Music at Cambridge
Over recent decades many of the most significant figures in British music have studied or taught at Cambridge: composers such as Alexander Goehr, Judith Weir and Thomas Adès; performers like Joanna MacGregor and Thomas Trotter; and conductors including John Eliot Gardiner, Christopher Hogwood and Edward Gardner.
Our undergraduate course has a strong academic component, particularly focusing on history, analysis, composition (including screen and media composition) and performance, but also offering a range of other topics (see the course outline).
Facilities and resources
As well as providing a location for lectures, seminars and research activities, the modern Faculty building also houses:
- a professional concert hall (seating 500)
- an extensive library of music, books, periodicals and recordings
- a purpose-built studio
- music computing laboratories
Students can borrow period instruments and make use of the Faculty’s Javanese gamelan. The Faculty organises a weekly Composers’ Workshop, open to all students, and also supports the New Music Ensemble’s work.
In addition, the Faculty hosts several resident ensembles (the Endellion String Quartet, Britten Sinfonia and Academy of Ancient Music) which perform regularly and offer masterclasses, coaching and further composition workshops for students.
These facilities and resources are complemented by the University Library and by the libraries, practice rooms and computer suites available in Colleges. College funds are available for instrumental or vocal lessons for those taking a performance course – support varies between Colleges so request details from individual Colleges.
Additional course costs
There are no compulsory additional course costs. Students taking performance options will require instrumental/vocal teaching, for which financial support is guaranteed through the Colleges at the following minimum levels: 1st year - £420; 2nd year - £540; 3rd year - £700.
Music books and scores are available in the libraries in Cambridge (in the Faculty, Colleges, and/or University Library). Students may purchase their own copies of some books and study scores to have to hand when needed, but this is not compulsory. For full details of optional costs, including sources of funding, see the Music Faculty website.
To be able to change course, you need the agreement of your College that any change is in your educational interests, and you must have the necessary background in the subject to which you wish to change – in some cases you may be required to undertake some catch-up work or take up the new course from the start/an earlier year. If you think you may wish to change course, we encourage you to contact a College admissions office for advice. You should also consider if/how changing course may affect any financial support arrangements.
While most students studying Music take both Parts of the course, undergraduates who have successfully completed one Part of another course and are suitably qualified can transfer to Music at the beginning of Part IB.
Music graduates are extremely attractive to employers and can follow a career in almost any field thanks to the transferable skills they acquire on our course.
Many of our students do enter the music profession in one guise or another. Recent graduates include pianist Tom Poster, who performs regularly at the Proms, and Robin Ticciati, now the Principal Conductor of the Scottish Chamber Orchestra. Other recent graduates have pursued successful careers in publishing and the media, academia, arts administration, banking, law, public service and the charity sector.