MUSIC SOCIETY ENSEMBLES

The University of Birmingham Music Society has many ensembles to get involved in; whether you're an instrumental player or a vocalist there's always something to get stuck into! You must be a member of the society to join these ensembles.

AUDITIONED ENSEMBLES

Auditions for these ensembles will be held at the beginning of each academic year. General instrumental and Jazz Orchestra auditions take place separately. 

 
  • Jazz Orchestra

    The UoB Jazz Orchestra is the University’s premier auditioned jazz ensemble, creatively directed by Jonathan Silk. It explores contemporary music written for large jazz ensemble, working on theme based projects over the course of the academic year. In the 2018/19 season the ensemble took on the challenge of interpreting Kenny Wheeler’s Sweet Time Suite and Jim McNeely’s East Coast Blowout albums in the Autumn term - performing these in at concert at the CBSO Centre - and then worked alongside guest artist Iain Ballamy in the Spring term to present a concert of his own tunes arranged by Malcolm Edmonstone in the Bramall Concert Hall. Previous guest artists have included stellar, world renowned musicians such as Bobby Shrew, Stan Sulzmann and Mark Lockheart.

    DIRECTOR

    Jonathan Silk

    REHEARSALS

    Tuesday 7.30 – 9.30pm

    The Dome

    LOCATION

    MANAGER

    Peter Batchelar

  • Philharmonic Orchestra

    The Philharmonic Orchestra is a full sized symphony orchestra conducted by Daniele Rosina. We typically look for players with Grade 7 and above. Rehearsals take place twice a week, and two concerts are given each year. Some recent repetoire has included Saint-Saens' Symphony No. 3 (The "Organ" Symphony) and Sibelius' Symphony No. 2.

    DIRECTOR

    Daniele Rosina

    REHEARSALS

    Monday 5 – 7.30pm & Wednesday 3 – 6pm

    Elgar Concert Hall

    LOCATION

    MANAGER

    Emma Brown

  • Symphony Orchestra

    The Symphony Orchestra has a standard size of over 70 talented players, across the Strings, Woodwinds, Brass, and Percussion sections. The Orchestra has a large variety of repertoire, from Symphonies such as Ralph Vaughan Williams's A London Symphony, Symphonic Poems like Camille Saint-Saëns's Danse Macarbe, to Concertos like Saint-Saëns's Cello Concerto in A minor. In Spring 2019, the Orchestra played a collection of music pieces from French composers - Hector Berlioz, Paul Dukas, Gabriel Fauré, and Saint-Saëns.

    DIRECTOR

    Daniele Rosina

    REHEARSALS

    Thursday 6 – 9pm

    The Dome

    LOCATION

    MANAGER

    Isabella Bartlett

UNAUDITIONED ENSEMBLES

These ensembles do not require you to audition to join. If you want to sign up, we will only require you to be committed, and bring along your instrument or voice!

  • Brass Band

    DIRECTOR

    REHEARSALS

    Stuart Birnie

    Wednesday 7.30 – 9.30pm

    LOCATION

    The Dome

    Brass Band is a really friendly and sociable ensemble that welcomes brass and percussion players of all abilities. Conducted by Stuart Birnie, we have performed a variety of pieces in past concerts, from classic brass band repertoire such as A London Overture and A Downland Suite, to a xylophone duet for brass band and fun arrangements of music from the Incredibles and Chicken Run! We play in two concerts a year, as well as in the university’s Summer Festival of Music. Brass Band also takes part in UniBrass, the annual university brass band competition, where we came 6th in 2020 with the award for best percussion.

    MANAGER

    Hannah Beech

  • Chamber Choirs

    DIRECTOR

    REHEARSALS

    Student Conducted

    Thursday 7 – 8.15pm (SSA) & 8.15 – 9.30pm (SATB)

    LOCATION

    Aston Webb Main LT

    The society runs two chamber choirs - SATB and SSA - which both hold two concerts each year. The ensemble is student conducted, and we perform a mixture of small scale sacred and secular music. All singers are welcome in our chamber choirs, whatever your previous experience may be.

