Kerry Andrew

What York does extremely well is offer the resources, teaching and time for students to experiment, discover their voice, and find a niche: something rather important in a climate where just being an excellent violinist/pianist/soprano just won't cut it.

I wouldn't be where I am now without the Department of Music at York, where I did a BA degree in Music, an MA in Composition, and a PhD in Composition.

I was introduced by my brilliant composition tutor Roger Marsh to the work of Meredith Monk and experimental music theatre by the likes of Luciano Berio, Georges Aperghis and Kagel. I threw myself into practical projects and directing (musically directing the Japanese Kabuki project will stay with me and my peers forever!); I discovered a whole world of unusual vocal music. I was granted a licence to really do what the hell I wanted! What York does extremely well is offer the resources, teaching and time for students to experiment, discover their voice, and find a niche: something rather important in a climate where just being an excellent violinist/pianist/soprano just won't cut it.

The Music Department at York is the root and heart of a large community of professional musicians; it still amazes me how often I meet someone who studied music at York, and when we find this common ground, there's a mutual understanding and respect! So many of the musicians I work with regularly are old Yorkies. Some of my peers – now successful professionals – are 'cellists who do art pop and dance, composers who also have rave reviews for their electronica EPs and collaborate with Hot Chip, and composers who play jazz piano, perform award-winning folk and are about to write new work for an opera company for homeless people. As for me, well I do a whole load of experimental vocal music, choral commissions, wild swimming operas, libretto-writing, folk songs with a loop station, jazz singing, and the odd leftfield a cappella Guns 'n' Roses cover.

Doing some community music and music education modules was also invaluable, and laid foundations for my passion for making music for, and with, people of all ages and abilities, such as creating an online composing game (screech.handelhouse.org) whilst I was Composer-in-Residence at Handel House Museum, or writing a community opera for Wigmore Hall, including 140 amateur performers aged 8 to 80. I wholeheartedly recommend York to inquisitive musicians who want to explore, who don't necessarily know exactly what they want to do yet, but would love to find out.