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Composition - MMus / PgCert / PgDip

Study as a postgraduate composer at one of the UK's most innovative composition departments. In recent years, Birmingham Conservatoire's Composition department has produced outstanding contemporary artists such as Laura Mvula, Raffertie and Charlotte Bray....

Studying with us in 2021/22

It is possible that the 2021/22 academic year may be affected by the ongoing disruption caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.  Information about the arrangements the University has put in place for the 2021/22 academic year in response to Covid-19 and the emerging variants can be found here.


Should the impact of Covid-19 continue in subsequent years of your course, any additional and/or alternative arrangements put in place by the University in response will be in accordance with the latest government public health advice, pandemic-related/health and safety legislation, and the terms and conditions of the student contract.

  • School Royal Birmingham Conservatoire
  • Faculty Faculty of Arts, Design and Media

Course overview

Study as a postgraduate composer at one of the UK's most innovative composition departments. In recent years, Birmingham Conservatoire's Composition department has produced outstanding contemporary artists such as Laura Mvula, Raffertie and Charlotte Bray.

Unlike many composition courses at this level, the course actively celebrates the diversity of today's musical genres, and fosters artists who challenge, innovate and transform notions of artistic practice today. You'll spend most of your time writing music for professional and student ensembles, whether you choose to respond to our set briefs or work on your own projects.

You'll be encouraged to express yourself in multiple musical and artistic genres.

By studying composition within a thriving conservatoire setting, you'll have excellent opportunities to collaborate with performers and to have your works performed.

Alongside your focus on composition, our course provides opportunities for you to develop other skills relevant to a future career in the music profession.

This course is open to International students.

What's covered in this course?

  • Regular individual tuition in composition from internationally recognised composers.
  • A chance to develop a distinctive compositional voice within the context of a broadly based course, enhancing your employability.
  • The opportunity to participate in a wide variety of creative projects, including interdisciplinary collaborations.
  • Regular forums, seminars and masterclasses with distinguished visiting composers and performers.
  • Opportunities to have works performed/workshopped by Birmingham Contemporary Music Group and other leading professional ensembles and musicians.
  •  Frequent chances to have works performed by student performers, including by the Conservatoire’s own Contemporary Music Group (Thallein Ensemble) and other ensembles.
  •  In PgDip and MMus, a core career development module designed to get you thinking about your future professional plans. 
  • In PgDip and MMus, the flexibility to choose from a broad menu of Professional Development modules designed to help you work towards achieving your personal career aspirations.
  • In MMus, a core module designed to develop your skills as a researcher or informed practitioner.
  •  In PgCert, the ability to focus wholly on the Principal Study area.
  • The possibility of transferring between PgCert, PgDip  and/or MMus (as appropriate) once you have begun your studies (but before completion of your original course).

Why Choose Us?

At Royal Birmingham Conservatoire we provide a friendly and supportive environment in which you can pursue your postgraduate studies. This is a time when you need to think particularly carefully and strategically about the direction of your developing career as a musician. We therefore encourage you to be ambitious in pursuing your aspirations, and endeavour to provide you with the flexibility to mould your course to your individual needs, both within your Principal Study area and – for PgDip and MMus students – in complementary modules.

Entry Requirements

MMus/PgDip
Essential

UK students should normally hold an honours degree, ideally but not necessarily in Music.

Non-UK students should hold a Bachelor's degree or a similar degree-equivalent diploma, ideally but not necessarily in Music.

Audition requirements

You should be prepared to discuss a portfolio of compositions, which must be submitted at least two weeks before the audition date, if possible with high-quality recordings.*

 

Portfolios should be sent by Recorded Delivery to: Senior Administrator, Admissions, Birmingham Conservatoire, 200 Jennens Road, Birmingham B4 7XR, UK

The panel will be interested to hear you talk about your artistic influences, your inspiration to be a musician and your career objectives.

