Centre for
Music Performance


Music unites us. It has the power to inspire, comfort and transcend the every day. It provides a window into other cultures, and an outlet for self-expression.

It is life-affirming.

Music has long been integral to Cambridge. Many celebrated composers, performers and conductors have honed their craft here and Collegiate University music groups and societies have found international acclaim – reaching and touching audiences around the world. Yet the COVID-19 pandemic has had a devastating impact on the performing arts and highlighted the urgent need for greater investment in the sector.

The time is ripe for those who value the arts to show their support – and the University of Cambridge is delighted to underline its commitment to the advancement of musical performance by establishing a new Centre for Music Performance. The Centre will radically increase the visibility, scale, ambition and reach of musical performance at Cambridge, positioning it among the very best centres of musical performance internationally.

Centre for Music Performance

The Centre for Music Performance, led by a new Director of Music Performance, will reinvigorate and broaden the musical offer at Cambridge.

Its mission: to support music performance at all levels, in all genres, and for students of all subjects, placing musical engagement at the heart of the higher education experience that makes Cambridge unique.

Its vision: to create a dynamic and inclusive crucible for music performance, which contributes to the wellbeing of students and, through nurturing musical excellence, enriches society at large.

  • The Centre will create an unprecedented array of new opportunities for students to engage in music making of all styles and standards, from complete beginner to the very highest levels of excellence.
  • New programmes will be designed to ensure that music at Cambridge is inclusive and reaches across subjects and Colleges. The Centre will engage strategically and practically with the Faculty of Music and the College music performance network.
  • The Centre will work with schools in an outreach capacity to bring music making to prospective students from all backgrounds, so that Cambridge is the University of choice for a diverse range of aspiring musicians.

By supporting a broad range of musical genres, and creating an environment in which innovative musical endeavours can gain traction, the Centre will enrich the musical life of the Cambridge community and beyond, and reinforce the University’s reputation as a seedbed for generations of prominent professional performers.

"At a time of unprecedented stress for the performing arts, I am proud that Cambridge is creating a new Centre for Music Performance. A step-change in the visibility, breadth, reach and role of music performance, it will nurture the highest aspirations of the very best performers, besides offering a wonderful array of opportunities to those with previously limited experience. In the long run the Centre will be a stimulus for interdisciplinarity, excellence and all-round personal development.  I am thrilled to see the CMP go ahead at Cambridge."

Professor Stephen Toope, Vice-Chancellor

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How to get involved

Cambridge seeks the engagement and support of individuals and organisations that believe in the power of music and its ability to unite and fulfil us. To find out more about how you can support music performance at Cambridge, please contact:

Glen Whitehead, Director of Development - University Strategic Initiatives

Email: glen.whitehead@admin.cam.ac.uk

Phone: +44 (0)1223 330112


Derek Wilson, Senior Associate Director, Sports, Clubs & Societies

Email: derek.wilson@admin.cam.ac.uk

Phone: +44 (0)1223 330015

"Acting as assistant conductor to Jac Van Steen for Verdi's monumental Requiem was extremely rewarding. After the concert, the whole orchestra and choir were reeling with excitement — I think we all wanted to repeat the experience right away!"

Naomi Woo, Musical Society Conducting Scholar 2017-18

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Cambridge University Jazz Orchestra, April 2020, performing Knower's 'Gotta Be Another Way' (arranged, mixed and directed by James Cozens).

Cambridge University Jazz Orchestra, April 2020, performing Knower's 'Gotta Be Another Way' (arranged, mixed and directed by James Cozens).

Tess Jackson, CUMS Conducting Scholar 2019-20, conducting Cambridge University Orchestra

Tess Jackson, CUMS Conducting Scholar 2019-20, conducting Cambridge University Orchestra

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Cambridge University Jazz Orchestra, April 2020, performing Knower's 'Gotta Be Another Way' (arranged, mixed and directed by James Cozens).

Cambridge University Jazz Orchestra, April 2020, performing Knower's 'Gotta Be Another Way' (arranged, mixed and directed by James Cozens).

Tess Jackson, CUMS Conducting Scholar 2019-20, conducting Cambridge University Orchestra

Tess Jackson, CUMS Conducting Scholar 2019-20, conducting Cambridge University Orchestra

The Choir of King's College, Cambridge

The Choir of King's College, Cambridge

The Choir of King's College, Cambridge

Arc Quartet, Instrumental Awards Scheme for Chamber Music

Arc Quartet, Instrumental Awards Scheme for Chamber Music

Arc Quartet, Instrumental Awards Scheme for Chamber Music

Sir Mark Elder conducting Cambridge University Orchestra

Sir Mark Elder conducting Cambridge University Orchestra

Sir Mark Elder conducting Cambridge University Orchestra

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The Choir of King's College, Cambridge

The Choir of King's College, Cambridge

The Choir of King's College, Cambridge

Arc Quartet, Instrumental Awards Scheme for Chamber Music

Arc Quartet, Instrumental Awards Scheme for Chamber Music

Arc Quartet, Instrumental Awards Scheme for Chamber Music

Sir Mark Elder conducting Cambridge University Orchestra

Sir Mark Elder conducting Cambridge University Orchestra

Sir Mark Elder conducting Cambridge University Orchestra

Image credits

Cambridge University Jazz Orchestra, photographer Hideaway Streatham.

Cambridge University Chamber Choir, photographer Emma Warner.

Naomi Woo and Stephanie Childress, photographer Tom Porteous.

Arc Quartet, Instrumental Awards Scheme for Chamber Music, photographer Nick Rutter.

Sir Mark Elder conducting Cambridge University Orchestra, photographer Tristan Selden.

Images of Sir Mark Elder and The Choir of King’s College, Cambridge, reproduced with kind permission from the Provost and scholars of King’s College, Cambridge.