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Olivia Sham


‘ As a postgraduate pianist on the MMus programme at Academy, I found the work carried out by its performer- researchers fascinating. Now, I’m on the doctoral programme and researching ways of performing the music of Liszt, a composer I’ve long felt an affinity for. At the moment, my research involves a detailed study of versions of Liszt’s pieces, and playing instruments from his time, like the 1840 Erard in the Academy’s piano gallery.


Being able to work regularly with such a beautiful instrument is extraordinary and, for a research student, it’s also inspiring to work in a performance institution of the highest level. I get guidance from my piano professor and academic supervisors, and there are research events, seminars, masterclasses and concerts — all forums for exciting ideas. This stimulates my work and my concerts both inside and outside Academy, where I can put my research into play.’


Head of Postgraduate Programmes: Neil Heyde BMus, MMus, PhD, LMusA, Hon ARAM As a soloist and chamber musician Neil Heyde has recorded, performed and broadcast internationally. His work at the Academy focuses on relationships between performers and composers, both past and present, and he has written on analytical and collaborative issues. He is cellist of the Kreutzer Quartet and is currently working on the Œuvres Complètes de Claude Debussy and projects with the visual arts and film.


MPhil/PhD in Performance Practice Aims The research degree in Performance Practice is designed to encourage postgraduate performers to engage in practice-based or practice-focused research at the highest level. Such involvement and training will help already experienced performers to exert an enhanced leadership within the music profession, and within higher education institutions specialising in performance study. The programme is specifically designed to encourage the development of new methodologies, new insights, and new knowledge within performance research.


Entry On application you will submit a detailed research proposal of around 2000 words outlining the research you wish to pursue and the methodologies that would support it (including the proposed method of linking academic to practical research outcomes).


The proposal should suggest how your thesis will contribute to the disciplines of performance research and to your own development as a performer. You should also submit evidence of your standards of written and practical work, both of which will be considered at the entrance interview.


Assessment Submissions can range from a Performance Portfolio (length to be negotiated in relation to the project) and written commentary of 10–20,000 words (MPhil) or 15–25,000 words (PhD) to a written dissertation of 30–50,000 words (MPhil) or 50–70,000 words (PhD) plus supporting performance material as required. The written commentary accompanying a Performance Portfolio submission should articulate and provide a context for the performance- driven research questions governing the submission as a whole and should make clear the significance of the performances by employing academically-appropriate lines of enquiry.


Supporting Studies Research students attend and take part in doctoral seminars, research skills training and performance research events.


MPhil/PhD in Composition Aims The MPhil/PhD in Composition is designed to encourage you to pursue your artistic development to the highest possible level and to reflect critically on the significance of your compositional activity through analytical exploration and (where appropriate) collaborative work in a performance environment. Such intensive and wide-ranging study will allow you to extend your scope and effectiveness as a composer, while offering you a training


relevant to the task of teaching or lecturing in composition.


Entry On application, you will submit a portfolio of compositions. If you are selected for interview you will then be required to provide a detailed research proposal of two pages of A4 outlining the planned content of your portfolio (including any plans for collaborative work) and the analytical and critical questions to be addressed in the accompanying written component.


Assessment As a final assessment, you will submit a portfolio of compositions of around 45 minutes (for the award of an MPhil) or 60 minutes (for the PhD). The portfolio is linked to a written commentary of 10– 20,000 words for MPhil, and 15–25,000 words for PhD which should articulate and provide a context for the compositionally- driven research questions governing the submission as a whole, and which should reflect on the creative processes involved in producing the portfolio.


Supporting Studies Research students attend and take part in doctoral seminars, composition research seminars, research skills training and research events.


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