There are excellent performing opportunities for students at Newcastle and we support many different kinds of activities, reflecting the specially eclectic and all-embracing ideals of our musical interests. Many are led or supported by members of staff, but we also encourage and support students in developing and organising groups and activities themselves.
ICMuS has a body of around a hundred highly-qualified and experienced specialist professional instrumental and vocal tutors, many of whom are leading classical, folk, jazz, and popular musicians (including members of the internationally acclaimed Northern Sinfonia) who between them cover all the principal instrumental and vocal styles which students normally wish to study. The Performance Studies programmes at Newcastle are innovative and challenging, with an emphasis on combining first class one-to-one tuition with carefully structured training in different kinds of collective performance, providing a solid basis for successful musical practice in the future. At both undergraduate and postgraduate level, students get the chance to work alongside professional musicians and to perform in public and we run a lively programme of concerts, recitals and gigs throughout the academic year.
ICMuS has its own professional concert series every Thursday lunchtime during term-time, ’Live in the King’s Hall’, given by world-class professional musicians from a very wide range of music genres and to which entrance is free of charge. Later each Thursday afternoon there is a one-hour Student Performance where students have the chance to perform for, and listen to, their colleagues from all genres – folk, classical, contemporary, jazz and popular.
Staff-supervised ensembles include: a full Symphony Orchestra, Chamber Choir, Jazz Ensemble, Newcastle University Contemporary Music Ensemble, free improvisation group, folk choir and other traditional music bands, a brass group, North Indian classical music, a Salsa Band, the New Vocal Ensemble (with a repertoire from medieval to contemporary), a Viol Consort, rock bands, chamber music groups and many others. Other ensembles run by and for students include a jazz big band, a string orchestra and a wind orchestra. We have a good collection of instruments for student use, including orchestral percussion, drum kits, guitar amplifiers and PA equipment, several Steinway grand pianos, an organ, harpsichord and fortepiano and a number of other early music instruments including a set of viols, baroque bows and sackbuts.
You are also able to take advantage of the huge variety of excellent musical life outside the University, for example at The Sage Gateshead, where world class music of every kind is performed almost every day (and where students enjoy excellent concessionary ticket prices). The Sage Gateshead is home to the world-class Northern Sinfonia and to Folkworks . There are also dozens of other venues in the city, mostly within walking distance of the campus, where you can enjoy music of just about any kind, from excellent folk, jazz, rock, pop and free-improvisation to opera, world music, dance and theatre.
If you are a keen singer, your interests will be well catered for at ICMuS.
As with all performance activity, singing is overseen by Head of Performance, currently Catriona MacDonald. Under her oversight are the Head of Vocal Studies (Classsical) Faye Newton and Head of Vocal Studies (Vernacular) Catherine Stephens. The relevant Head of Studies will oversee your studies, starting with the allocation of a suitable singing tutor. You will find a repreesntative - but not exhaustive - list of current vocal tutors here. Singers of folk and traditional musics will have the opportunity to discuss their interests with Sandra Kerr and/or have tutor allocated by the Degree Programme Director of the Folk Degree, currently Agustín Fernández.
Performance opportunities range from solo recitals to participation in ensembles, large or small. ICMuS is home to Newcastle Bach Choir, founded in 1915 by the celebrated Newcastle-born composer WG Whittaker. We are also proud of New Vocal Ensemble, an elite group attracting the more dedicated singers at ICMuS and beyond, under the direction of Magnus Williamson. Folk singers join the Vocal Group under the direction of Sandra Kerr.
ICMuS is proud to work in association with Samling Academy providing opportunities to develop extraordinary singing talent and promoting high-profile performances of opera and other vocal practices.
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