Cambridge University New Music Group (CUNMG) exists to support Cambridge’s long and distinguished history of contemporary classical music, showcasing pieces by acclaimed composers from the Faculty of Music teaching staff, the best student composers and exciting and interesting pieces by leading composers working today. Rehearsals are on a project basis.
Performance highlights for the 2023–24 season include a performance of music by Fausto Romitelli and Gérard Grisey in which students will perform side-by-side with leading professional instrumentalists.
Cambridge University New Music Group is a Centre for Music Performance ensemble run in partnership with the Faculty of Music.
Cambridge has a long and distinguished history of supporting new music: the Faculty of Music’s teaching staff have included distinguished composers Alexander Goehr, Hugh Wood and Robin Holloway, and the likes of Thomas Adès, Sir George Benjamin, Jonathan Dove, Errollyn Wallen and Judith Weir have studied here. However, the New Music Group was founded relatively recently, in 2007, by composer and conductor Ryan Wigglesworth. Today it operates under the artistic direction of current Professor of Composition Richard Causton (sabbatical 2023–24) and Assistant Professor in Composition Dr Marta Gentilucci.
The New Music Group is designed to offer some of the best student instrumentalists the opportunity of working on performances of the ‘classics’ of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. At the same time, the ensemble is intended to give student composers the chance to have their works performed by musicians experienced in playing new music.
Alongside its varied concert programme, the New Music Group organises workshop opportunities with composers, weekly occasions for students to hear and discuss new ideas, and fortnightly listening sessions address exciting new music outside the classical canon.
CUNMG is an auditioned ensemble with players invited on a project-by-project basis. Interested instrumentalists should have experience playing at a high standard.
To audition for New Music Group, you should complete the orchestral application form. Applications open on 1 September and must be submitted by 12 noon on 5 October.
Find out more about the 2023-24 auditions here: cmp.cam.ac.uk/orchestral-auditions-2023-24/
Performance highlights for the 2022–23 season included Alexander Goehr: A Retrospective, to celebrate the composer’s 90th birthday, a project where students played side-by-side with members of Britten Sinfonia.
In 2014, the ensemble performed in the Harrison Birtwistle Festival Secret Theatres: The Music of Harrison Birtwistle and more recently worked with Judith Weir and Mark Antony Turnage, the musicians Donna Bateman, the Ligeti Quartet and the conductor Patrick Bailey.
Other highlights include performing in Kettle’s Yard, Stapleford Granary and the Museum of Zoology.
Workshop guests include Mark-Anthony Turnage, Judith Weir and Valgeir Sigurdsson of Bedroom Community.
Past repertoire includes music by Errollyn Wallen, Kaija Saariaho, Schoenberg, Knussen, John Luther Adams and Goehr; and musicians with whom the ensemble has worked include Claire Booth, Oliver Coates and Alexandra Wood.