Music Composition (Composition and Improvisation/Composition and Performance/Composition and Creative Audio)

Summary

Music at Ulster is a vibrant community of practitioner-researchers, with interests in key areas of contemporary practice including composition, music technology, participatory/applied music, and improvisation and performance and soundtrack research. We are one of the leading centres for composition on the island of Ireland, with five composers on staff, including two professors, performance specialists (both music and drama), and colleagues in film and screen and heritage/museum studies. We have supervised 20 PhDs to successful completion since 2009, and staff have presented work at leading venues across the UK, Ireland, Europe and the US, and our Inclusive Creativity project (Impact Case Study) was placed joint first in the 2021 UK Research Excellence Framework (Music, Drama, Performing Arts, Film and Screen).

We welcome projects which bring innovative modes to composition, including socially-engaged/applied practices, the development of new ensemble forces (including combining acoustic and electronic forces or mixed-media approaches), the composer-performer, improvisation and open forms in composition, site-specific and installation practices, and scoring for film and screen. We also have extensive experience in cross-arts interdisciplinary practices and welcome proposals engaging with these types of practices.

NB: As this is an area involving practice-based/practice-led research, applicants are judged on the basis of exemplar materials and experience (examined through their application materials and, if shortlisted, interview), as well as a research proposal which relates to an applicant’s area of experience. Please note that applicants are requested to provide links to documentation of their previous creative output via links in their project proposals or CVs.

Music at Ulster is based in Derry/Londonderry at our Magee campus, and benefits from a range of professional relationships and partnerships across Northern Ireland, the wider UK, and the island of Ireland as a whole, as well as a rich multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary context working alongside drama, performing arts, film and screen and heritage/museum studies. Recent partnerships include the Walled City Music Festival, City of Derry International Choir Festival, City of Derry Jazz festival, as well as our long-running departmental lunchtime concert series (which has featured Grammy nominees), Derry Sound Factory (experimental and improvised music) and Oscillations and Modulations (a festival of electronic music tools and techniques), as well as performances and commissions for Brooklyn Academy of Music, New Music Dublin, Ireland’s National Concert Hall, Opera Dagen (Rotterdam), and BBC Radio 3. Awards include the Ivor Novello Award (nomination), British Composer Award (winners), and serving as Music Laureate for Belfast.

Essential criteria

Applicants should hold, or expect to obtain, a First or Upper Second Class Honours Degree in a subject relevant to the proposed area of study.

We may also consider applications from those who hold equivalent qualifications, for example, a Lower Second Class Honours Degree plus a Master’s Degree with Distinction.

In exceptional circumstances, the University may consider a portfolio of evidence from applicants who have appropriate professional experience which is equivalent to the learning outcomes of an Honours degree in lieu of academic qualifications.

  • Experience using research methods or other approaches relevant to the subject domain
  • Research proposal of 2000 words detailing aims, objectives, milestones and methodology of the project
  • A demonstrable interest in the research area associated with the studentship

Desirable Criteria

If the University receives a large number of applicants for the project, the following desirable criteria may be applied to shortlist applicants for interview.

  • First Class Honours (1st) Degree
  • Completion of Masters at a level equivalent to commendation or distinction at Ulster
  • Publications record appropriate to career stage
  • Experience of presentation of research findings
  • A comprehensive and articulate personal statement
  • Use of personal initiative as evidenced by record of work above that normally expected at career stage.

Funding and eligibility

The University offers the following levels of support:

Vice Chancellors Research Studentship (VCRS)

Full award (full-time PhD fees + DfE level of maintenance grant + RTSG for 3 years).

This scholarship will cover full-time PhD tuition fees and provide the recipient with £18,000 (tbc) maintenance grant per annum for three years (subject to satisfactory academic performance).

This scholarship also comes with £900 per annum for three years as a research training support grant (RTSG) allocation to help support the PhD researcher.

