Department of Music

Performance opportunities

There are a wide range of opportunities to play and sing at all levels across the university.


University orchestra and choirs

University Philharmonia

An auditioned symphony orchestra aiming to reach the highest standards of performance

The University Philharmonia aims to reach the highest standards of performance and requires dedication and committed attendance during the intensive rehearsal periods which run over a fortnight before each performance. University Philharmonia usually performs three or four concerts a year. The dates for 2021/22 can be viewed here.

Following audition, membership is by invitation as the number of players required varies according to the repertoire being performed. 

The University Philharmonia is directed by the Sir Charles Mackerras Conducting Fellow, professional freelance conductor Jonathan Tilbrook. Jonathan's career embraces operatic, choral and orchestral conducting and his interests are reflected in the wide range of repertoire performed by the Philharmonia. He is also Head of Postgraduate Programmes at Trinity College of Music.

In 2021/22 auditions will be held on the weekend following the Welcome Weeks and students can sign up for an audition slot at the Mussoc stand at the Welcome Fair.

Auditions are held at the end of spring term for students who would like the opportunity to be assistant conductor, and are advertised on the Lakeside noticeboard in the Department of Music.

Students interested in playing in a University orchestra are encouraged to attend the 'come and play' rehearsal conducted by Jonathan Tilbrook on Friday 24 September 2021, 2-5pm in the Rehearsal Hall, Department of Music.

Horns Albert Hall performance
University Philharmonia perform at the Albert Hall in Nottingham


Contact: for more information please email Lakeside's Head of Music Programmes, Catherine Hocking.


University Choir

Made up of students, staff and alumni. Usually performs two or three concerts a year

The University Choir is the largest choir on campus, and performs two or three concerts annually including a joint concert with the University Philharmonia. Membership is open to all students, alumni and staff of University of Nottingham. There is no audition requirement for students; staff and alumni are required to do a short, informal audition for entry. 

The Choir is conducted by professional freelance conductor Calum Fraser.

The Choir rehearses weekly on Tuesday evenings 6.30-8.45pm during term-time in the Djanogly Rehearsal Hall.

Auditions are held annually at the end of spring term for students who would like the opportunity to be assistant conductor or assistant repetiteur with the University Choir and receive one-to-one mentoring from the University Choir Director.

Students interested in singing in University Choir are encouraged to attend the 'come and sing' rehearsal conducted by Calum Fraser on Tuesday 28 September, 6.30-8.45pm in the Rehearsal Hall, Department of Music.

The rehearsal dates and repertoire for 2021/22 can be viewed here.

Wide shot performance Albert Hall
University Choir perform at the Albert Hall in Nottingham


Contact: for more information please email Lakeside's Head of Music Programmes, Catherine Hocking.


University Chamber Choir

An auditioned choir that tackles a specifically written and challenging repertoire

University Chamber Choir is an auditioned choir directed by professional conductor Calum Fraser. The University Chamber Choir numbers around 30 singers. As well as performing concerts of its own it also performs alongside the University Choir and University Philharmonia. The Choir usually performs two or three concerts a year. 

The University of Nottingham Chamber Choir have been working on a new 'Virtual Choir' project. Click here to discover how the Choir have adapted to lockdown to bring rehearsals online and to sing in experimental new ways - hear from those involved and enjoy listening to their final performance of O nata lux  by Thomas Tallis.

For more information about the University of Nottingham's Chamber Choir please email Head of Music Programmes, Catherine Hocking.


Student-led societies


A collection of student-run, auditioned and non-auditioned music ensembles

Mussoc oversees 10 ensembles of all genres, a series of lunchtime concerts, and an annual European tour.

They work closely with both the Department of Music and Nottingham Lakeside Arts to achieve a high standard of music-making on and around campus.

Visit the Mussoc website

Lunchtime concert schedule

Mussoc promotional video



The home for all brass, woodwind, percussion and string bass players

Blowsoc runs nine ensembles (both auditioned and unauditioned) across a range of genres. They perform regularly in prestigious concert venues, are involved in the official series of lunchtime concerts and go on tour every year.

They work closely with both the Department of Music and Nottingham Lakeside Arts and represent the University in concerts on campus and national competitions.

Visit the Blowsoc website

Lunchtime concert schedule

Listen to some Blowsoc tunes on Soundcloud


Other Student Union societies

Sing or play - there are performance opportunities for everyone

Check out the wide range of performance opportunities for all students with a student union society.

New Theatre

The only 100% student run theatre in the country

Producing work of a professional standard and offering hundreds of roles both on-stage and off-stage. Music and sound is an inegral part of many performances.


Small scale ensembles and chamber groups

Music students taking our Advanced Ensemble Performance module are assessed as ensemble musicians, preparing a public recital as a small chamber group. Ensembles receive coaching from a specialist tutor, and participate in whole-class workshops. Recent student ensembles to be assessed within this module include a saxophone quartet, a string trio, and a trio comprising horn, oboe and piano. 

Students have also spontaneously formed many chamber groups, including several string quartets, a wind quintet, vocal groups, jazz ensembles and bands.

The Denis Arnold Music Library hosts an impressive array of sheet music for these and other ensembles. 

wind ensemble rehearsal

Working with professional musicians

Music students have the opportunity to work with professional musicians in a variety of settings. In recent years we've hosted:

Ensemble 360

  • Workshops for composition students followed by public performance of three works in lunchtime concerts.
  • Coaching of student ensembles and individuals.

Fitzwilliam String Quartet

  • Coaching of student quartets and individuals.
  • Joint concert with Orlando Consort and University Philharmonia performing Vaughan Williams Fantasia on a theme of Thomas Tallis and Elgar Introduction and Allegro.
  • Coaching and participation in University Philharmonia rehearsals.

Orlando Consort

  • Performance of Tallis Spem in alium and Tarik O’Regan Scattered Rhymes with Viva Voce in joint concert with Fitzwilliam String Quartet and University Philharmonia.
  • Composition and performance workshops.

One-off workshops

  • Janina Fialkowska, pianist
  • Clare Hammond, pianist
  • Yossif Ivanov, violinist
  • Sacconi String Quartet

Local churches

We have strong links to local churches and some music students take part in their choirs.

There are musical scholarships that cover both choristers and the organ.

Other opportunities

  • Performing recitals on stage and in lunch hour public concerts at Royal Concert Hall, Nottingham (final-year recital students).
  • Workshops with composers: Graham Fitkin, Gavin Bryars, Donnacha Dennehy.

Department of Music

The University of Nottingham
Lakeside Arts Centre
University Park
Nottingham, NG7 2RD

Admission enquiries
All other enquiries
- Telephone: +44 (0)115 951 5841
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