Department of Music and Media

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Welcome to the Department of Music and Media

We offer programmes in Music, Creative Music Technology, Sound Recording, Digital Media Arts and Film & Video Production Technology, exposing students to a unique world of music diversity.

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Award winning Alumni

Read more about our outstanding Oscar, Grammy and BAFTA winning alumni.

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DEPARTMENT NEWS

From audio paper to next generation paper, Professor David Frohlich gives keynote at Webmedia 2017 

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Surrey hosts world's first 5G digital gaming initiative

World’s first 5G Digital Gaming initiative launched at University of Surrey during the G3: Futures event on 5 July

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Make Music at Surrey

Whatever subject you may be studying at Surrey, there are ample opportunities for you to peform and make music whilst you are here.

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BAFTA-nominated film and TV composer Sheridan Tongue visits Department of Music and Media

This November, Tonmeister graduate Sheridan Tongue returned to Surrey to provide a fascinating workshop to undergraduate students.

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Institute of Sound Recording (IoSR)

The Institute of Sound Recording (IoSR) is responsible for world-class research in psychoacoustic engineering as well as being home to the world-famous Tonmeister® course in Music & Sound Recording.

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Celebration of the life of Reginald-Smith Brindle

The Department of Music and Media hosts event celebrating the life of the University's first Professor of Music.

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Keeping it classic with the LSO

Reflections from a music PTY placement visit by Dr Georiga Volioti

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Revolutionary approach brings 3D sound into the living room

Computer vision and sound experts at the University of Surrey have demonstrated ‘Media Device Orchestration’ – an innovative home audio concept which enables users to enjoy immersive audio experiences by using all available devices in a typical living room.

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Latest news

News story

Celebration of the life of Reginald-Smith Brindle

The Department of Music and Media hosts event celebrating the life of the University's first Professor of Music.

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News story

BAFTA-nominated film and TV composer Sheridan Tongue visits Department of Music and Media

This November, Tonmeister graduate Sheridan Tongue returned to Surrey to provide a fascinating workshop to undergraduate students.

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News story

Dr Jeremy Barham invited to prestigious Liszt Academy as Visiting Professor

Dr Jeremy Barham will be attending the Liszt Academy at the invitation of Professor Lóránt Péteri.

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Blog

  • In the summer, we bid farewell to those music students who graduated with their BMus degrees and have now moved on to varied and exciting careers in the musical arts, such as orchestral management, music publishing or assistant music artist manager among others. As the new academic year is about to start, we also prepare to warmly welcome back the cohort of music students who have just completed their placement. This annual cycle, which marks the natural progression of moving back and moving on from University, not only prompts us to embrace change but also celebrate students’ personal and professional development. So, let’s take a moment to reflect on what Surrey music students achieve, what they cherish most about their placement experiences, and how they use the knowledge and skills they have gained to manage the remaining period of their academic studies, and ultimately to be successful in their job search after University. The excerpts below are students’ own testimonies and give a taste of learning experiences during the professional training year, and of the benefits of doing a placement as part of the music BMus degree.

     

    Anastasia:

    Working at the London Sinfonietta over the past year, I had the opportunity to meet and collaborate with some of the most prominent and acclaimed composers and musicians in the contemporary music circuit. One particularly memorable event was working to manage the concert tour for Under the Skin, where I met the film composer Mica Levi – an oscar nominated composer for the film Jackie. Being part of the hard-working team that managed the concert tour was an immensely enjoyable learning experience.

                             

    Left panel: Just before Under the Skin concert. Right panel: Metronomes set up for Ligeti’s Poème Symphonique

     

    The repertoire performed by the London Sinfonietta is usually complex contemporary music that takes great skill, dedication, and well-coordinated rehearsals to pull off successfully. It was a unique way to learn about such compositions as In Vain by Georg Friedrich Haas and Poème Symphonique for 100 metronomes by György Ligeti. For Haas’s work, the players had to perform in pitch dark for about 20 minutes, something that transforms your understanding of conventional performance practice and opens your mind to new possibilities that musicians can explore. Core to the creative mission of the London Sinfonietta is to offer audiences unique and unrivalled experiences of live music, and during my placement I have learnt to appreciate enormously contemporary repertoire that I may not have had a chance to access otherwise. This experience has wetted my appetite to learn more about contemporary concert music.