Applicants who already hold a doctoral degree or who have been registered on a programme of research leading to the award of a doctoral degree on a full-time basis for more than one year (or part-time equivalent) are NOT eligible to apply for an award.

Applicants who already hold a doctoral degree or who have been registered on a programme of research leading to the award of a doctoral degree on a full-time basis for more than one year (or part-time equivalent) are NOT eligible to apply for an award.

Vice-Chancellor’s Research Bursary (VCRB)

Part award (full-time PhD fees + 50% DfE level of maintenance grant + RTSG for 3 years).

This scholarship will cover full-time PhD tuition fees and provide the recipient with £8,000 maintenance grant per annum for three years (subject to satisfactory academic performance). This scholarship also comes with £900 per annum for three years as a research training support grant (RTSG) allocation to help support the PhD researcher.

Applicants who already hold a doctoral degree or who have been registered on a programme of research leading to the award of a doctoral degree on a full-time basis for more than one year (or part-time equivalent) are NOT eligible to apply for an award.

Vice-Chancellor’s Research Fees Bursary (VCRFB)

Fees only award (PhD fees + RTSG for 3 years).

This scholarship will cover full-time PhD tuition fees for three years (subject to satisfactory academic performance). This scholarship also comes with £900 per annum for three years as a research training support grant (RTSG) allocation to help support the PhD researcher.

Applicants who already hold a doctoral degree or who have been registered on a programme of research leading to the award of a doctoral degree on a full-time basis for more than one year (or part-time equivalent) are NOT eligible to apply for an award.

Department for the Economy (DFE)

The scholarship will cover tuition fees at the Home rate and a maintenance allowance of £18,000 (tbc) per annum for three years (subject to satisfactory academic performance).

This scholarship also comes with £900 per annum for three years as a research training support grant (RTSG) allocation to help support the PhD researcher.

  • Candidates with pre-settled or settled status under the EU Settlement Scheme, who also satisfy a three year residency requirement in the UK prior to the start of the course for which a Studentship is held MAY receive a Studentship covering fees and maintenance.
  • Republic of Ireland (ROI) nationals who satisfy three years’ residency in the UK prior to the start of the course MAY receive a Studentship covering fees and maintenance (ROI nationals don’t need to have pre-settled or settled status under the EU Settlement Scheme to qualify).
  • Other non-ROI EU applicants are ‘International’ are not eligible for this source of funding.
  • Applicants who already hold a doctoral degree or who have been registered on a programme of research leading to the award of a doctoral degree on a full-time basis for more than one year (or part-time equivalent) are NOT eligible to apply for an award.

Due consideration should be given to financing your studies. Further information on cost of living

Recommended reading

Give my regards to Eighth Street: collected writings of Morton Feldman

Feldman, Morton, 1926-1987. , Friedman, B. H. (Bernard Harper), 1926-2011.

Publisher: Cambridge, MA : Exact Change

Word events: perspectives on verbal notation

Lely, John. , Saunders, James, 1972 December 12-

Publisher: London ; New York : Continuum

Music 109: notes on experimental music

Lucier, Alvin. , Ashley, Robert.

Publisher: Middletown, Conn. : Wesleyan University Press

Self-similar melodies

Johnson, Tom.

Publisher: Paris : Editions 75

Other harmony

Johnson, Tom.

Publisher: Paris, France : Editions 75 ; New York : 218 Press

Changing the system: the music of Christian Wolff

Thomas, Philip, 1972- , Chase, Stephen (Stephen Timothy).

Publisher: London : Routledge

Understanding the art of sound organization

Landy, Leigh, 1951-

Publisher: Cambridge : MIT Press

The Doctoral College at Ulster University

Key dates

Submission deadline
Monday 27 February 2023
04:00PM

Interview Date
week commencing 27 March 2023

Preferred student start date
18 September 2023

Applying

Apply Online  

Contact supervisor

Dr Adam Melvin

Other supervisors

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