This is an opportunity for you to ask the panel questions about the Composition Department and what life will be like as a musician in Birmingham.

The audition and interview together will last for about half an hour.

For full details, audition requirements and audition advice, please visit the Music Auditions section of the Conservatoire website.

English language requirements

PgDip, MMus: You must have IELTS 6; or alternatively must have studied and completed a Bachelor’s degree in the UK;*.

You must have a minimum of IELTS 5.5 or equivalent in all four skills areas to secure a visa

PgCert: You must have IELTS 5.5; or alternatively must have studied and completed a Bachelor’s degree in the UK.

English language requirements

  • IELTS overall score 6.0 (5.5 in all components) or equivalent is required.

Fees & How to Apply

  • International students

Award: MMus

Starting: Sep 2021

  • Mode
  • Duration
  • Fees
  • Full Time
  • 30 months (including Professional Placement - see below*)
  • £12,100 per year
  • Apply via UCAS

Award: PgCert

Starting: Sep 2021

  • Mode
  • Duration
  • Fees

Award: PgDip

Starting: Sep 2021

  • Mode
  • Duration
  • Fees

Award: MMus

Starting: Sep 2021

  • Mode
  • Duration
  • Fees
  • Full Time
  • 30 months (including Professional Placement - see below*)
  • £26,000 per year
  • Apply via UCAS

Award: PgDip

Starting: Sep 2021

  • Mode
  • Duration
  • Fees

If you're unable to use the online form for any reason, you can complete our PDF application form and equal opportunities PDF form instead.

Access to computer equipment

You will require use of a laptop, and most students do prefer to have their own. However, you can borrow a laptop from the university or use one of our shared computer rooms.

Printing

You will receive £5 print credit in each year of your course, available after enrolment.

Field trips

All essential field trips and associated travel costs will be included in your course fees.

Access to Microsoft Office 365

Every student at the University can download a free copy of Microsoft Office 365 to use whilst at university and for 18 months after graduation.

Key software

You will be able to download SPSS and Nvivo to your home computer to support with your studies and research.

Key subscriptions

Subscriptions to key journals and websites are available through our library.

Free access to Rosetta Stone

All students can sign up to the online learning language platform for free through the Graduate+ scheme.

Project materials (mandatory)

This course includes project work that requires you to develop and produce a portfolio or collection. You'll be expected to provide the materials for use in your individual major projects; costs will vary depending on the options selected and the nature of individual practice.

Excess printing (optional)

Once you have spent your £5 credit, additional printing on campus costs from 5p per sheet.

Placement expenses (optional)

If you choose to undertake a placement, you'll need to budget for accommodation and any travel costs you may incur whilst living or working away from home.

Field trips (optional)

This course includes the option of additional trips that may enhance your experience, at extra cost.

Subscriptions (optional)

You may wish to purchase subscriptions to additional journals and websites.

Memberships (optional)

You may wish to join a union or professional body related to this course.

DBS Certificate (optional)

You will need to cover the cost of a DBS Certificate should you need one for the optional pedagogy modules.

Accommodation and living costs

The cost of accommodation and other living costs are not included within your course fees. More information on the cost of accommodation can be found in our accommodation pages.

*Professional Placement option

The Professional Placement version of the course is optional and is offered as an alternative to the standard version of the course.

This will allow you to complete a credit bearing, 20 week Professional Placement as an integral part of your Master’s Degree. The purpose of the Professional Placement is to improve your employability skills which will, through the placement experience, allow you to evidence your professional skills, attitudes and behaviours at the point of entry to the postgraduate job market. Furthermore, by completing the Professional Placement, you will be able to develop and enhance your understanding of the professional work environment, relevant to your chosen field of study, and reflect critically on your own professional skills development within the workplace.

You will be responsible for finding and securing your own placement. The University, however, will draw on its extensive network of local, regional and national employers to support you in finding a suitable placement to complement your chosen area of study. You will also benefit from support sessions delivered by Careers+ as well as advice and guidance from your School.

