About us


The Department of Music is one of the most distinguished in the UK, with a history stretching back to 1905 when Edward Elgar was appointed the University's first Professor of Music, and looking forward to the latest cutting edge developments in the practice and study of music.

Department Second in the UK for Research and Third for Student Satisfaction

The Department is recognised internationally for both its high level of student satisfaction and the quality of its research output. It received an overall satisfaction rating of 98% in the latest National Student Survey; the third highest of the 184 departments offering music-related courses in the country.

The Department was also ranked joint second out of all the country's 53 Music departments in the 2008 Research Assessment Exercise. 50% of our work was judged 'world-leading in terms of originality, significance and rigour'; a further 35% was judged 'internationally excellent'. This follows our top ranking of 5 stars in the 2001 RAE.

Beautiful Spaces

  • The Barber Music Library is one of the best in the country, with Special Collections centred on 20th-century English music (including Elgar - diaries, manuscript scores and early editions) and Baroque music.
  • Birmingham has one of the most beautiful campuses outside of Oxbridge, with listed red-brick buildings, extensive leisure facilities, and canal-side walking paths; all only minutes from the buzzing centre of the UK's second city with its vibrant musical life and culture possibilities.
Aston Webb

Vibrant Performance and Music-Making Opportunities

Photograph of musicians performing early music

Cutting Edge Activities

Famous Former Students

  • Notable graduates include conductor Sir Edward Downes, composers John Casken, Jonathan Goldstein and Peter Wishart; singers Natasha Marsh, Geraldine McGreevy, Diana Moore, Susan Parry, Carolyn Sampson and Richard Wistreich; instrumentalists Ian Hockley and Emma Murphy; opera producers Michael McCarthy and John La Bouchardiere; musicologists Donald Burrows, Tim Carter, Ian Fenlon, Elaine Gould and Alison Latham; Elaine Padmore, Director of Opera at the Royal Opera House; Richard King, Managing Director of Faber Music; and Colin Lawson, Director of the Royal College of Music.
  • Numerous former students teach at institutions internationally and throughout the U.K., including at Harvard University, the University of Manchester, the University of Sheffield, Edinburgh University, the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama, Victoria University in Wellington, New Zealand, the University of Malaysia, Concordia University in Montreal, Canada, and many more.