Music is everywhere in the world around us; it is part of all of our lives, whether we play it, actively listen to it, or hear it in passing. At Oxford, we study music by reading, listening, performing and composing. We create music in all its aspects – acoustic, electronic, individually and communally, working with world-class professionals and with local communities. We investigate, through analysis, the relationships within a piece of music, and between that piece and its genre and context. Throughout the course, you will be exposed to music of all kinds and in all contexts: Western classical, popular music, musics of other cultures, community music, seeing these musics in terms of their history (and how that history has been shaped over time), social context, and psychology.
Why study Music?
Welcome to the Music Faculty: introductory talk
Professor Martyn Harry presents the Music BA in detail, including how to apply and opportunities outside for performing and composing alongside the course.
Tour of the faculty
The Faculty building houses practice rooms, electronic music and recording studios, and one of the best music libraries in any British university. The world-famous Bate Collection of Musical Instruments, housed in the faculty, lends historical instruments to students. The faculty also has a gamelan orchestra.
Join us for a whistle-stop tour of the Music Faculty building on St Aldate’s in Oxford. This is where students have lectures, seminars and tutorials, get books from the library, make music in the studios, and rehearse in the practice block.
The course is broadly based but allows increasing specialisation and choice as you proceed. Whether you’re a performer, a composer, a budding scholar of psychology, history, sociology or education, the Music course offers something for you. Students graduate as mature and well-rounded musicians with an informed and lively sense of the contemporary study and practice of the subject, and the ways in which music contributes to society more broadly.
Music at Oxford University
Professor Suzanne Aspden and Tim, one of our former students, talk about the undergraduate degree.
Introducing Historical Musicology: a taster lecture
Dr Joanna Bullivant (Departmental lecturer at St Catherine’s College) hosts a taster lecture.
New Music Curriculum
Oxford seeks to attract the best and brightest applicants irrespective of background. We encourage and welcome applications from all kinds of candidates, whatever their age, nationality or schooling. There is no such thing as an ‘Oxford type’: the only two essential criteria are a dedication to and passion for your subject, and a dedication to learning. If you think you meet these criteria, then we are interested in you, and you should seriously be considering applying to us!
The Faculty of Music admits students with a range of qualifications including international examinations. The Faculty of Music prides itself on being inclusive and diverse.
No matter what your background, if you are a promising musician, you should consider applying to Oxford. Hear more from current and past students here.
Oxford University Music Society
The Oxford University Music Society was founded in 1872, making it one of Oxford’s oldest and most prestigious societies. It was founded to promote the appreciation and performance of music within the University. Music students Ellen and Joseph tell us a
Alongside Oxford University Music Society there are numerous musical groups and clubs you can join. Read here about one such ensemble, the Donut Kings.
Since its inception in 2001, The Donut Kings has been at the forefront of the Oxford University music circuit. An independent student-run ensemble, the band performs extensively across the city at a variety of functions and events and has garnered a reputation for musical excellence and professionalism.
Every year The Donut Kings makes a strong appearance at College balls and society functions, in addition to termly concerts and a good relationship with the university’s Jazz Society. Notable performances in recent years include Kenny Wheeler’s ‘Sweet Time Suite’ at the Sheldonian Theatre, and a bespoke arrangement of Don Ellis’ epic ballad ‘Invincible’. In addition to student and college events, the band gets involved in a wide variety of gigs such as weddings, jazz festivals, and the occasional tour! Last year (2019) saw us performing in Lyon and Bilbao, including iconic venues such as Kafe Antzokia, and the band has previously been on tour to Bangladesh, Jersey, and Canada. Three albums have also been recorded by the band, with plans for more in the future. While the short-term future of performing ensembles during the COVID-19 lockdown is somewhat unclear, the band is currently maintaining a healthy online presence through virtual performances such as this, our rendition of Sammy Nestico’s fantastic song ‘Who’s Sorry Now?’ featuring our lead trombonist James Liebrecht (not pictured) and pianist Liam Gesoff.
The band will be auditioning for new players at the start of the academic year, so if you think you might be interested in auditioning to become part of Oxford’s sweetest big band sound please send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org, or message the band’s Facebook page. We hope to see you soon!
Danny Riley Musical Director, The Donut Kings
Missed the livestreams from the Virtual Open Day? Watch them below.
Live Q&A with Current Students
Live Session with Professor Martyn Harry
Musical clubs and societies
The University of Oxford offers a range of opportunities for performance, from Ensemble ISIS, who play new works by world-class composers, to the Oxford Gamelan Society. Many colleges also have their own choirs, music societies and ensembles.
The Oxford University Music Society (OUMS) aims to encourage mass participation in music. As well as co-ordinating many auditioned ensembles, including the flagship Oxford University Orchestra, the society runs two non-auditioning ensembles – the Student Chorus and the University Brass Band. In addition, OUMS is looking to play a big part in improving and increasing the provision of college music so that everyone, whatever their skill, can get involved.
Ustad Rahat Fateh Ali Khan gives a masterclass for students and the public at the Faculty of Music.
The Villers Quartet explain how they work with the Music Faculty.
Missed our livestreams from our July Virtual Open Days? Watch them below.