    (Anastasia Megally-Cassar, 4-year BMus, returning PTY student)

     

    George:

    My professional training year was an invaluable experience that truly allowed me to gain an insight into the inner workings of the music publishing world. Not only did the experience give me a greater understanding of the arts, and how organisations operate in the sector, but it also equipped me with the translatable skills – researching and writing – that I use daily in my job today in the charitable sector. Each day of my placement at Faber Music Publishing was varied; from promoting new works at concerts, attending rehearsals of upcoming pieces, right through to writing to international performers, conductors and orchestras about our catalogue of works. I devoted a lot of my time to the generation of ideas and research, helping the company, for instance, to innovate and update its online scores perusal website.

    My advice to all students on placement? Make the most of all opportunities given to you and experience as much as possible of the organisation that you are in. Whilst I was based in the Promotions Department, I ensured that I spent time with the Editorial and Copyrights team in order to soak up as much of the company activity as possible. This led to completing projects for a number of colleagues, and I could then add this experience to my CV. More experience on your CV means you have more to show to future employers, and demonstrates that you have been proactive about widening your skillsets. In essence, the main asset of the placement year is that you leave University with one year’s solid work experience in addition to the three years of academic study. The other benefit is that it gives you a taste of the sector, so that you can make informed decisions about what path you want to take afterwards. On my placement year I discovered a love for researching and writing. These skills and interests are what I focussed on when applying for jobs after University. In addition, you form special relationships with colleagues who can become, in my case, great friends and mentors that help guide you after leaving University.

    The placement year was a great passport for my future success. It gave me the type of work experience, which made me stand out from the crowd after graduating. The placement year provided me with the insight I needed in order to make decisions about my future career. Most importantly it gave me a refined set of skills that have been so beneficial to securing employment – skills like professional communications, organisation, team-work, research, written communication. In the professional environment of the placement you can develop and fine-tune these skills ready for employment, but also for returning back to University for the final year of study. I am a big advocate of the professional training year. It’s great fun, definitely challenging, but ultimately so rewarding!

    (George Stewart, 4-year BMus, 2015 Surrey graduate)

     

    As another annual cycle of professional placements is set into motion, we look forward with passionate curiosity, admiration and enthusiasm to what our music students accomplish, and how they transform and blossom during their learning journey.

     

    • For various concert activities of the London Sinfonietta, see http://www.londonsinfonietta.org.uk/
    • For information about Faber Music Publising, see http://www.fabermusic.com/

    (28 September 2017, blog text by Dr. Georgia Volioti with Anastasia Megally-Cassar and George Stewart)

     

  • Odaline de la Martinez graduated from the University of Surrey with a MMus in 1977 and has pursued a demanding and successful international career as a composer, conductor and producer.

    Martinez was the first female in history to conduct a complete BBC Prom at the Royal Albert Hall. She is internationally recognised for her promotion of Latin-American and contemporary composers.

    She has been the artistic director of contemporary music ensemble Lontano which she founded in 1976. She founded the LORELT record label in 1992 and in 2016 conducted the first complete recording of Ethel Smyth’s The Boatswain’s Mate by Retrospect Opera.

    Martinez grew up in the USA studying at Tulane University, New Orleans, where she read both music and mathematics. Following the award of a Marshall Scholarship, she continued her studies in Europe. Martinez attended the Royal Academy of Music where she studied composition with Paul Patterson and piano with Else Cross. At the University of Surrey she studied with Reginald Smith Brindle before graduating with her MMus in Composition.

    Martinez has worked with orchestras across the world, recorded extensively and conducted repertoire from Mozart symphonies to the latest contemporary music. She has received numerous awards including a Guggenheim Fellowship (USA), and won the Opera Award for Female Composers in 2015. Her first opera, Sister Aimee: An American Legend (1984), was premiered at Tulane University in 1984 followed by two other productions at the Royal College of Music (1987) and Marin County College, California (1995).

    Her second opera Imoinda  (2005-2008) was commissioned by the Caribbean Women Writers’ Alliance (CWWA) with funds from the Heritage Lottery Fund, UK. The Crossing, the final instalment in her Slavery Opera Trilogy, was commissioned by Tulane University and premiered in New Orleans in April 2013, whilst she was there as composer in residence. This work received a UK premiere in November 2014 at the opening concert of The Fifth London Festival of American Music.

    In 2015 Martinez was awarded an Opera America grant to produce a video of Imoinda. More recently, in 2016, she received a Women Make Music grant from the PRS for Music Foundation toward the writing of her next opera, Plantation.

    Martinez is in demand throughout the world both as an orchestral and opera conductor and with her own ensemble, Lontano. She has recorded numerous CDs for LORELT, her own record label, as well as Summit, BMI and Albany Records based in the United States, Chandos, Metier and Conifer Classics based in the UK and Da Capo in Denmark.