Placements will only be confirmed following a competitive, employer-led selection process, therefore the University will not be able to guarantee placements for students who have registered for the ‘with Professional Placement’ course. All students who do not find a suitable placement or do not pass the competitive selection process will be automatically transferred back to the standard, non-placement version of the course.

For any candidates who demonstrate an exceptional level of achievement in their audition/interview, a panel may identify them as a potential contender for our 12-month MMus, with credit for advanced standing. If the candidate expresses interest in pursuing this option, this will trigger a follow-up interview to explore their suitability further. However, it is not possible to apply for direct entry to this 12-month programme.

Completing your application

Further information on writing your personal statement can be found on the UCAS Conservatoires website.

Course in Depth

PG Cert

In order to complete this course a student must successfully complete one of the following CORE modules (totalling 60 credits):

This module enables you as a postgraduate composer to advance your training in your specialist area. For MMus students, it provides a prelude to the further advancement of your training in the Principal Study 2: Composition module.

Given that this module is focused entirely on your continued growth as a composer, it will focus on developing both your practical skills (such as approaches to expressing an idea/concept, instrumentation, voice leading, use of rhythm, melody and harmony, and presentation) and your  critical/intellectual skills (such as creative thinking, aesthetic awareness and self-reflective working).

PG Dip

In order to complete this course a student must successfully complete the following CORE module (totalling 60 credits):

This module enables you as a postgraduate composer to advance your training in your specialist area. For MMus students, it provides a prelude to the further advancement of your training in the Principal Study 2: Composition module.

Given that this module is focused entirely on your continued growth as a composer, it will focus on developing both your practical skills (such as approaches to expressing an idea/concept, instrumentation, voice leading, use of rhythm, melody and harmony, and presentation) and your  critical/intellectual skills (such as creative thinking, aesthetic awareness and self-reflective working).

In order to complete this course a student must successfully complete all the following CORE modules (totalling 20 credits):

Members of the music profession require not only high-level specialist skills but also the ability to target those skills strategically to different circumstances. This module focuses on a range of different aspects of a musician’s professional development that directly relate to the music industry and their preparation for it: from self-promotion and self-management, to funding and wellbeing. It is thus central to a programme which aims to prepare you for a career as a musician in the 21st century.

It requires you, near the beginning of your postgraduate studies, to reflect ambitiously yet realistically on your professional aspirations, and to formulate a plan that helps you stand the best chance of achieving your goals. Weekly workshops, delivered by internal staff and external professionals, will focus on the practicalities of a career in music, providing you with a better insight into the industry you will be entering, as well as encouraging you to be self-reflective about your own personal and professional development needs.

In order to complete this course a student must successfully complete at least 40 credits from the following indicative list of OPTIONAL modules.

Each module listed is worth 20 credits.

Conservatoire based

  • Concepts in Musicology
  • Contemporary Music Concepts and Practice
  • Creative Interactive Music Technology Performance
  • Critical Editing Techniques
  • Documentation
  • Experimental Performance in Context(s)
  • Historical Instrument Performance
  • Historical Performance Practice
  • Independent Scholarship in Music
  • Music and Ideas
  • Music Technology Contexts
  • Orchestration
  • Performing and Producing in the Studio
  • Professional Music Criticism
  • Self-Promotion Project
  • Teaching Matters: Principles and Practice
  • Work Placement
  • Writing Music for Media
  • Music, Community and Wellbeing (BMus module)

School of Art based

  • Art and Ecologies
  • Contemporary Philosophy and Aesthetics
  • Discourses in Art and Design
  • Models and Methods of Curatorial Practice
  • Queer Strategies in Practice
  • Small Arts Business Set Up
  • Social Practice in the Visual

School of Media based

  • Live Events and Festival Management
  • Social Media as Culture and Practice

Core modules are guaranteed to run. Optional modules will vary from year to year and the published list is indicative only.

