Classical - Contemporary - Solo - Ensemble - Instrumental - Vocal

Chetham’s students are not just aspiring performers, but also composers.

Chetham’s composers follow a diverse programme. Individual tuition is supplemented by weekly classes which focus on contemporary repertoire, techniques of composition, arranging, conducting and more.

Composition is offered as a principal, joint first or additional study.

We encourage our students to be creative, to develop their own style and to achieve their own potential while gaining experience working in a range of genres. Our staff are all versatile composers who are able to encourage and support students on their chosen path. Chetham’s students focus on a wide variety of contemporary classical idioms, popular music and jazz as well as music for film and the stage.

Student works are performed in our autumn and spring composers’ concerts, dedicated to chamber music, and in a summer concert featuring works for larger ensembles, including full scale choral and symphonic works. Chamber works are also performed to public audiences in our regular lunchtime concerts.
Distinguished composers visit the school to discuss students’ work with them in workshops and masterclasses.

Our students are encouraged to write for a wide range of ensembles. With three hundred outstanding instrumentalists and singers available we have unparalleled opportunities for learning first-hand about how to write effectively for various instruments and combinations.

Students have access to Sibelius and Logic software as well as the use of our advanced Music Technology and recording studios.

Chetham’s composers are often called upon to write for events that take place in the city of Manchester and beyond. We have participated in the first three New Music North West festivals, with our Chetham’s Contemporary Music Ensemble performing a range of works by major contemporary composers.

Composition students have had notable successes in major national competitions and gained places to study at top universities and conservatoires in the UK and abroad. They have been among the winners and highly commended entries in the BBC Proms Inspire Young Composers’ competition almost every year and won the Royal Opera House Fanfare Competition and the National Centre for Early Music Composers’ Awards, gaining them performances on BBC radio and at prestigious national venues.


“As a larger school, Chetham’s is one of the best places for composers to study at – there is such a diverse array of musicians to give one advice, and there are a number of larger ensembles to write for, as well as opportunities to conduct one’s own music, or the music of fellow students. The composition department here at Chet’s is unique, as everyone works together, creating a great sense of synergy” – Tammas, composer, Year 11