Cambridge University is creating a music centre

Cambridge University is creating a music centre


norman lebrecht

March 25, 2021

The university is advertising for a director for its forthcoming Centre for Music Performance, opening at the end of the year. It’s not clear from what they are saying what the priorities will be. Here’s a sample of academic triple-speak

Vice-Chancellor, Professor Stephen J Toope, said: “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, research excellence and all-round personal development. I am thrilled to see the CMP go ahead at Cambridge.”

The Senior Pro-Vice Chancellor (Education), Professor Graham Virgo, said: “This is one of the many ways Cambridge University is expressing its commitment to outreach, inclusion and diversity. We expect this Centre to build on our excellent array of musical endeavour to draw more students into the cultural life of the University, building their skills and confidence and supporting their wellbeing.”

Dr Anthony Freeling, Chair, Colleges’ Committee, and President of Hughes Hall, said: “The Cambridge Colleges are well-known as a seedbed of musical life; the Centre for Music Performance will not only support this but enhance its connectivity and visibility so that more students are attracted to, and can fully enjoy, the proven benefits of music performance.”

Chair of the Faculty Board of Music and 1684 Professor of Music Katharine Ellis said: “The Faculty of Music is delighted to see the new Centre for Music Performance come into being. This new hub will be a game-changer supporting musicians right across the University, from soon-to-be professionals to those for whom music offers precious release from the stresses of intensive study. It will be a beacon for Cambridge’s already rich musical life and will enable students to access its variety more readily than ever before. We look forward to contributing to the CMP’s success.”

The Chair of the Cambridge University Musical Society (CUMS) Trustees, Dame Fiona Reynolds, said: “CUMS has carried the flag for excellence in music performance at Cambridge for many years. During that time we have nurtured a host of young people for whom music is life-giving, from world-leading professional musicians to skilled amateurs. The CMP is the opportunity we have been looking for to take this to the next level, offering more students than ever before the opportunity to work with each other and professional artists from a wide range of genres in an atmosphere that fosters creativity and innovation.”

Let’s hope the Centre has been fully decolonised and problematised before opening.




  • FrankUSA says:

    I have to admit that I have no idea whatsoever what the Centre for Music Centre is or what it will do. Will it have its own building? Vague goals and without a guiding mission and statement is usually not a good start. I assume Cambridge already has some musical programs. Good luck to them.

  • Gary Freer says:

    difficult to think of a place with more music making already going on than Cambridge – both at West Road and in the colleges. Puzzled by what this is supposed to add.

  • SVM says:

    Will this new Centre be offering anything to those recent and soon-to-be alumni who, due to lockdowns, have been cruelly deprived of the opportunity for proper music-making for a significant portion of their time /in statu pupillari/?

  • John Borstlap says:

    It all reads as if it is to be a therapeutic centre. Jazz to unbotton uptight professors, Palestrina and Bach to instill some ethical awareness in debauchering undergraduates, Satie to relax overstrained librarians and Xenakis to keep postgraduates from the commonwealth awake.

  • Patricia says:

    What’s wrong with CUMS? They have been training musicians at Cambridge for decades.

  • Peter says:

    It is odd to illustrate this with a pic of St Johns College. No connection to either the music faculty, or CUMS or anything else in the story. But a nice pic.