Organisation profile


With our long-standing track record of world-leading research, and a vibrant community of academic staff, postdoctoral researchers and postgraduate students, our research culture underpins everything we do at Manchester.

The position of Music at the University of Manchester as one of the UK’s leading research departments was confirmed by our outstanding results in the 2014 Research Excellence Framework. In all three of the assessed areas our research was rated exceptionally highly: 85% of our individual research outputs were graded as world-leading (4*) or internationally excellent (3*) in terms of their originality, significance and rigour, while both our research environment and the impact of our research achieved gradings of 100% at 4* or 3*.

Our research community is one of our greatest strengths, providing a lively and inspiring environment for the development of new ideas, new connections and new sounds. The department has particular strengths in instrumental and vocal composition, electroacoustic composition, sound diffusion and interactive media, musicology and ethnomusicology.

Within musicology and ethnomusicology areas of specialism span early modern music, nineteenth-century Austro-Germanic and Italian music (especially Schubert, Beethoven, Mendelssohn, Liszt, Verdi and Wagner), and twentieth-century music from Soviet Russia to traditional vocal polyphony in Corsica and Georgia. Thematically, we share interests in voice and vocality, music and drama, analytical theory, reception, temporality, sketch study, material culture, music notation, philosophical aesthetics, nationalism, mobility, identity, and performance practice.

In their research practice our composers work in dialogue with different traditions and across a range of media, with particular research interests in chamber music, temporality, memory, music notation, performance practice, sound spatialisation, politics and protest, interactive media, Artificial Intelligence, game-audio, and analogue and digital synthesis.

In addition to the immediate research community within the Martin Harris Centre and the NOVARS Research Centre, we have emerged as a key 'research hub' in recent years. We have active collaborations with colleagues interested in music, culture and sound across the university, in the city and in other academic and music-related institutions, both nationally and internationally. We also cultivate strong relationships with the wider community in Manchester, the surrounding region and those further afield.

The NOVARS Research Centre acts as a major world centre for electroacoustic music, attracting postgraduate students and visiting researchers from around the globe. Major AHRC-funded projects have brought international students and leading scholars to Manchester to collaborate with Music staff. In addition, we have hosted major events such as the Adapting Byron Conference; Beethoven Conference; Concepts of Creativity in Seventeenth-Century England; Carl Nielsen: Texts and Contexts; and numerous composer festivals including our own biannual MANTIS series. With a range of staff-led projects, masterclasses, visiting researchers and regular research seminars, Manchester provides a lively and inspiring environment for postgraduate and postdoctoral research.

Collaborations and top research areas from the last five years

Recent external collaboration on country/territory level. Dive into details by clicking on the dots or