MMus

In order to complete this course a student must successfully complete THREE CORE modules (totalling 140 credits):

Members of the music profession require not only high-level specialist skills but also the ability to target those skills strategically to different circumstances. This module focuses on a range of different aspects of a musician’s professional development that directly relate to the music industry and their preparation for it: from self-promotion and self-management, to funding and wellbeing. It is thus central to a programme which aims to prepare you for a career as a musician in the 21st century.

It requires you, near the beginning of your postgraduate studies, to reflect ambitiously yet realistically on your professional aspirations, and to formulate a plan that helps you stand the best chance of achieving your goals. Weekly workshops, delivered by internal staff and external professionals, will focus on the practicalities of a career in music, providing you with a better insight into the industry you will be entering, as well as encouraging you to be self-reflective about your own personal and professional development needs.

This module enables you as a postgraduate composer to advance your training in your specialist area. For MMus students, it provides a prelude to the further advancement of your training in the Principal Study 2: Composition module.

Given that this module is focused entirely on your continued growth as a composer, it will focus on developing both your practical skills (such as approaches to expressing an idea/concept, instrumentation, voice leading, use of rhythm, melody and harmony, and presentation) and your  critical/intellectual skills (such as creative thinking, aesthetic awareness and self-reflective working).

This module enables you as a postgraduate composer to continue to advance your training in your specialist area, and thus provides professionally-relevant experience. It builds on the technical and creative skills acquired in the Principal Study 1 Composition module, encouraging greater compositional ambition, the development of an individual voice and personal aesthetic, and a consistently professional approach to presentation.

In addition to continuing to develop the practical and critical skills fostered in Principal Study 1 Composition, it will seek to enhance your ability to deal with more ambitious ideas/concepts (including the creation of large structures), and to be reflective, especially in how you write about and discuss your own work.

In order to complete this course, a student must successfully complete at least 100 credits from the following indicative list of OPTIONAL modules:

  • THREE Professional Development modules (20 credits each), and

  • ONE MMus optional module (40 credits)

Professional Development modules (20 credits each)

Conservatoire based

  • Concepts in Musicology
  • Contemporary Music Concepts and Practice
  • Creative Interactive Music Technology Performance
  • Critical Editing Techniques
  • Documentation
  • Experimental Performance in Context(s)
  • Historical Instrument Performance
  • Historical Performance Practice
  • Independent Scholarship in Music
  • Music and Ideas
  • Music Technology Contexts
  • Orchestration
  • Performing and Producing in the Studio
  • Professional Music Criticism
  • Self-Promotion Project
  • Teaching Matters: Principles and Practice
  • Work Placement
  • Writing Music for Media
  • Music, Community and Wellbeing (BMus module)

School of Art based

  • Art and Ecologies
  • Contemporary Philosophy and Aesthetics
  • Discourses in Art and Design
  • Models and Methods of Curatorial Practice
  • Queer Strategies in Practice
  • Small Arts Business Set Up
  • Social Practice in the Visual

School of Media based

  • Live Events and Festival Management
  • Social Media as Culture and Practice

MMus optional modules (40 credits each)

  • Research Project
  • Critical Edition
  • Lecture-Recital
  • The Reflective Practioner
    • There are two pathways through this module: 1. Professional Placement, and 2. Creative Interdisciplinary Artist.

Core modules are guaranteed to run. Optional modules will vary from year to year and the published list is indicative only.

Course structure

Whichever course you choose, work in the Principal Study area lies at its heart. For Composers, the Principal Study modules each culminate in a portfolio of compositions. Preparation of this work is supported by individual specialist tuition, as well as by departmental activities throughout the course.

