full ensemble and set of Eintanzer

About Composition at Guildhall

Individual Lessons and Masterclasses | Workshops | Techniques of Composition | Orchestration | Electronic Music | Analysis | Aesthetics

Guildhall offers some of the most stimulating and creative training for composers available in the UK. Our guiding principle is that composers should develop in collaboration with technically-proficient, sympathetic instrumentalists under the expert guidance of experienced practitioners. Our commitment to developing your unique voice as a composer means that we will workshop every composition that you write. 

By studying at a conservatoire you will benefit from a range of unique opportunities. These include access to performers, an outstanding faculty of professional composers distinguished in a wide-ranging field of compositional activity, specialism and artistic approach, and a host of external partners. You will be based in a lively arts complex, and our focus on innovation and collaboration will help you take full advantage of Guildhall’s multidisciplinary environment, working within a constant cross-departmental flow of ideas, skills and creativity.

Watch the video

Find out more about Composition training at Guildhall from our students and staff in the video below.

Composition contact details

Brendan Macdonald & James Long, Composition Department Managers
Tel: 020 7382 6159

Undergraduate study

Postgraduate study

Repetiteur performs during an opera scenes rehearsal

Activities and Ensembles

  • Individual lessons – 30 hours a year for BMus and MMus/MComp students; 20 hours a year for MA in Opera Making and Writing students (plus production classes and mentoring)
  • Open Sessions – a series of weekly presentations given by both staff and distinguished visiting composers, to discuss current concerns, ideas and aesthetic questions relating to contemporary music
  • Workshops – all student compositions are performed and rehearsed in formal workshops, providing composers with a broad range of feedback and response and a richer perception of their creative ideas in real time
  • Departmental classes and seminars – the undergraduate programme includes a substantial series of departmental classes, while postgraduate and doctoral students take part in seminars
  • Creative Ensemble – made up of BMus years 1 and 2 student composers who are encouraged and supported to work experimentally using their own cohort of composers as a performing ensemble
  • Guildhall New Music Ensemble, which presents a concert each term curated by a Guildhall School composition professor or visiting composer
  • Work placements for undergraduate composers via the Professional Studies module
  • City Chamber Choir Composer-in-Association – each year, one Guildhall School composer is appointed as Composer-in-Association to the City Chamber Choir, an association which offers creative development and a London premiere of an a cappella choral work
  • London Symphony Orchestra/London Philharmonic Orchestras – the Department has good connections with both institutions and supports its student composers to apply for either the London Symphony Orchestra’s Panufnik Young Composers Scheme or the London Philharmonic Orchestras’s Young Composer programme

Owing to the School’s location within an international arts venue, distinguished visiting composers pass through our doors regularly, giving masterclasses, seminars and individual lessons to our students. The department enjoys close working relationships with a number of external partners including the Royal Philharmonic Society, Royal Opera House, London Contemporary Dance School and the Wigmore Hall, organisations such as Sound and Music, new music ensembles such as Exaudi or Chroma, orchestras such as the BBC Symphony, London Symphony or Aurora orchestras, and festivals such as Spitalfields Festival.

Highlights, Successes & Alumni