    MANAGER

    Emily Sampson and Emily Peak

  • Chamber Music Network

    DIRECTOR

    REHEARSALS

    -

    Private ensemble rehearsals

    LOCATION

    The Dome

    Our Chamber Music Network gives students the opportunity to be part of a variety of chamber ensembles, and perform in two annual concerts. You can set up your own small ensemble, or join a pre-existing group. For more information, please contact the Chamber Ensemble Managers.

    MANAGER

    Curtis Vetter and Reuben Tozer-Loft

  • Chorus

    DIRECTOR

    REHEARSALS

    Julian Wilkins

    Tuesday 7 – 9.30pm

    LOCATION

    Elgar Concert Hall

    University Chorus is the largest vocal ensemble at the University, consisting of approximately 200 singers. We are conducted by Julian Wilkins, and perform a range of choral repertoire in two concerts every year. Anyone is welcome to join chorus, no matter how much experience you have; simply turn up and have a good sing!

    MANAGER

    Alice Britton & Abigail Davies

  • Clarinet Choir

    DIRECTOR

    REHEARSALS

    Student Conducted

    Sunday 7.30 – 8.30pm

    LOCATION

    The Dome

    Clarinet Choir is a relatively new ensemble and welcomes players of any ability. We rehearse once a week, are conducted by students and perform two concerts a year. Recent repertoire includes The Sorcerer's Apprentice, Albeniz' Cadiz and Danse Macabre.

    MANAGER

    Naomi Guest

  • Creative Exchange

    DIRECTOR

    REHEARSALS

    Student Conducted

    Various

    LOCATION

    TBC

    New for the 2019/20 academic year, Creative Exchange is a collective for those interested in exploring contemporary repertoire, workshopping student compositions, and playing improvised/open score pieces – the only rule is that anything goes! Featuring workshops led by contemporary musician Jack McNeill and guest performers alongside student led rehearsals, this is the perfect opportunity to try new ideas and broaden your musical horizons. Recent projects include collaborating with BEAST on the (socially distanced) UK premiere of ‘A New Ocean’ by Christopher Fox, student solo compositions and the premiere of Helen Cordina’s PLASTIC for open instrumentation, loop pedal and single-use plastic as part of the University Summer Festival of Music!

    MANAGER

    Lizzie Knatt

  • Flute Choir

    DIRECTOR

    REHEARSALS

    Student Conducted

    Wednesday 1 – 2pm

    LOCATION

    Frankland Rehearsal Studio

    The Flute Choir is one of the society's newest ensembles, having recently been created due to high demand. We are a small group looking for flute players of all abilities. The ensemble is conducted by student conductors, and takes part in two concerts per year.

    MANAGER

    Katie Ratcliffe

  • Gamelan Ensemble

    DIRECTOR

    REHEARSALS

    Andy Channing

    Various Weekend Sessions

    LOCATION

    -

    The Gamelan Ensemble is a student-led group for learning and performing Balinese gamelan gong kebyar. Workshops are ran by Gamelan specialist Dr. Andrew Channing, alongside student-led rehearsals. All are welcome and absolutely no previous experience is required.

    MANAGER

  • Jazz Collective

    DIRECTOR

    REHEARSALS

    Jonathan Silk

    Private band rehearsals plus Friday evening workshops

    LOCATION

    The Dome

    Jazz Collective gives talented jazz musicians within the University a chance to form smaller ensembles, performing a range of repertoire from well known standards to arrangements and compositions by students. There are many performance opportunities offered through Jazz Collective, in venues across Birmingham.

    MANAGER

    Seb Rolley

  • Samba Band

    DIRECTOR

    REHEARSALS

    -

    Various Weekend Sessions

    LOCATION

    The Dome

    The Samba Band is new for 2018 and gave its first performance at the Birmingham Prom in June. No previous experience or specific musical ability is required to become a member of the ensemble - simply show your interest by signing up during Welcome Week.

    MANAGER

    Rebecca Snoad

  • Saxophone Choir

    DIRECTOR

    REHEARSALS

    Student Conducted

    Friday 5 – 7pm

    LOCATION

    The Dome

    The Saxophone Choir is an ensemble conducted by students available for alto, tenor, baritone and soprano players. It welcomes saxophone players of all abilities and performs a variety of works from popular hits to well-known classical compositions, taking part in two concerts per year. Recent repertoire has included Holst’s Fantasia on the Dargason and Karen Street’s Tango.

