• Deleuzabelli


    ‘Deleuzabelli Variations’ is a project that is part of ‘Music Experiment 21’, funded by the European Research Council, and led by Paulo de Assis. It presents a Deleuzian view of Beethoven op.120 through the presentation of a kaleidoscope of arrangements for ensemble and newly composed variations. David Gorton contributed Variations XII, XIII, & XIV, with first performances given by Paulo de Assis and the Hermes Ensemble in Antwerp and Ghent in 2015. Gorton’s Variations maintain many of the harmonic, rhythmic and gestural characters of Beethoven’s op.120, taking timbre as a starting point for compositional invention.

    Find out more about Deleuzabelli
  • Daniel-Ben Pienaar

    Daniel-Ben Pienaar

    In my complete Beethoven sonata cycle and my Schubert sonata cycle I took full responsibility for all aspects of the recording narrative: choosing a venue and piano; discussing and testing recorded sound with expert engineers; organising the sessions in a focused way in accordance with the artistic objectives for each movement; marking up my scores with key information for the producer; doing all the mapping and editing myself; discussing the post-production mixing with the engineers (and in the case of the Schubert disagreeing rather strongly, then working to find a satisfying solution); also deciding on images for the booklet and writing the booklet notes.

  • Dying Onstage: Holliger’s Cardiophonie

    Dying Onstage: Holliger’s Cardiophonie

    Christopher Redgate, David Gorton,
    Amy Blier-Carruthers

    This project considers subjectivity from the perspective of a ‘repertoire of possible choices’ (Cumming, 2000) in relation to Christopher Redgate’s performance of Holliger’s Cardiophonie for solo oboe with live heartbeat and electronics. We are examining the problems of recording such a work, thereby ‘fixing the fluidity’ of the live performance (Bayley 2010). How does one translate the theatrical and singular element of each performance of this work into sound for the recorded medium?

  • Amy Blier-Carruthers

    Amy Blier-Carruthers

    How does recording affect musicians’ performance, and how can we prepare students to be creatively in control and collaborate meaningfully in the recording studio?
    Amy Blier-Carruthers’ research into studio practices and the aesthetics of recording takes several forms, from comparing live performances and studio recordings using both analytical and ethnographic methods, through to an AHRC Digital Transformations project centred on creative experiments with ‘Classical Music Hyper-Production and Practice as Research’.

    More about the Professional Diploma
  • Roderick Chadwick

    Roderick Chadwick

    Roderick Chadwick recently recorded Sadie Harrison's Hidden Ceremonies I on Toccata Classics and Mihailo Trandafilovski's Ripple Effect on his album FIVE, released by American label Innova. The Trandafilovski reflects an ongoing commitment to spectrally-oriented music (see other discs of music by Alex Hills and Gloria Coates in my biography on this site), and the characterful Steinway at St Michael's Church Highgate was particularly well captured by Jonathan Haskell in this instance.

    This music does what spectral music (such as Grisey's Espaces) does best: it explores acoustic space to powerful, emotive effect.

    Listen to short samples
  • Studio Jazz

    Studio Jazz

    Jazz saxophonist and composer Matthew Herd has a keen interest in how music is currently recorded and released in the jazz community. His research focuses on his own experiences through recording and releasing a debut album with my seven-piece ensemble, "Seafarers". ‘By stretching the parameters of my previous studio encounters I hope to shed light on how album projects can be shaped to meet the specific needs of the artist. Much of my research will come from self-evaluation, studying recordings of band rehearsals, as well as an examination my own preparation to build an album.’

  • Impoverishment of recorded sounds

    Impoverishment of recorded sounds

    Timothy Tate, a student on the Masters of Music in Composition course, explores his fascination for obsolete recording technologies in an installation for the RAM Mainly New concert of Gavin Bryars' The Sinking of the Titanic on the 1st of March. Focusing on the idea of generation loss being a transformative process in the medium of 1/4” magnetic tape and reel-to-reel machines, Timothy’s installation will consist of a single tape loop looping around a melting ice cylinder. The reel-to-reel machine re-records the sound of a string quartet already present on the tape every time the tape makes a complete loop.

  • Recorded “violino d'amore”

    Recorded “violino d'amore”

    Gerardo Gozzi, PhD candidate in composition, is now working on the editing of the recording of his recent composition, Woven in time, for violin and tape. The role of the tape is to reproduce the effect of open resonance strings, as in the viola d'amore. The resonance strings of this imaginary “violino d'amore” keep detuning during the piece. In order to achieve the effect, short tracks must be triggered live by the player to match perfectly the part played on stage.

