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Music at Durham

Our music societies are even more numerous than the theatre companies and span a wide range of styles.

Exact society numbers vary as old ones run down and new ones start, but it’s usually over 80. And of course, this means plentiful concerts and performances, as well as the chance to build your skills in Masterclasses. Our excellent Department of Music supports and encourages these groups, but leadership and the day-to-day running is all done by students - by no means all of them formally associated with the Department.
Explore our clubs and societies
A group of students playing the violin in Durham Cathedral

Venues

Like the Theatre groups, we make use of venues within and beyond the University, including the Gala Theatre and the glorious Durham Cathedral.

Music Durham is the overarching society for our main ensembles, coordinating the activities of the student-run and student-led music societies. Music Durham works closely with all our students and provides the professional Masterclass Series for its members.

The sheer wealth of musical talent here means there is something for everyone - even a DJ Society you could join.

We have three university-level bands.

  • Brass Band is a vibrant non-auditioned society maintaining the brass band tradition. They rehearse weekly and were crowned UniBrass Shield Champions in 2017
  • Big Band is an auditioned, traditional 20 piece set up, regularly in demand to play at events and venues across the country
  • Concert Band rehearse weekly and perform traditional concert band repertoire, recently including a sell-out Broadway spectacular!
  • Gala Theatre

    Situated in the centre of Durham's beautiful historic city, the Gala Theatre has a huge cultural offering for students.
    Empty theatre seats
  • Durham Cathedral

    Founded in 1093, Durham's stunning Cathedral on the banks of the River Wear has hosted many student performances.
    View of Durham Cathedral across the River Wear

Gala Theatre

Situated in the centre of Durham's beautiful historic city, the Gala Theatre has a huge cultural offering for students.
Empty theatre seats

Durham Cathedral

Founded in 1093, Durham's stunning Cathedral on the banks of the River Wear has hosted many student performances.
View of Durham Cathedral across the River Wear

Choirs

Then there are choirs. Our students celebrate the rich choral tradition, with seven university choirs to choose from, as well as college and chapel choirs.

If you have experience of choral singing, you could join the Choral Society, one of Durham's largest musical groups performing large-scale choral works every term. Chamber Choir is a select group of 24 of the strongest choral singers, they perform traditional choral repertoire in intimate events around Durham. There is also an incredible a cappella scene with three choirs: Northern Lights, Durham Dynamics and Full Score Barbershop Society, Durham's newest choir.
Explore our Chapel Choirs
Gospel Choir Concert with Sir Thomas Allen in Durham Cathedral

World Music

We offer excellent opportunities to enjoy music from around the world, with a range of world music groups including Gamelan, and P'Ungmul (the Korean Drumming group). These ensembles benefit from expert teaching led by local musicians and academics from the Music department. There are also a number of chamber groups including New Art Music Ensemble, Horn Society, Dunelm Consort, Flute Choir, string quartets and Divinity Wind Quintet that you can be part of. For those seeking a larger group, the Orchestral Society and the Hill Orchestra offer opportunities.

Group of flute players performing outside Durham Castle

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Our colleges also provide a host of performance opportunities

Each has its own unique atmosphere and ensembles, and there are also some intercollegiate groups. From St Aidan's Voices to Collingwood Big Bang, Hatfield Flute Choir to Mildert's 'Jam by the Lake', plus open-mic events, there is no shortage of music to get involved with and enjoy.

Explore Our Colleges
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Durham's Music Community

If you love music, you'll find a supportive musical community, where you can set up your own music groups and arrange your own performances. If you are a soloist and want the chance to perform, you can have a slot in the Lunchtime Concert Series which are free to attend, relaxed, and showcase the variety of music Durham has to offer.

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Music Societies

Joining a society is a great way to make friends especially when you share a musical interest. A list of our societies, most with links to their website, can be found below:

80+ Music societies at Durham
7 University choirs, as well as College and Chapel choirs

Societies and clubs