    As a musician, Martinez has acquired a remarkable reputation for her versatile and eclectic vision, and her supreme ability to work with others to make that vision a reality.

    In 2016, Martinez was the first recipient of the Vice-Chancellor’s Alumni Lifetime Achievement Award at the University of Surrey.

    What attracted you to choose to study at music at Surrey?

    It was because of Reginald Smith Brindle who was a professor at Surrey, a composer and a well-known writer about contemporary music across the world. There was no other choice for me – I always say in this regard that Surrey chose me. He was excellent and one of the best teachers I have ever had.

    How did your musical career progress?

    At around the same time as joining Surrey, I founded, with flautist Ingrid Culliford, Lontano, a London-based contemporary music ensemble. I realised that people had very little knowledge of the diversity of contemporary music and I wanted to make the work of women composers, in particular, and Latin-American music more widely known. Women composers didn’t really get a look in and I thought here’s my chance to make a difference.

    Lontano became successful very quickly; within a year we were performing on BBC Radio 3 while still students. I started out as a pianist at Lontano but I always knew I wanted to be a conductor and it has enabled me to have a great career working all over the world.

    I am still artistic director at Lontano and, as well as performing all over the world and recording, we are also dedicated to providing valuable music experiences for children and adults in East and South-East London. We aim to reach the most deprived and isolated communities, bringing people together through the creation and performance of original music.

    Our flagship education programme, Connections, has been running since 2008 with the aim of celebrating Gypsy Roma Traveller music and culture. We work with children across London as well as musicians of Gypsy Roma Traveller heritage in order to encourage community cohesion amongst people of all backgrounds.

    What are your career highlights?

    In 1984, I became the first woman to conduct a complete BBC Prom at the Royal Albert Hall. I was surprised and delighted but at the same time sad that it had taken so long – to think that not one woman had been asked before.

    I am inspired by the work of Ethel Smyth, the first female composer to receive a Damehood, in 1922.  For years Ethel was remembered more for her work as suffragette than as a composer but she wrote in the brightest, largest scope, which was not common for women. She was a close friend of conductors, composers and soloists of the time and in later life wrote about them when deafness prevent her from composing.

    I have recorded a lot of her music and conducted the first modern recording of her comic opera The Boatswain’s Mate.

    One of my highlights was receiving the Villa Lobos medal in 1987 from the Brazilian government for championing the music of Heitor Villa Lobos and other Brazilian composers.

    How did you feel to be named as our first winner of the Vice-Chancellor’s Alumni Lifetime Achievement Award?

    I was delighted, honoured, humbled and surprised.

    What are your aspirations for the future?

    I am really looking forward to the premiere of my complete ‘Slavery Trilogy’, at the London Festival of American Music in 2018.  To my knowledge, it is the first Afro-Cuban opera on slavery.

    I love Afro-Cuban music. It brings back memories of my childhood, falling asleep to the drumming and waking up when it stopped in the middle of the night. It has influenced me greatly.

    I have one more opera in me and it will be about Cuba. I want to tell the story of the people who tried to escape to the US in boats and rafts, not always succeeding. I would also like to perform the Slavery Trilogy in the country which inspired it.

    What advice would you give to students hoping to work in your field?

    As a career, music can be very up and down but stick with it. Don’t wait for someone to give you a break, just carry on.

Watch our videos

Arts events at Surrey

  • Arts
  • Performance

University of Surrey Chamber Choir

  • Saturday 25 Nov. 2017

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  • Performance

Dance Maze

  • Tuesday 05 Dec. 2017

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  • Performance

University of Surrey Orchestra and Choir

  • Sunday 10 Dec. 2017

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Highlights

Alumni Profile: Odaline de la Martinez

Internationally recognised composer, conductor, producer and winner of the Vice-Chancellor's Lifetime Achievement Award 2016

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Tonmeister trio up for American TV awards

Once again alumni from our famous Tonmeister course have been shortlisted for this year’s Emmy Awards which honour the best in US prime-time television.

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Emmy-winning 'Sherlock' composer joins Surrey's Tonmeister teaching team

Award-winning screen composer and Tonmeister graduate Michael Price returns to the department as a Visiting Professor.

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BBC Radio 3's Sarah Walker announces winner of Joyce Dixey Competition 2017

Musical diversity and engagement showcased by students of the Department of Music and Media.

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International conference hosted in PATS: Writing About Contemporary Artists

An international, multi-disciplinary three-day conference was hosted this October at the University of Surrey.

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