  • Menuhin: Journeys with a Violin

    Menuhin: Journeys with a Violin

    The Academy's Viotti Lecturer in Performance Studies, Peter Sheppard Skærved, and Academy Museum Curator Joanna Tapp have curated a new exhibition on Yehudi Menuhin, drawing on material from the Academy’s Foyle Menuhin Archive to coincide with the 2016 Menuhin Competition held at the Academy. The exhibition traces Menuhin’s intellectual and geographical travels and displays scores from his child prodigy days as well as behind-the-scenes photographs with his musical heroes Elgar and Enesco.

    Menuhin Exhibition
  • Permutations in Aldeburgh

    Permutations in Aldeburgh

    Permutations is a roaming performance artwork consisting of a new piece of music for violin by doctoral student Freya Waley-Cohen, written for and performed by Tamsin Waley-Cohen, and an architectural setting designed by Finbarr O’Dempsey & Andrew Skulina. Both the music and its setting are developed simultaneously, and the role of recording has been a vital component in the process. It is one of the most direct ways of communication between composer and architectural designers, and it also characterizes the musical medium of the artwork. The piece, consisting of 6 tracks recorded by the same player, will be divided into 6 speakers, each one played inside an adaptable acoustic chamber.

  • The Inner Life of the Cello: Finnissy’s Chi Mei Ricercari

    The Inner Life of the Cello: Finnissy’s Chi Mei Ricercari

    In November 2015 Neil Heyde and pianist Zubin Kanga, performed Michael Finnissy’s Chi Mei Ricercari (2013) on seven historic cellos from the Royal Academy’s collection. This unique event took place in the David Josefowitz Recital Hall.

    Michael Finnissy describes his piece as a ‘fantasy’ where the cellos ‘remember’ all the music they have ever played. In the coming months a video of the full performance will be posted, along with the text of Neil’s extended lecture exploring the ways composers and players (as well as makers) can be said to ‘build’ instruments.

  • Tartini-Crossing the Border/Being

    Tartini-Crossing the Border/Being

    In the summer of 2016 Peter Sheppard Skærved will create a 2-3 days ’in residence’ performance at Bergen’s historic Lepramuseet (in the 2016 Bergen International Festival). This will focus on 160 movements of Giuseppe Tartini’s 30 Sonate Piccole. This latest outcome of Peter’s long-term research into Tartini’s work, follows the critically-acclaimed recordings of the cycle (on the Toccata Classics label). This installation-style performance reflects on Tartini’s quotidian performances at the Basilica S.Antonio, Padua, transplanted to the extraordinary wooden chapel of this historic leprosy hospital.

    More about the Lepramuseet event
  • The Art of Remembering

    The Art of Remembering

    Olivia Sham has recently completed her PhD in Liszt performance which led to her debut album, Liszt: the Art of Remembering, a new release from Avie Records. The disc was recorded on three pianos - two historical (two Érards of the type Liszt would have performed on), and one modern. The instrument choice emphasised the album’s unusual programming, based on ‘remembering’ as a performance-compositional tool of Liszt’s. In focusing on particular genres/pieces, and how Liszt ‘re-composed’ them throughout his life, the instruments make the transitions between periods clear.

    Oliva Sham’s website
  • Classical flute and guitar project

    Classical flute and guitar project

    Doctoral student Noemi Gyori and guitarist Katalin Koltai have played together for over 15 years, aiming to broaden the standard flute and guitar repertoire. Their new project sets out to reshape the perception of the flute and guitar duo by presenting recital programmes featuring their own transcriptions of keyboard masterworks and historical publications; both specialities and original compositions from the 18th and 19th Centuries.

    Classical Flute and Guitar
  • Rubens Askenar: Zapateado

    Rubens Askenar: Zapateado

    I have been recently working in a cycle of pieces for guitar, originating the musical material mainly through the practical work with the instrument and the study and reconfiguration of specific techniques from both classical and flamenco guitar. One of the pieces of the cycle is a duo called Zapateado. The name came from the flamenco tap dance style in which the dancer creates specific types of percussion rhythms with the feet. In order to recreate and transform the shoes tap idea I used a very specific and unusual scordatura (E-E-E-E-E-E) which amplifies the guitar as a resonant body, where all the strings react sympathetically to the taping techniques on the wood of the guitar.