If you are a MMus or PgDip student you will take a Career Development module, which will require you, near the beginning of your course, to reflect ambitiously yet realistically on your professional aspirations, and to formulate a plan that helps you stand the best chance of achieving your goals. You will also choose, in addition, some Professional Development Options from a varied list. The following gives an indication the kind of optional modules which may be offered in a given year, including some offered by Birmingham City University’s Schools of Art and Media (note, not all will run every year).

MMus students will additionally choose a 40-credit option from one of two categories: ‘The Emerging Researcher’ or ‘The Reflective Practitioner’.

Part-time options

There is some room for negotiation in how the course unfolds for a part-time MMus student over three years, or in the case of part-time PgDip students, over two years.

Employability

OpportUNIty

OpportUNIty Student Ambassador

OpportUNIty: Student Jobs on Campus ensures that our students are given a first opportunity to fill many part-time temporary positions within the University. This allows you to work while you study with us, fitting the job around your course commitments. By taking part in the scheme, you will gain valuable experiences and employability skills, enhancing your prospects in the job market.

It will also allow you to become more involved in University life by delivering, leading and supporting many aspects of the learning experience, from administration to research and mentoring roles.

International Students

Royal Birmingham Conservatoire has a growing community of international students from across the world.

We appreciate the challenges of moving to a new country to live and study and aim to be as supportive as possible.

Aside from being friendly and welcoming, we have various support mechanisms in place to help you settle in as an international student, including:

  • An international students' 'orientation week', including a special Conservatoire welcome event
  • A dedicated international student admissions administrator
  • A full-time staff member employed as International Student Support Programme Director (who speaks Mandarin)
  • A mentoring system in which you, as a new postgraduate international student, are mentored by continuing postgraduate international students who will be supporting you both pastorally and academically though weekly workshops
  • Additional supporting classes for international students that are particularly designed to help you further develop your English reading, speaking and comprehension skills
  • Additional academic skills support provided by expert tutors from the BCU's Centre for Academic Success

Further information for prospective international students is available on the University's international pages.

Facilities and Staff

Concert Hall - Copyright Hufton +Crow

Royal Birmingham Conservatoire’s £57 million music building opened in September 2017, and is located on Birmingham City University’s City Centre Campus in the Eastside ‘learning quarter’ of the city.

This brand new music facility include five public performance venues – a 500 seat Concert Hall, 150 seat Recital Hall, Organ Studio, Eastside Jazz Club and the experimental black box performance venue known as The Lab. As well as these stunning performance venues, we have nearly 100 practice spaces; including 70 small practice rooms and larger ensemble rooms and workshops.

Our new home is the first conservatoire built in the digital age, and as such it has been vital to ensure that the technical infrastructure installed is on par with any advanced commercial facility. We have seven recording studios, a mastering suite, a distance learning hub, and all of our performance venues feature high specification audio-visual equipment that enables interconnectivity and advanced functionality throughout the building.

These impressive modern facilities guarantee that we are excel in our unique dual purpose of providing the highest standard of music education deserved by our students, as well as meeting our role as a concert and performance venue for the people of Birmingham; taking our place in the vibrant cultural landscape of the UK’s second city.

Our staff

Prof Joe Cutler

Head of Composition

Joe works as the Conservatoire’s Head of Composition. His music has been performed in over 30 countries in cities such as New York, Amsterdam and Tokyo. In recent years, he’s written orchestral pieces and worked alongside the London Symphony Orchestra and the BBC Symphony Orchestra.

More about Joe

Dr Michael Wolters

Deputy Head of Composition

Michael Wolters (born 1971 in Mönchengladbach, Germany) has maintained the position of an “other” in the world of contemporary music with works that queer traditional concert and performance situations. He has written music for traditional ensembles like Birmingham Contemporary Music Group and prefers to challenge conventional set-ups and rituals. This has resulted in pieces with unusual instrumentations (like his twelve-minute-long opera The Voyage, produced with theatre company Stan's Cafe for the 2012 Cultural Olympiad written for mezzo-soprano, eleven recorders and double bass), performances in unusual places (wahnsinnig wichtig on ice took place on and around an ice rink while product placement was set in a supermarket) or projects of unusual duration (his Spring Symphony: The Joy of Life, lasting 17 seconds in total is the shortest symphony in the world while the performance of Wir sehen uns morgen wieder lasted for a month). He strongly believes that the idea of a work is the driving element in the creation of an art work, informing the concept and all artistic decisions.

