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The Music Department offers a wide range of musical activities open to all

Coronavirus update

This page includes information on activities you can usually take part in throughout the academic year. However, not all activities will be available during Teaching Block 2 due to social distancing.

We will update this page in line with Government guidelines as soon as new information is available.

Our Music Department offers a wide range of musical activities to all students, staff and members of the local community. Regardless of your ability or experience, you’re invited to join our ensembles, attend our performances and go on international tours.

We welcome all levels of performers from Portsmouth and the surrounding area and provide a supportive, friendly and socially vibrant environment to engage with music. You’re invited to join our ensembles whether you study or work with us, or live in the local area and want to get involved. It’s a great environment to meet other musicians no matter what you do.

We offer some instruments for hire, can provide a place for you to store your instrument and can advise you on private tuition if you’re interested. Find out more about getting involved with our ensembles, attending our concerts, or booking private tuition.

Join an ensemble

Participating in an ensemble is very rewarding, and is made more so by our concerts, social activities, and an international tour every other year. If you’re interested in joining any of the ensembles below, please contact us for more information.

Our ensembles

If you're interested in playing jazz, funk, soul and blues, you can join our Big Band. The band has saxophone, trombone, trumpet and rhythm sections and plays in various venues, and at concerts and balls.

The University Choir is our largest group, numbering up to 120 singers each year. You'll usually perform twice a year in local venues, including in the Portsmouth cathedrals, and take part in the University Carol Service. Recent concerts included works such as Haydn's Nelson Mass and Handel's Messiah. We've also collaborated with other local choirs such as the Portsmouth Festival Choir.

Join our Concert Band and you'll get to play music from the stage and screen, pop songs from various decades and well-known classical pieces and folk songs. We welcome all woodwind and brass instruments as well as string bass, drums and percussion.

Ideally, you should play to grade 3 standard. But if you're a beginner and you're keen to develop your learning in a friendly, relaxed environment, you're also welcome.

Join our Dramatic & Musical Society and take part in a musical or light opera in a professional theatre in Portsmouth each year. Acting experience isn't necessary. We also welcome choreographers, musical helpers and people to work in production roles such as props, costume and set.

Recent productions by the Society include Rodgers and Hammerstein's Cinderella and Leonard Bernstein's West Side Story.

If you play an instrument to grade 5 standard, you can join our University orchestra. If you're a wind player, you will be asked to take an informal audition at the beginning of the academic year due to a high demand for places. When you become a member of the orchestra, you'll take part in 3 performances a year.

The first performance is usually a shared concert with the University Concert Band, where you'll play music such as Dvorak's New World Symphony or Tchaikovsky's 6th. After Christmas we become a pit orchestra for our annual production with the Dramatic & Musical Society, and then usually in May we have a jamboree concert featuring all our ensembles.


Private tuition

The Music Department offers private tuition in a wide range of instruments, most commonly voice, piano, violin, clarinet, saxophone and music theory. Tuition costs in the region of £16-£20 per half hour depending on the teacher.

Starting a music group

To get in touch with musicians at the University, or start your own music group, you can use the notice boards in the Music Department, or contact the Director of Music at music@port.ac.uk or by calling +44(0)23 9284 3023.

Organ scholarship

If you're a talented organ player, you can apply for a Foundation Organ Scholarship at St Mary's Church, a large inner-city parish church. The year-long scholarship is for organists aged 16–25. You don't have to be part of the Anglican Church to apply, but you should be prepared to take part in their traditions.

Contact the Music Director of St Mary’s Church, Brian Moles, at dom@portseaparish.co.uk for further details.


Our concerts

We put on many concerts each year. If you’re a member of one of our ensembles, you’ll get the opportunity to perform to an audience of up to 600 at large venues in and around the city, such as the Portsmouth Guildhall or the New Theatre Royal.

If you’d like to book tickets to any of our events, you can do so through our online store. Some of our concerts book out far in advance, so make sure to book now to guarantee your seat.

See all upcoming events

Portsmouth Chamber Music Series

The Music Department runs a series of usually six chamber music concerts in collaboration with the Portsmouth Guildhall.

This gives you a chance to hear internationally renowned musicians from around the world at a fraction of the cost you’d pay in London.

The concerts are very informal and performed ‘in the round’ so that you are never more than a few metres from the musicians.

Book tickets

Tickets cost £18 at full price or £16 for concessions. If you book tickets for all 5 upcoming concerts, you'll receive a 20% discount (£72 or £64 concessions).

If you're a student of the University, you may also find University of Portsmouth standby tickets available on the night for just £6. 

Tickets for any of the series concerts below can be booked via the Guildhall Box Office online, by calling 023 9387 0200, or by emailing boxoffice@portsmouthguidlhall.org.uk.

All concerts start at 7:30pm (doors open from 7:00pm) and seating is unreserved.

Image of Portsmouth Guildhall

Portsmouth Chamber Music Series 2020-21

Benjamin Nabarro, Claudia Ajmone-Marsan vlns, Ruth Gibson vla, Gemma Rosefield vc, Laurène Durantel db, tbc fl, Adrian Wilson ob, tbc cl, Amy Harman bsn, Naomi Atherton hn

LUTOSLAWSKI Dance Preludes

DVOŘÁK String Quintet in G, Op. 77

MARTINŮ Nonet

BRITTEN Sinfonietta

Alex Redington & Ying Xue violins, Hélène Clément viola, John Myerscough cello

MOZART Quartet in D, K. 575

BARTÓK Quartet No. 3

BEETHOVEN Quartet in B-flat, Op. 18 No. 6

Ana Török & Rasvan Dumitru violins, Traian Boala viola, Zsolt Török cello

WEINBERG Quartet No. 8

SHOSTAKOVICH Quartet No. 8

SCHUBERT Quartet in D minor ‘Death and the Maiden’

HAYDN Andante with Variations in F minor, Hob.XVII/6

MOZART Rondo in A minor, K. 511

BEETHOVEN Sonata in A-flat, Op. 110

SCHUBERT Sonata in C minor, D. 958

Fenella Humphreys violin, Rosalind Ventris viola, Cara Berridge cello

SCHUBERT String Trio in B-flat, D. 471 

ADRIAN SUTTON Spring Masque for violin and viola 

SIBELIUS String Trio in G minor 

MARTINŮ Duo No. 1 for Violin & Cello, H. 157 

MOZART Divertimento in E-flat, K. 563


Get in touch

Our offices and practice rooms are in the White Swan Building on the Guildhall campus.

Opening hours: Monday – Thursday, 8:00am–8:30pm; Friday, 8:00am–6:00pm

If you’re interested in joining an ensemble, finding out about our future events, getting private tuition or you have any other questions, please email the Music Department at music@port.ac.uk or by phone on +44(0)23 9284 3023.

Please email the Music Department with the following information:

  • Your name (required), email address (required), mobile phone number and landline number
  • Whether you are a current student, graduate, or other person (please state you connection to the University) 
  • If you sing or play any instruments (please give details and an approximate indication of your standard)
  • What you are interested in:
    • Attending concerts
    • Big band
    • Choir
    • Dramatic and Musical Society
    • International tours
    • Orchestra
    • Wind Band

A member of the Music Department will contact you soon with further details.

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