Since studying at the School of Music from 2008 - 2011, Tom’s work as a brass-wind composer has been shortlisted for a BASCA British Composer Award and been a prizewinner at the EBBA European Composers Competition.
Image credit: Media Wales
I chose to transfer to the School of Music at Cardiff when a performance related injury prematurely ended my studies as a tuba player at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama. Having been a hobby composer for a number of years the programme of both practical and contextual composition studies available as part of Cardiff's BMus(hons) degree was instantly appealing.
My time at Cardiff quickly became more than a means to obtaining a qualification. The supportive faculty network, from personal tutor right down to library staff, and friendly atmosphere amongst students made Cardiff a safe, comfortable place to explore myself as a musician. Having had my primary outlet for musical expression taken away by an injury, Cardiff became the place where I could hone my new voice, something for which I am still indebted to the School of Music and its present and former faculty; particularly David Wyn Jones, Anthony Powers, Adrian Thomas, John Tyrrell, Arlene Sierra and Drew Mabey.
Following undergraduate studies, my then tutor, Anthony Powers, recommended that I consider reading composition at Masters level. Within days of this discussion Anthony had prepared to guide me through application proposals for not only an MMus degree itself, but for a fully funded AHRC research scholarship. I was fortunate to be successful in both applications. This remains thanks to the levels of care and effort focused towards me as an individual at Cardiff, something further echoed through the acquisition of a specific external tutor to supervise my final dissertation, focusing on the development of contest repertoire in British brass band movement.
The School is also incredibly supportive of any extracurricular activity or entrepreneurial spirit shown by students. In 2010 it hosted and recorded my own new music initiative, Cardiff New Brass Festival, which featured a leading brass band, professional brass ensemble and renowned soloist performing new music by British composers, including some from the School itself.
The wide ranging programme of modules, outstanding workshop provision for composers and performers and luminescence of the faculty list at Cardiff speaks for itself. What applicants should be aware of is the unique and unseen aspects of the School; peers are supportive not competitive, individuality is celebrated and tutors deliver to the individual as well as to the masses. I’d have no hesitation in recommending the School of Music to prospective students.