More about Michael

Seán Clancy

Dublin born composer Seán Clancy’s (b. 1984) music has been described as ‘equal part sacred, seductive and superficial’ (Tempo), and as ‘exploring the tensions between found and original material, narrative and rupture, elite and vernacular values, and between innovation and intervention’ (Journal of Music). His work deals with examining minimal amounts of material over extended periods of time, and most recently he has been exploring this process by performing on synthesizers, often collaborating with other soloists and ensembles.

Over the past number of years Seán has been composer in association with Workers Union Ensemble (2015/16), an artist in residence at the Moog Soundlab (2015), composer in residence at EMS Elektronmusikstudion Stockholm (2014), BCMG/SAM Composer in Residence (2010-2012), and a recipient of an RTÉ Lyric FM/IMRO Composition Bursary (2012). Additionally, he has been a featured composer in the New Music Dublin Festival (2017), Composing the Island Festival, Dublin (2016) MATA Festival, New York (2016), Beijing Modern Music Festival (2016), RTÉ NSO Music of Our Time Series (2016), New Dots Series, London (2016), David Lang’s ‘What?… Wow Festival of Music’ (2015), Soundings at the Austrian Cultural Forum (2015), the RTÉ NSO Horizons Series (2014), Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival (2013), Quatuor Bozzini Composers’ Kitchen (2013) and Birmingham’s Frontiers Festival (2017, 2016, 2015, 2014, 2011, 2010).

Seán has been fortunate to have been commissioned and performed by many fantastic ensembles and artists from around the world. He has developed particularly close ties with the RTÉ NSO, BCMG, Quatuor Bozzini, Crash Ensemble, RTÉ Contempo Quartet, Ensemble KROCK, Workers Union Ensemble, Orkest de Ereprijs, Decibel, Fidelio Trio, Thallein Ensemble and Thumb. In the past number of years, he has also worked with soloists Susan Narucki, and Garth Knox, as well as collaborating with conductors Alan Pierson, Richard Baker, Gavin Moloney, Clement Power, Ben Oliver, Dan Watson, Dan Rosina, and Ciaran Crilly. Recently, he has also undertaken a number of projects with Rock/Electronic musicians Katie Kim, Thomas Parkes, and Simon Goff. He has received support from organisations such as the Britten Pears-Foundation, Ralph Vaughan Williams Trust, Sound & Music, Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival, The Arts Council of Ireland, IMRO, and Culture Ireland. He has been broadcast on amongst others: WNYC (USA), RTÉ Lyric FM (Ireland), BBC Radio 3 (UK), and Klassika Raadio (Estonia). His first recording Forty Five Minutes of Music on the Subject of Football was released by Birmingham Record Company in 2015; this was followed by a number of electronic releases in 2017.

Seán received his PhD from Royal Birmingham Conservatoire, where he is now a Senior Lecturer in Composition, and he holds degrees from King’s College London, University College Dublin, and the Ecole Nationale de Musique. Principle teachers have included Joe Cutler, Philippe Leroux, and Howard Skempton (alongside informal studies with Gerald Barry and David Lang). He is represented by the Contemporary Music Centre, Ireland.

More about Seán

Dr Andrew Hamilton

Composition Tutor

Andrew Hamilton was born in Dublin in 1977 and studied in Ireland, England and The Netherlands. His composition teachers included Kevin Volans, Anthony Gilbert and Louis Andriessen. Awards include first prize in the 2001 Opera Prima Europa competition in Rome and the 2002 prize at the 8th International Young Composers Forum in Apeldoorn, The Netherlands.

