Professor Sir Barry Ife CBE FKC FBbk HonFRAM FRCM

Key details:



Professor Barry Ife was Principal of Guildhall School from September 2004 to January 2017, and is now an Honorary Senior Research Fellow at the School. He made a number of important changes during his time as Principal, including repositioning the School within the higher education sector, and reviving and strengthening strategic partnerships with a range of performing arts organisations such as Barbican Centre, LSO and Royal Opera House. He made the Guildhall School the UK’s single largest provider of music education to under 18s by incorporating the Centre for Young Musicians (CYM) and creating new music centres in Norfolk, Somerset, Peterborough, Bristol and Saffron Walden; he  achieved recognition for Guildhall’s music outreach and opera programmes through two Queen’s Anniversary Prizes (2005 and 2007); and he realised the School’s long-held ambition to build additional facilities at Milton Court (opened September 2013), including state-of-the-art performance venues, rehearsal and teaching spaces.

Most recently, Professor Ife led the Guildhall School’s application for Taught Degree-Awarding Powers, which were granted by the Privy Council in April 2014, and the application to the Higher Education Funding Council for England institution-specific review which led to the School's teaching being judged as 'world-leading' in May 2016.

As a professional academic, Barry Ife specialises in the cultural history of Spain and Spanish America from the fifteenth to the eighteenth centuries. After holding lectureships at Nottingham University and Birkbeck College, he was appointed to the Cervantes Chair of Spanish at King’s College London in 1988. During his tenure of the chair, whose emeritus title he still holds, he became Head of the School of Humanities (1989-1996), Vice-Principal (1996-2003) and Acting Principal (2003-2004). It was during this period that he gained wide experience in higher education management. He initiated and oversaw major capital projects such as the conversion of the former Public Records Office into the Maughan Library and information services centre, and the redevelopment of the Strand campus. As a governor of the Royal Academy of Music (1996-2004) and manager of the validation relationship between King’s and RADA, he gained considerable insight into the challenges and opportunities facing the performing arts sector.

Professor Ife was appointed CBE in the 2000 birthday honours for services to Hispanic studies. In 2017, he was awarded a Knighthood for services to performing arts education. He has represented specialist institutions on the Board of Universities UK and has chaired the UUK Specialist Institutions Forum. He was President of the Incorporated Society of Musicians (ISM) in 2014-15, and is currently chairman of the Culture Capital Exchange.


Recent Research Outputs

"Drama as Novel/Novel as Drama." In Cervantes Shakespeare 1616-2016

Ife, Barry. "Drama as Novel/Novel as Drama." In Cervantes Shakespeare 1616-2016, edited by Jose Manuel Gonzalez, 350-368 Kassel: Reichenberger, 2017.

Book chapter