Whatever subject you may be studying, and whatever your musical tastes, you will discover an enormous range of inspiring musical opportunities and activities for all students at Surrey.
University of Surrey Orchestra
We are home to a successful and talented orchestra formed from students, staff and members of the local community, led by our Director of Conducting Russell Keable, which delivers outstanding performances to the audiences of Guildford. We aim for three major concerts per year in external venues such as Holy Trinity Church in Guildford town centre.
Members of the orchestra will have the opportunity to play an assortment of classical music and timeless film and TV scores, in past years including symphonies by Beethoven, Brahms, Tchaikovsky, Dvorak, Sibelius, and Shostakovich, and film music by Danny Elfman and John Williams. The orchestra is a friendly group thanks to its social events which provide an opportunity for all members to meet outside of the rehearsals, which take place on Monday evenings from 7pm to 9pm during semester.
Entrance to the orchestra for students from all programmes is by audition at the start of Semester 1 and players will be selected to form a high-quality ensemble performing a wide-ranging repertoire. Players are generally expected to have reached Grade 7 or above in their instrument.
In Autumn and Spring, we run ‘Orchestra Day’ where the University Orchestra invites local musicians and the general public to campus to join students in rehearsing a piece of music in just one day and giving an informal performance at the end. Past repertoire has included Stravinsky’s The Rite of Spring, a programme of Bernstein classics, Prokofiev’s Romeo and Juliet, film and TV music including The Thunderbirds March and the Star Wars theme, and Vaughan Williams’s A London Symphony.
University String Orchestra
It doesn’t matter what subject you study at Surrey; the Surrey String Orchestra is open to everyone who plays a string instrument, and requires no audition. We pride ourselves on our social ethos and a broad repertoire, primarily performing in music department ensemble concerts, recording sessions and concerts in Guildford.
In the past we have performed film scores, arrangements and pop songs in addition to the standard classical repertoire. We work closely with student conductors, soloists and composers, offering a platform for new compositions to be performed. Rehearsals are on Thursday evenings between 6 and 8pm in Teaching Block.
The University Choir, led by Russell Keable, is a lively and fun choir open to all University students and staff from all subjects. A basic level of sight-reading, an ability to hold a tune and general enthusiasm is all we ask for! No audition is required.
We rehearse every Wednesday evening from 6pm to 8pm in PATS building, and perform several times a year at Holy Trinity Church and other venues. We have performed with the University Orchestra on a range of challenging works including Brahms’s Ein Deutsches Requiem, Orff’s Carmina Burana, Bernstein’s Chichester Psalms, and choruses from Handel’s Messiah and Vivaldi’s Gloria.
University Chamber Choir
The University Chamber Choir, conducted by our music professor Jeremy Barham, is open to all students via a short, friendly audition. We rehearse each Tuesday lunchtime from 1pm to 2:30pm in PATS building and perform at a wide range of events throughout the year, both on and off campus, including the highly regarded University Carol Service at Guildford Cathedral.
Our repertoire includes work from Purcell and Parry to new music by student composers. Friendly auditions take place at the start of October and singers are requested to bring a short piece.
University of Surrey Big Band
University of Surrey Big Band Big Band are Surrey’s award-winning premier jazz ensemble. They are a professional calibre 21-piece big band comprising saxes, trombones, trumpets, rhythm and two vocalists. The varied repertoire includes a diverse range of genres such as swing, Latin, samba and funk, making live shows hugely atmospheric and entertaining.
They audition for members annually to form a first-class band of students from various programmes and Schools which rehearses weekly on Tuesday evenings to prepare for functions taking place both within Surrey and externally. They participate in competitions, perform at sell-out headline gigs and hold an exciting annual tour. Members benefit from regular social events to which friends of the band are always welcome.
University Jazz Orchestra
The University Jazz Orchestra is an open and welcoming student-led group playing all types of jazz music in a relaxed setting from Sing! Sing! Sing! to Chameleon and Reptile. They are always open to song suggestions as well as student compositions and arrangements.
Rehearsals are held on Thursday evenings from 6pm to 8pm, with a break halfway through so that you have plenty of time to mingle with the rest of the band. No audition is required; just come along!
Membership is free and everyone is welcome.
University of Surrey Concert Band
The University of Surrey Concert Band is a great way for keen musicians to perform as part of a wind ensemble. We are open to anyone who plays a woodwind or brass instrument as well as percussionists who want to play a variety of pieces including film and musical medleys. Our aim is to perform in multiple concerts throughout the year. We do not hold auditions and our memberships are free so please just come along and get involved. Our rehearsals are every Tuesday in 18 TB 01 from 6:30-8:30pm.
Musical Theatre Society
Musical Theatre Society (MTSoc) is a great society for those who love to sing, dance and act. They meet twice a week, on Mondays and Thursdays, where they rehearse for the two Musical Theatre showcase performances held in November and June each year. You can audition and rehearse for the showcase performance that takes place in March of each year. The committee organise movie nights, trips to the theatre and social events throughout the year.
Presha is a monthly underground dance music event showcasing a collective of upcoming and established DJs. They work to push the boundaries of sound and bring cutting-edge music to the dance floors of Guildford, priding themselves on diversity, freedom and non-limitation. You can expect to hear a wide range of sounds including house, techno, disco, dubstep, garage, grime and more.
Music at Surrey is especially vibrant and students often form their own ensembles: pop and rock bands, jazz ensembles, string quartets, woodwind and brass groups, barbershop quartets and even small orchestras! We offer a range of possibilities for performances throughout the year both on and off campus, including our weekly lunchtime recital series held in PATS Studio 1 on Wednesdays from 1:10-2pm and our Ensembles Concert every semester.
Plus many, many more!
What our students say
Read our student profiles to discover first-hand what it's like to study with us.
I was a part of the Orchestra and we regularly held concerts which were extremely enjoyable. It motivated me to continue pursuing practice and performance.Tim McKeever, BSc (Hons)/BMus (Hons) Music and Sound Recording (Tonmeister)