In 2004 he was awarded the Macaulay Fellowship by the Arts Council of Ireland and from 2005 to 2006 he was a fellow at Akademie Schloss Solitude, Stuttgart. In 2010 he was awarded a residency by Aldeburgh Music as part of the Britten-Pears Young Artists Programme and during 2012 he was an artist in residence at the Centre Culturel Irlandais, Paris and Civitella Ranieri, Umbria. His work has been performed internationally and at many festivals including Gaudeamus, Ultraschall Berlin, ISCM World Music Days, RTE Living Music Festival, SPOR Festival Aarhus, Dublin Fringe Theatre Festival, Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival, Die Reihe Stuttgart and the MATA Festival New York.

He has also collaborated with visual artists Ingrid Hora and Dagmar Keller/Martin Wittwer on installations exhibited in Berlin, Stuttgart, Warsaw and Vienna. He has worked on new pieces with Crash Ensemble, Exaudi and Endymion Ensembles, Ensemble Klang, the Irish Chamber Orchestra, the Ives Ensemble, Orkest De Volharding, Michelle O’Rourke, Sam Wilson, Oliver Coates, Natasha Lohan, the Knights Chamber Orchestra, Isabelle O’Connell, the National Chamber Choir of Ireland, Tilt Brass, ACME, Neue Vocalsolisten Stuttgart, Ensemble Ascolta, CHROMA, Juliet Fraser/Maxime Echardour and the RTE Concert Orchestra.

Currently he is a visiting tutor in composition at Birmingham Conservatoire. New works are planned for a collaboration with Emma Martin Dance/Crash Ensemble, the National Symphony Orchestra of Ireland, Exaudi and the Ives Ensemble.

More about Andrew

Howard Skempton

Lecturer in Composition

Howard Skempton was born in Chester in 1947, and has worked as a composer, accordionist, and music publisher. He studied in London with Cornelius Cardew from 1967, who helped him to discover a musical language of great simplicity. Since then he has continued to write undeflected by compositional trends, producing a corpus of more than 300 works.

In May 2005, Skempton’s Tendrils for string quartet was awarded the prize for ‘best chamber-scale composition’ by the Royal Philharmonic Society, and in December 2005 it won in the chamber music category at the annual British Composer Awards. Skempton won a second British Composer Award in 2008 for The Moon is Flashing, a song cycle for tenor and orchestra.

Skempton’s works have been commissioned and performed by many leading artists and music organisations including the BBC, Birmingham Contemporary Music Group, Ensemble Bash, OKEANOS, New Noise, and the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra's 'Ensemble 10/10'. Skempton was commissioned as part of the New Music 20*12 Cultural Olympiad project, where his piece for the Central Council of Church Bell Ringers was performed in Kingston and played on BBC Radio 3 as the first music of 2012. It was heard again at the Spitalfields Festival in June 2013.

Recent commissions include two from the Birmingham Contemporary Music Group — a work for oboe and string trio, Field Notes, and a setting of Coleridge’s The Rime of the Ancient Mariner for baritone (Roderick Williams) and ensemble — and a Piano Concerto for John Tilbury commissioned by the BBC for a premiere at the Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival in 2015.

More about Howard

Luan Shaw

Interim Vice Principal, Music (Learning and Teaching) and Director of Postgraduate Studies

Luan is Director of Postgraduate Studies at Royal Birmingham Conservatoire where she has taught since 2011. She is a Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy, and was made an Honorary Member of RBC in 2001. In her former role as RBC’s first Head of Pedagogy (2011-2018), she significantly expanded provision for instrumental teacher education across the RBC curriculum. Luan is passionate about helping students to build their portfolio careers and her doctoral research focuses on facilitating the transition from student to professional through instrumental teacher education in conservatoires.

More about Luan