Head of Music

A message from Professor James Garratt

Professor James Garratt

Whether you see yourself as a composer, a performer, an academic or a combination of these, Manchester is the place for you. With more than a hundred concerts and other in-house musical events each year, performance is at the heart of everything we do, and our unrivalled music-making culture binds us together as a community. It's a heady mix. Composers can work with performers. Performers can work with composers. Academics benefit from being around the foremost creative thinkers of our time. And all benefit from a uniquely flexible, personalized approach as well as from the sheer range of expertise we offer in composition, performance studies, historical musicology, ethnomusicology, analysis, aesthetics, film music, jazz studies and more.

The city of Manchester has always been at the forefront of cutting-edge innovation in music. Whether you think of the pioneering Hallé Orchestra in the 19th century, the New Manchester Group (composers Peter Maxwell Davies, Harrison Birtwistle and Alexander Goehr) in the 1950s, the Madchester scene in the 1980s, or bands from the Bee Gees to Oasis and beyond, Manchester is where it's at. We are proud to build on this legacy of global innovation and success.

Making Music. Thinking about music. Creating new music. For us at Manchester, these provide the three sides of an equilateral triangle, and we pursue all three to an equal level of excellence.

Professor James Garratt / Head of Music and Professor of Music History and Aesthetics

Today Manchester is home to three professional orchestras, the Royal Northern College of Music (RNCM), the main headquarters of the BBC, the Bridgewater Hall, the Manchester Arena and more clubs and popular music venues than you can count. Most of our instrumental and vocal tutors – the very best you will find in the world – are drawn from the city's professional orchestras and many more are shared with the RNCM.

Manchester was the first UK university to offer a taught degree programme in Music, opening its doors 130 years ago in September 1891. Our initial cohort of students included the first woman to graduate in Music from a British university. Innovation and inclusivity remain crucial to our ethos, and we are consistently ranked in the UK’s top 5 universities for music in the Complete University Guide.

We are committed to helping all our students pursue their musical passions and ambitions and hone their existing strengths while also giving them the tools they need to pursue new directions and discover talents they never knew they had. We invite you to explore these pages to find out more about the unique combination of academic excellence and conservatoire standards of performance that makes this possible.