    Watch the duet
  • Ambika P3 Gallery

    Ambika P3 Gallery

    Music broadcaster and writer Paul Morley curates an evening of sound and installations at Ambika P3 Gallery, where Academy composers Freya Waley-Cohen, Timothy Tate, Rubens Askenar, Ashil Mistry and Daniel Ehrlich present audio-visual installations around Gavin Bryars’s work The Sinking of the Titanic.

    Rubens Askenar’s installation: Statesman. Or How to Sink a Titan. (Digital sculpture, flutes choir, gopichand and electronics)

    Watch Statesman
  • Timothy Tate’s installation

    Timothy Tate’s installation

    My installation consists of a single tape loop looping around a melting ice cylinder. The reel-to-reel machine re-records the sound of a string quartet every time the tape makes a complete loop. This process of continuous re-recording, and the resultant generation loss, gradually replaces the original sound with the inherent flaws of the reel-to-reel machine and the magnetic tape. The gradual melting of the ice and the sounds on the tape decaying represent the passage of time : an allegory of Bryars’s work’s concept.

  • Menuhin's Legacy on Film

    Menuhin's Legacy on Film

    To mark the centenary of Yehudi Menuhin’s birth, the Academy is presenting a series of interviews exploring the legendary violinist's life and legacy. Menuhin is seen through the lens of three critically-acclaimed film-makers: the violinist Bruno Monsaingeon, the broadcaster and biographer Humphrey Burton, and the author and film director Tony Palmer. From Monsaingeon’s reverential tribute to his teacher, to Palmer’s candid footage of Menuhin as family man, to Burton’s thorough, intimate knowledge of Menuhin’s career, these three film-makers shed light on various facets of Menuhin’s persona as concert violinist, educator, cross-cultural collaborator and social activist.

    Henry Wood Lectures: Palmer on Menuhin
  • Performing Charles Griffes

    Performing Charles Griffes

    Charles Griffes was one of the most important yet little understood American composers of the early 20th century. Griffes has frequently been compared to Debussy and Ravel and his eclectic artistic outlook has been a major point of fascination. However, Griffes’s music has rarely been considered on its own terms.

    Second-year doctoral student Abigail Sin’s research project examines what makes Griffes – and by extension performing Griffes – unique. She is documenting her performance practice of Griffes’s piano music, which could serve as a model for other performers exploring similarly challenging repertoire.

    Watch Griffes’s Piano Sonata
  • 100 Years of the Beare Bow Prize

    100 Years of the Beare Bow Prize

    This year, the Academy celebrates 100 years of the Beare Bow Prize. This prize of a specially engraved violin bow from renowned instrument dealers J & A Beare is awarded to the most promising graduating student each year. The list of prizewinners provides a remarkable snapshot of a century of violin studies at the Academy and reflects a diversity of careers, including music education, broadcasting and performance. For Júlia Pusker (2014 Prize Winner), who performed at the centenary celebrations on 19 January, a similarly vast array of possibilities await as she develops her career. Her achievements, and those of other alumni, will continue the legacy of the Prize for years to come.

    List of winners
  • Strauss as Conductor

    Strauss as Conductor

    In January 2016, the Academy presented a mini-festival to mark the eightieth anniversary of Richard Strauss’s visit to the Royal Academy of Music in 1936. The four events shed light on Strauss’s achievements as a conductor, which have rarely been considered alongside his work as a composer. Professor Raymond Holden, author of Richard Strauss: A Musical Life, examined the relationship between Strauss’s conducting and his compositions. Film-maker Eric Schulz discussed and screened his documentary, At The End of the Rainbow, which featured previously unreleased recordings of Strauss’s conducting. Semyon Bychkov conducted the Academy’s orchestra in a performance of Don Juan while Christian Thielemann conducted Tod und Verklärung, just as Strauss himself did on his historic visit.

    Strauss series at the Academy
  • Australian Guitar Music

    Australian Guitar Music

    The wealth of new music for the guitar is the result of commissions and advocacy by performers such as Julian Bream and John Williams. Following in their footsteps, prize-winning guitarist and Advanced Diploma student Andrey Lebedev presented a concert of Australian guitar music on 2 March 2016. Alongside solo and chamber music works for guitar, the concert featured the world premiere of Brett Dean’s Gertrude Fragments for mezzo-soprano and guitar, adapted from Dean’s new opera, Hamlet, for the 2017 Glyndebourne Festival. Before the performance John Williams discussed his own seminal role in the commissioning and performance of Australian guitar music with Professor Raymond Holden. The event provided a vivid window into the diverse and evolving language of guitar music from Australia.

