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

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

  • Bruckner Symphony No.4
  • Stravinsky Danses Concertantes
  • Pärt Tabula rasa
  • Beethoven Piano Concerto No.2
  • Vaughan Williams Symphony No.1 ‘A Sea Symphony’

The University Philharmonia is directed by the Sir Charles Mackerras Conducting Fellow, professional freelance conductor Jonathan Tilbrook. Jonathan has had a varied career embracing 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 Orchestral Studies at Trinity College of Music.

For details on how to join contact Lucy Theobald, Arts Administrator, Lakeside Arts.

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

University Choir

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

There is no audition for the choir, only the requirement that you can read music.

The Choir usually performs two or three concerts a year. Recent repertoire has included:

  • Tippett A Child of Our Time
  • Kódaly Missa brevis
  • Rachmaninov Vespers (selections)
  • Stravinsky Symphony of Psalms
  • Vaughan Williams Symphony No.1 ‘Sea Symphony’

Membership of the Choir is free of charge for students.

The Choir is conducted by professional freelance conductor Calum Fraser.

For details on how to join contact Lucy Theobald, Arts Administrator, Lakeside Arts.

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

University Chamber Choir

An auditioned choir that tackles a specifically written and challenging repertoire

The University Chamber Choir numbers only 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. Recent repertoire has included:

  • Bach Magnificat
  • Vaughan Williams Mass in G minor.

For details on how to join contact Lucy Theobald, Arts Administrator, Lakeside Arts.


Student-led societies


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

Mussoc oversee 10 ensembles of all genres, a lively 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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