As a student in the Strings Department at Birmingham you will be part of a dynamic and exceptionally supportive student and staff fraternity. Strings Staff include and internationally renowned performers and pedagogues.
We foster creativity and individuality through our bold and varied performance programme offering a wide-ranging agenda of solo, chamber music and orchestral performance opportunities, many internal and external recital possibilities and frequent from international artists and visiting tutors.
We devote much attention to Pedagogy and the importance of adequately preparing our students for this essential and fascinating facet of the music profession. Above anything else – we care about the future of every one of our students and are utterly committed to helping them realise their dreams.
Tutorial Staff within the department include seasoned soloists, chamber and orchestral musicians, pedagogues and educators at the forefront of Conservatoire training.
Our students have the opportunity to work with visiting artists such as:
Students are also offered the opportunity to audition for placements with leading professional orchestras, Birmingham Royal Ballet, Welsh National Opera, Chamber Orchestra of Europe and City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra (CBSO).
The Conservatoire has a small but beautiful collection of instruments for loan available to students during their period of study.
Baroque lessons and orchestral projects are an integral part of the performance programme, with several students opting to focus primarily on early music.
First Study Lessons and Tutorial Staff
If you would like more information and biographies of our strings department staff, please visit our Tutorial Staff section.
Each student in Years 1-3 is allocated 30 First Study hours, 2.5 Duo Coaching hours with a designated member of staff and five self-allocated hours where students may choose from a variety of First Study related options.
All Year 4 students are allocated 35 First Study hours with Duo Coaching built into this figure.
Postgraduate First Study hours vary depending on which course of study you choose to follow.
Performance and performance opportunities are at the heart of the programme.
There are weekly performance classes either instrument or year-specific taken by different internal and visiting members of staff.
Specific staff pianists are provided for each year group and all performance classes take place with your designated staff pianist.
On average each student will have four performance class opportunities within each academic year. Wednesday is Performance Class day at the Conservatoire, and as well as these individual slots there is also a weekly workshop/concert/debate where the entire department gathers for an hour and different areas are explored.
Recent spotlights have been on the harp, a recital and discussion with the Benyounes Quartet, the joys and Art of Etude Practice, presentation and recitals by the Junior Fellow groups the Hepplewhite Trio and Bantock String Quartet – to name but a few!
There are weekly formal internal lunchtime and less formal recital opportunities up for grabs, as well as external for which students can apply.
The Conservatoire also hosts an annual Chamber Music Festival every June, providing high-profile performance opportunities for many chamber music groups and ensuring a core focus within the chamber music department.
Previous years has seen master class visits from Alina Ibragimova, Yair Kless, Rachel Barton Pine, Catherine Yates, Pavel Fischer on violin; Garth Knox, Tatjana Masurenko, Thomas Riebl, Nobuko Imai and Marco van Pagee on viola; Jo Cole, Hannah Roberts, Natalie Clein, Eduardo Vassallo, Alexander Baillie and Alice Neary on cello; Giuseppe Ettore, Hakan Ehren, Thierry Barbe and Paul Kimber on Double Bass; Skaila Kanga on harp and Michael Lewin on guitar.
These master class opportunities offer a diverse and inspirational performance forum for students to gather new and fresh ideas.
The orchestral programme is full and includes several concerts in Symphony Hall, the home of CBSO, and also other external venues around Birmingham.
There are regular symphony, opera, string orchestra, contemporary ensemble (Thallein) and baroque orchestra projects throughout the year, covering a vast tranche of standard as well as contemporary and more unusual repertoire.
Orchestral Auditions for strings students are held once a year and from September 2013 will be conducted from behind a screen. All students will be seated in the various orchestral projects according to the result of their orchestral audition.
Leaders classes are organised for those students leading sections for each project, and sectionals and strings tutti rehearsals are lead by a variety of specialists.
Each strings student is allocated a member of the piano accompaniment staff with whom they will work for the year, receiving a specific number of hours per academic year and enabling them to play with the same person in Performance Classes, Master Classes and Assessments.