PhD Studentship: Music (Composition)


The studentship is funded for four years covering Home/EU fees plus living costs of £13,590 p/a, and commences in October 2013.


The successful applicant will join a team of composers and musicologists working on a European Research Council project, ‘Shaping text, Shaping melody, Shaping experience in and through the Old Hispanic Office’. With only two dozen exceptions, the medieval Old Hispanic liturgy survives in adiastematic notation. This shows the rise and fall of the melodies but contains no information about pitch or intervallic content. Musicological findings about the repertoire cannot, therefore, be expressed or explored through performance.

In the Old Hispanic Office project, musicologists will discuss and develop their growing understanding of the aesthetic, musical and devotional content of the Old Hispanic liturgy with composers within and beyond the project team, including the PhD composition student. These conversations will form the conceptual starting point for new compositions that promote similar aesthetic and/or spiritual responses. The literal sound of the Old Hispanic liturgy is almost certainly irrevocably lost. Instead of trying to recapture it, the project team will try to access something of the liturgy’s spiritual and aesthetic space in the textual and musical idioms, and performance contexts, of our own time. The PhD composer will create a portfolio of pieces of sacred and/or secular music to be performed publicly, primarily by the Bristol University Schola Cantorum (, accompanied by a commentary on the process of creating this music as a result of dialogue with musicologists.

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Applicants should have an MA or BA honours degree in Music (or equivalent), with an outstanding track record in composition at this level (shown, for example, by first class/distinction marks in composition modules, and having had some of their music performed).

The successful applicant will join an outstandingly successful department that places composition and performance at the heart of its activities. Three internationally renowned composers are on the full time staff, together with part-time tutors in composition and over twenty composers reading for research degrees. Opportunities abound for composers to have their music performed by many of the student choirs, orchestras and other ensembles, as well as by visiting professionals, including the Brodowski String Quartet and the Gemini ensemble. The department hosts the local activities of CoMA (Contemporary Music for All) and the student-run Contemporary Music Venture. The City of Bristol has one of the UK’s liveliest contemporary music scenes outside London, with new music events regularly taking place at the Colston Hall (the renowned Elektrostatic series), St George’s Brandon Hill and the Arnolfini.

Application Information
To apply, please make an application for an MLitt/PhD in Music using the online form which can be accessed by clicking on the Apply Link below.specifying that you wish to be considered for this studentship in the funding section. Please state which of the department’s composers you would like to be supervised by; joint supervision is possible (for more information about the department and its staff, see In your research proposal, explain how your previous and current compositional interests put you in a position to make a valuable contribution to the Old Hispanic Office project.

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You are strongly advised to contact Dr Emma Hornby ( for further information about the studentship and the Old Hispanic Office project before making a formal application.

The closing date for applications is 31 January 2013.

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      SS1090 The studentship is funded for four years covering Home/EU fees plus living costs of £13,590 p/a, and commences in October 2013. D
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