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Durham University

Colleges & wider student experience


No. 1 for Music

We are the top-ranked Music Department in the UK.
* The Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide 2019 and Complete University Guide 2019.

Music societies

We boast a total of 84 different music societies, all led by our students and run by our students.

College music

Our colleges offer loads of opportunities to perform and share your musical talents in orchestras, bands and choirs.

80 concerts every year

performed by 1,200 of our student singers, musicians and conductors.

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.


Making music at Durham

There are so many opportunities to get involved with and enjoy all kinds of music, with a year-round musical programme, catering for every taste. All our concerts are organised and performed by our students.
The sheer wealth of musical talent here means there is something for everyone - from Chamber Choir to Light Opera, Big Band to Orchestra, Rock and even a DJ Society you could join.


As well as orchestras, we have three university level bands: Brass Band, Big Band and Concert Band.
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!

Join a Choir

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.

Chamber and 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.
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.

College music

Our 16 colleges provide a host of performance opportunities. Each college 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 - be sure to look into the music that your college has to offer!

Even more music

Joining a society is a great way to make friends, especially when you share a musical interest. The majority of the musical activity is student-led through Music Durham, the Student’s Union and colleges. A full list of the societies, and links to their website can be found below:

Music Department

Underpinning our musical excellence is the Department of Music, one of the leading centres for the study of music in Britain. The Department runs Musicon, the University's public concert series. Musicon organises 12 public concerts per year across various venues by internationally acclaimed artists in the fields of classical music, jazz, musical theatre, world music and contemporary music.