    MANAGER

    Ed Commander

  • String Orchestra

    DIRECTOR

    REHEARSALS

    Student Conducted

    Sunday 5 – 7pm

    LOCATION

    The Dome

    String orchestra is a newly formed student conducted group aiming to play a variety of classic and contemporary repertoire. Recent rep has included Grieg's Holberg suite and Elgar's serenade for strings. Come along if you're interested, we welcome string players of all abilities.

    MANAGER

    Caitlin Lobo

  • Wind Band

    DIRECTOR

    REHEARSALS

    Student Conducted

    Monday 7.45 – 10pm

    LOCATION

    Elgar Concert Hall

    Wind Band is an ensemble open to wind, brass and percussion players of all abilities. The band is the largest group in the Music Society and has a friendly and social atmosphere. Wind Band gives players the opportunity to develop as musicians, whether they are new to ensemble playing or are veteran windband players. As a Wind Band member you will be able to attend general music society socials as well as socials just for the band. Our typical repertoire, selected by our wonderful student conductors, ranges from traditional wind band pieces such as Holst’s Second Suite for Military Band in F Major; more contemporary works such as Philip Sparkes Jubilee Overture; as well as orchestral such as William Walton’s Spitfire Prelude and Fugue. This opens up a diverse variety of pieces that offers every player something that they will enjoy.

    MANAGER

    Eleanor Rees and TBC

 

UNIVersity music ENSEMBLES

Auditions for these ensembles will be held at the beginning of each academic year. 

  • University Women's Choir

    University Women’s Choir was founded by Professor Simon Halsey CBE in 2013 to accommodate and nurture the wealth of strong women’s voices at the University. Through their first year they quickly made a name for themselves, placing 1st position in the Female Choirs Competition and securing a place in the Choir of the World final at the International Music Eisteddfod. Conducted by Jack Apperley, the University Women’s Choir have performed in the Elgar Concert Hall, Symphony Hall, Worcester Cathedral, and the Royal Albert Hall. In 2015 they worked with Juice Vocal Ensemble on a programme of contemporary women’s repertoire, including compositions by UoB Composition Fellow Dr Daria Kwiatowksa. In recent years they have focussed on celebrating historic and contemporary women composers, including Elizabeth Poston, Cecilia McDowall, and Janet Wheeler. UWC has appeared under the baton of many distinguished conductors, including Patrick Barrett, Simon Carrington, and Simon Halsey. Recent projects have included commissioning of new music by Paul Mealor, and a premiere performance of the complete set of new choral works, written especially for upper voices, published by Oxford University Press.

    DIRECTOR

    Jack Apperley

    REHEARSALS

    Monday 7.45 – 10pm

    Aston Webb Main LT

    LOCATION

    MANAGER

    Gavin Allsop

  • University Staff Singers

    Founded in 2016, University Staff Singers offers members of staff at the University the opportunity to get involved in music-making in their lunch break. With no requirement for prior experience or the ability to read music the choir is a fun opportunity for all staff to give singing a try under the training of the MA Choral Conducting students from the Music Department. The choir rehearses on Thursday afternoons in term time from 1230 at the Barber Institute of Fine Arts.

    DIRECTOR

    MA Conducting Students

    REHEARSALS

    Thursday 12.30 – 1.30pm

    Barber Institute of Fine Arts

    LOCATION

    MANAGER

    Gavin Allsop

  • University Camerata

    University Camerata is specially selected choir of up to 40 voices, created to work with the MA Choral Conducting students, under the supervision of Professor Simon Halsey CBE and University Chorus Director, Julian Wilkins. They rehearse once a week, focusing particularly on singing and conducting technique. Working with up to four conductors, Camerata is a great platform for exploring a large variety of choral repertoire.