    Australian Guitar event
  • Orfordness


    David Gorton’s second profile CD, David Gorton: Orfordness, was released on the Métier label in February 2015. Each of the pieces on the CD is the result of a long-term collaboration between Gorton and the solo performers (Neil Heyde, Christopher Redgate, and Zubin Kanga) in which the collaborative process was used to develop particular instrumental techniques, and to activate and mitigate risks within the performance of complex passages. The recording attempts to maintain a balance between the palpable risks of live performance and the polish of a commercial product. The disc includes ‘Austerity Measures II’, which is one of the first pieces to be written for the new Howarth-Redgate oboe, developed by Christopher Redgate from 2009-2012 with support from the AHRC.

    Orfordness CD
  • The Neoclassical Trumpet

    The Neoclassical Trumpet

    What if the chromatic trumpet and the modern Steinway Grand had existed a good century or so earlier and composers had recognised their duo potential? This is the question addressed by the wide range of arrangements created by Jonathan Freeman-Attwood and painist Daniel-Ben Pienaar. Their latest album, ’The Neo-classical Trumpet’ (released in March 2015) features the complete Pulcinella Suite by Stravinsky alongside wor'ks by Walter Leigh, Fauré and Respighi. A variety of duo versions of Pulcinella appeared after the ballet, the most famous being the Suite Italienne, initially for cellist Gregor Piatigorsky. A more lasting version was that which Stravinsky undertook in collaboration with violinist Samuel Dushkin, still popular today.

  • Simon Bainbridge Double Bass Concerto

    Simon Bainbridge Double Bass Concerto

    Composer Simon Bainbridge talks about his collaborative process with double bassist Eddie Gómez for his double bass concerto.

    Guardian feature
  • Communicating About Music

    Communicating About Music

    Fourth-year undergraduate pianist Martyna Kazmierczak resolutely defies the stereotype of the music student locked away in an isolated practice room. Passionate about communicating classical music to new audiences, Martyna has discarded any formal façade and taken to Facebook and YouTube. GoClassical, aimed at followers in her native Poland, shares vignettes about music and performance in language that is accessible to the social media generation yet does not dumb down. CoffeeBreak with a Master, a series of candid video interviews, sheds light on the world of the professional musician.

    Martyna's Facebook
  • A production of a performance of a composition based on a transcription of a recording

    A production of a performance of a composition based on a transcription of a recording

    As part of the AHRC Classical Music Hyper-Production project we recorded Richard Beaudoin’s solo cello work Bacchante, which is based on a microtiming of Debussy's piano-roll recording of "...Danseuses de Delphes" from Préludes, made in Paris on 1 November 1913. Neil Heyde’s studio performance of the piece involved splitting some of the multiple-stopped lines into two separate overdubs to further explore the gestural and timbral possibilities of the piece.


Research at the Academy is focused on the interrogation of musical creativity. This takes many forms, but a common thread running through our work is the interaction of performers, composers, instrument makers and scholars.

The Academy is a strongly collaborative environment, in which creative and intellectual curiosity is encouraged in students and staff alike. By sustaining a dialogue between all members of our community, we aim to re-evaluate and build on our musical heritage and performance traditions, and to generate new types of creative practice.

Much of the Academy’s research activity is practice-based, focusing on the practical aspects of music in the ares of performance and composition. This is a broad field, encompassing the analysis and application of performance materials and research on instruments, as well as the critical and reflective study of practice itself.

The Academy’s research culture is underpinned by our rich collection of musical artefacts, including our globally renowned collection of fine stringed instruments, our historic pianos, our large holdings of composers’ manuscripts and annotated performance materials from leading musicians from the nineteenth century to the present day, and our significant collection of musical iconography.

Research at the Academy informs and enhances all areas of our teaching. Our programmes of study are structured to encourage students to develop and pursue research relevant to their professional aspirations. Many of our regular research events are also open to the public. These include experimental workshops, composer forums, probing interviews with leading figures from the music profession, lecture recitals, and symposia and colloquia.

More information about the research department can be found in the newsletter and Tim Jones’s blog.

The deadline for 2016 applications was 18th January 2016.

To apply to join the MPhil, candidates were asked to use the PDF application form. The form contains guidance notes and reference forms.

Applications for the Research Degree Programmes are dealt with in two stages. Firstly they are subject to an initial assessment by the entry panel. If your application passes this stage, you will be invited to attend for interview in London.

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