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Let your musical journey take flight at York

University Symphony Orchestra concert‌‌

Come to York and experience the creative buzz of our internationally respected Department of Music.

Our students are responsible for a wealth of music making world-wide. Ranging from commissions for high-profile European contemporary music ensembles to the production of advanced multimedia gallery installations, our students continue to break new creative ground internationally.

We were rated ‘excellent’ in the last Teaching Quality Assessment, and in the last Research Assessment Exercise we were placed in the ten top Music departments nationally. Among our alumni are some of the nation's highest regarded broadcasters, composers, scholars and performers. Around 35 per cent of our Music students go on to further study, while others choose a broad range of music-related careers. Recent examples include Music Outreach Officer for University of Cambridge, Studio Engineer for Richmond Studio Productions, Assistant Director of Music for St Peter’s School York and Marketing Intern for the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra.1

York is the first choice for Performance and Composition. James Whittle, who graduated from York and is now in his first year as a PhD student in composition, says: “There is a fantastic, creative atmosphere in the Department of Music and a sort of camaraderie that runs throughout, from first year undergraduates to postgraduates, lectures and support staff.” 

The course at York is based on rigorous scholarly and practical enquiry. We are looking for composers with outstanding individuality, and the highest standards of performers to take part in a thriving and energetic music community which has no equal in the UK.

Our undergraduates also have the opportunity to study abroad for one or two terms as part of the ERASMUS Scheme in institutions such as the Sibelius Academy in Helsinki and the Ruprecht Karls Universität in Heidelberg.

William Descrettes‌William Descrettes, a third year music student at York, is currently making plans for the future, and has been learning German as he hopes to go on to a masters at a conservatoire in Berlin.

William says of the Department:

“Everyone knows everyone; from first years to final years to PhDs, all the staff and students are really friendly. You have to work together all the time. It’s not like you have to make an effort – it just happens. Effortlessly.”

The Music degree programme is taught through a series of modules known as ‘projects’. Each term undergraduates can select from a wide range of choices in the areas of composition, musicology and analysis, performance, music technology, jazz and improvised music, and ethnomusicology.

Variety is something that characterises the Music degree programme, and this extends to opportunities to perform. Will says, “I’m really into performance and playing music, and there are so many ensembles you can be involved with.”

In addition to ensembles within the department, there are a wealth of music societies for students to join, ranging from the Opera Society, the Concert Band, and the Concert Orchestra, to the University Brass Band and the Revelation Rock Gospel Choir.

If you are interested in a music degree at York, please visit the Department of Music’s website, or come to one of our Open Days.

Further information

  • You can keep in touch with the Department of Music via Twitter
  • See more on applying to the Department of Music and scholarships
  • The Department hosts a lively and varied concert programme throughout the year, with public performances on campus and across the city.
  • [1] Career examples are for first degree, full-time students (data from 2010/11) and further study data is from 2009/10 and 2010/11.