    DIRECTOR

    MA Conducting Students

    REHEARSALS

    Monday 5 – 7pm

    The Dome

    LOCATION

    MANAGER

    Gavin Allsop

  • University of Birmingham Voices

    University of Birmingham Voices rehearse in the spring term for an annual performance alongside the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra in Symphony Hall. This symphonic choir is a chorus of approximately 120 students, including singers from Birmingham University Singers, University Women’s Choir, and University Camerata. Performances to date have included a Gilbert & Sullivan Gala (2014) and Opera Choruses Gala (2015), a revue show of the music of Rodgers & Hammerstein (2016), and a critically acclaimed concert production of Gilbert & Sullivan’s The Yeomen of the Guard (2017). In 2019 they collaborated with CBSO Chorus in a massed performance of Walton’s Belshazzar’s Feast with the orchestra and John Wilson. University of Birmingham Voices remain in high demand and – alongside other vocal ensembles at the university – have returned to perform at the BBC Proms on a number of occasions in recent years. Highlights include three performances of Elgar’s The Dream of Gerontius with Sir Simon Rattle and the Vienna Philharmonic in Birmingham, London, and Lucerne, as well as a performance of Verdi’s Messa da Requiem with the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment and Marin Alsop at the penultimate night of the festival in 2016. In 2017, the choir opened the Proms season with BBC Proms Youth Choir and Edward Gardner in a live televised performance of John Adams’s Harmonium.

    DIRECTOR

    Simon Halsey & Julian Wilkins

    REHEARSALS

    Bespoke Project Schedules

    The Dome

    LOCATION

    MANAGER

    Gavin Allsop

  • New Music Ensemble

    The hand-picked New Music Ensemble is University Music's contemporary music group. Directed by Daniele Rosina, Director of Orchestral Studies, this ensemble presents new works by student and staff composers, as well as commissioning UK-wide composers. New Music Ensemble featured in the University's CrossCurrents music festival.

    DIRECTOR

    Daniele Rosina

    REHEARSALS

    Tuesday 5 – 7pm

    The Dome

    LOCATION

    MANAGER

    -

  • Centre for Early Music Performance and Research (CEMPR)

    If you are interested in early music and would like to study on a period instrument or take vocal lessons with one of our specialist teachers, then you can join the activities of the Centre for Early Music Performance and Research. With a focus on period performance practice, CEMPR co-ordinates a number of ensembles who receive coaching from some of the leading professionals in the field and give concerts throughout the year.

    DIRECTOR

    Professor Andrew Kirkman

    REHEARSALS

    Bespoke Schedule

    Bramall Music Building

    LOCATION

    MANAGER

    -

  • Birmingham University Singers

    BUS is a mixed chamber choir of up to 45 auditioned singers directed by Bob Chilcott. Since its inception, the choir has gained a national reputation as one of the finest university choirs in the UK. Rehearsing weekly and performing a wide and varied repertoire, the choir usually gives two concerts per year in the Elgar Concert Hall, plus a performance in Symphony Hall, Birmingham as part of University of Birmingham Voices. Their annual Festival of Lessons and Carols at St Michael’s, Tenbury, is a highlight of the academic year. In recent years BUS has sung in Tewkesbury Abbey, Worcester, Gloucester, Oxford Cathedral’s, Clare College (Cambridge), the Royal Albert Hall, and Llangollen International Music Eisteddfod. Over the years BUS have had the opportunity to work with professional vocal ensembles, such as The Sixteen, Binchois Consort, Tenebrae, and Voces8. The choir has also developed a noted international reputation, having given concerts in Germany, Czech Republic, and Poland. BUS will return to Europe in the summer of 2020 for their biennial tour. BUS has appeared under the baton of many distinguished guest conductors including Simon Carrington, Simon Halsey, and Mirga Gražinytė-Tyla. Recent collaborations have included performances with Jeffrey Douma and Yale Glee Club, Nigel Short and Tenebrae, and the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra.

    DIRECTOR

    Bob Chilcott

    REHEARSALS

    Monday 7.45pm – 10pm

    The Dome

    LOCATION

    MANAGER

    Gavin Allsop

  • Birmingham Symphonic Brass

    This brass dectet offers symphonic brass players the opportunity to perform core repertoire with organ as part of the University Degree Ceremonies and other high profile events. They recently played for the installation ceremony to formally welcome the University’s new Chancellor. The ensemble also perform regular concerts.

    DIRECTOR

    Stephen Roberts

    REHEARSALS

    Alternate Friday evenings

    Bramall Music Building

    LOCATION

    MANAGER

    -

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