Keyboard overview page

Welcome to one of Europe’s most distinguished Keyboard Departments, where world class faculty and students thrive in a busy environment full of events, classes, concerts and opportunities.

We have a close relationship with nearby London (three of our piano tutors also have London conservatoire classes; many organ students already hold prestigious London posts) while capitalising on Birmingham’s unique opportunities and relative affordability.

A Keyboard Department is as good as its staff. Find out more about our large team of great keyboard tutors.

We have separate Heads of Organ, Collaborative Piano and Early Music. This gives these areas focus and drive, but there is also flexibility to move between them. For example, an undergraduate Final Recital may be entirely solo, entirely collaborative (chamber music and song) or any mixture of the two. There is similar flexibility at postgraduate level.

The early undergraduate years have certain requirements to establish breadth and rigour. All second year piano students, for example, study and perform on our two Fortepianos.

This is essential to an understanding of classical style.Then you might become a first study Fortepianist, keep Fortepiano lessons in your creative mix, or simply enjoy translating your experience to the modern instrument.

We foster a self-motivated approach. Pianists may choose to have more than one tutor, and all undergraduates are able to use ‘student-allocated tutor hours’ for related study, as well as other activities such as collaborative coaching, to further broaden the mix of their study.

Our students are some of the finest competition-winning international talents, with impeccable work ethics. But they also enjoy a friendly and mutually supportive ethos that gives Birmingham arguably the best working atmosphere of any UK conservatoire. I hope you will join us here.

Please do go on now to explore our instrument-specific webpages.

Professor John Thwaites
Head of Keyboard Studies

Find out more
Did you know? You can study Opera Repetiteur at postgraduate level.

Recent competition success

  • Emanuil Ivanov (Piano): First Prize Busoni International Piano Competition 2019; 2nd prize and audience prizeAlessandro Casagrande International Piano Competition 2019. Sheepdrove Intercollegiate Piano Competition in association with Newbury Festival 2023, First Prize and Audience Prize.
  • Andrei Ivanov (Piano): International Piano Competition in Valencia 2017: 4th prize overall and winner of Best Interpreter of Spanish Music; 2nd Prize 'Silvio Bengalli' Piano Prize of the Val Tidone International Music Competition.
  • Ashok Gupta (Piano): Winner of the Accompanists’ Prize, Kathleen Ferrier Awards; Winner Emanuel Trophy, UK Festivals; Winner Chamber Music Prize at the International Telekom Beethoven Competition in Bonn 2017.
  • Domonkos Csabay (Piano): Piano Accompaniment Winner and Joint 3rd Prize Piano Solo, Wales International Piano Festival (William Mathias); First Prize, Brant International Piano Competition 2016.
  • Róza Bene (Harpsichord): Joint Winner, Sir Anthony Lewis Memorial Prize Competition; Winner THSH Prize 2017.
  • Lauren Zhang (Piano): Winner, BBC Young Musician 2018; 1st Prize at the 15th Ettlingen International Competition for Young Pianists. 1st Prize Young Pianist of the North.
  • Andrei Ivanov (Piano): 3rd Prize Brant International Piano Competition.
  • Luigi Carroccia (Piano): Quarter-Finalist Van Cliburn international Piano Competition.
  • Luigi Carroccia, Domonkos Csabay, and Andrei Ivanov reached the semi-finals, and
  • Roman Kosyakov First prize (and audience prize) Sheepdrove Inter-Collegiate Piano Competition; First prize (and audience prize) Hastings International Piano Concerto Competition (in association with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra); 4th Prize, of the 1st edition of the Saint-Priest International Piano Competition (CIPSP) in France
  • Edward Leung (Piano): Third Prize at the 17th Piano Campus International Piano Competition in Cergy-Pontoise, France, 2018; Winner Brighton and Hove Concerto Competition 2018; Winner, Appelbe Piano Prize of the North London Festival of Music & Drama and Winner, Watford International Piano Competition. 
  • George Rowley (Piano)2nd prizeBrighton and Hove Concerto Competition 2018.
  • Mika Inukai (Piano): Winner, Appelbe Piano Competition 2019 and Third Place, Watford International Piano Competition 2019.
  • Elizabeth Khoo and Chi-Hang Chang (Piano): Silver Medal, International Music Competition for Youth 'Dinu Lipatti', Taranto, Italy
  • Roman Kosyakov: 1st Prize, Orchestra Priize, Audience Prize, XV Campillos International Piano Competition (2021, Spain). Dublin International Piano Competition 2023 3rd Prize.
  • Edward Leung: Silver Medal, 70th Wideman International Piano Competition (2021, USA).
  • Mario Bobotsov: 1st Prize, Russian VI International Music Performance Competition «Music Prospect» (Gala concert 29th January 2022, Rachmaninov Hall, Moscow State Tchaikovsky Conservatory).
  • Perren-Luc Thiessen: 1st prize, Cesar Franck International Piano Competition (2021, Belgium).
  • George Harliono: Silver Medal, Tchaikovsky International Piano Competition 2023.
  • Find out more about organ competition success