, London Music Masters and National Youth Arts Wales. We curate festivals and events which bring contemporary music to new audiences and participants such as the Chamber Music on Valentia Festival and Manchester Contemporary Youth Opera.

Royal Holloway offers an outstanding environment in which students’ creative ideas can be realised. We support PhD students from all over the world as they develop their professional practice as composers and performers. Our postgraduate researchers work across a range of areas including: orchestral and chamber music, opera, choral and vocal music, microtonal composition, music for film and theatre, sound installations, music theatre, and generative music apps. Recent PhD projects have included a new opera for the Royal Opera House, and orchestral works for Royal Northern Sinfonia, Royal Scottish National Orchestra and BBC Symphony Orchestra.

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