We are currently accepting PhD applications in this area. Find out more about our staff's research interests here.

Calum Carswell

Thesis Topic: Use of choral music within the context of the Contemporary Evangelical Protestant church

Supervisors: Paul Mealor, Jeremy Perigo (London School of Theology)

Educational background (BA, MA, etc.): MMus, BA (hons) in Theology, Music and Worship

What are your research interests/what are you currently working on? Theological aesthetics, composition of sacred music.

What do you do outside of academia (hobbies, personal interests, etc.)? photography

Why did you choose to study in Aberdeen? I chose to stay here after I did my masters here because of my supervisor.

What is your favourite part of studying and living in Aberdeen? The high level of musicianship within the music department.

How do you think your experience in Aberdeen will prepare you for the future?  It will have given me an invaluable network of people to work with in the future.

Kathleen Cronie

Thesis Topic: The Conductor as a Vocal Pedagogue

Supervisors: Eddie Campbell (1), Chris Gray, Paul Mealor

Educational background (BA, MA, etc.): MA French and Gaelic Studies, Bachelor of Music, Master of Music in Vocal Music

What are your research interests/what are you currently working on? I am currently exploring the various methods of teaching vocal technique being used in choral settings today. I am also interested in potentially incorporating techniques used in training solo singers into choral rehearsals.

What do you do outside of academia (hobbies, personal interests, etc.)? I am the Assistant Manager at the North East of Scotland Music School (NESMS) and also teach solo singing from a studio at NESMS so unfortunately I tend to spend most of my time working! I am however currently planning my wedding so you’ll often find me browsing dress catalogues when I get a chance!

Why did you choose to study in Aberdeen? Aberdeen was one of the very few places in Scotland that offered an opportunity to study vocal music as a conductor so it was a natural fit for my research project.

What is your favourite part of studying and living in Aberdeen? I’m constantly amazed at the appetite for choral singing in Aberdeen, singers in the North East are an enthusiastic bunch!

How do you think your experience in Aberdeen will prepare you for the future? Aberdeen’s choral music scene is thriving so I’ve been offered many opportunities to conduct and to learn from the singers and conductors here. I feel sure that my experiences here will improve my skills as a conductor and voice teacher. 

Eoghan Desmond

Thesis Topic: Amra Choluim Chille

Supervisors: Dr Phillip Cooke, Prof Paul Mealor

Educational background (BA, MA, etc.): BA, MPhil (Trinity College Dublin)

What are your research interests/what are you currently working on? As the central focus of my PhD portfolio, I am setting a modern Irish translation of Amra Choluim Chille (Eulogy for Columba) by Dallan Forgaill (Blind Fergal), a disciple of Columba. Like Columba, I am from Ireland but studying in Scotland, so that connection is particularly important to me. I am also working on commissions from St Mary’s Pro Cathedral in Dublin and the Choir of the Chapels Royal in the Tower of London.

What do you do outside of academia (hobbies, personal interests, etc.)? I sing in Chamber Choir Ireland, the main professional choir in Ireland, and St Patrick’s Cathedral, Dublin. I conduct a small female-voice choir, Dulciana, who prioritise works by female composers in their programming. I am also a voracious reader and coffee drinker.

Why did you choose to study in Aberdeen? In my previous compositional studies I hadn’t been greatly encouraged to write sacred choral music. As my background is primarily in choral singing (I joined a cathedral choir at the age of 9), I found that I was a little stifled, creatively speaking, by this. After finishing my MPhil I took a hiatus from studying to focus on my singing career, and then simply stumbled by chance upon an ad for the PhD in Aberdeen, around the same time as I was starting to think about Academia again. As I was just getting back into composing sacred music, it seemed like a natural thing to go for!

What is your favourite part of studying and living in Aberdeen? I love how much active music-making there is, and how the department facilitates the performance and workshopping of our music. By the end of my second year, I will have had 2 pieces workshopped (on by the BBC singers) and 2 pieces premiered by University performing groups.

How do you think your experience in Aberdeen will prepare you for the future? The previously mentioned points have allowed me to really begin to develop my compositional style and voice in a coherent way, and enabled me to work on bigger projects, thus learning how to manage bigger projects. When I was just doing it on my own before starting in Aberdeen, I was very much working on a piece-by-piece basis, always planning relatively small pieces that I knew I could get performed. I’ve had to write bigger works for the PhD, and they’re still getting performed!

Kwangrae Kim

Thesis Topic: Phenomenological Approach in Audio/Visual Mapping

Supervisors: Dr Suk-Jun, Kim, Prof Pete Stollery

Educational background (BA, MA, etc.): BA in Composition (Chugye University for the Arts, Seoul), MA in Music Technology (Korea National University of Arts, Seoul)

What are your research interests/what are you currently working on?

I have been interested in audio visualisation by electroacoustic music and sonic arts. It does not simply generate animated imagery based on the sounds. It indicates the structure of algorithmic composition and provides performers and audience with musical inspiration to create interactive sounds, graphics, and custom effects for a live performance. I am currently working on 3D immersive sounds to extend the possibility of my audio/visual research by virtual reality (VR)

What do you do outside of academia (hobbies, personal interests, etc.)?

I play football at least once a week. It helps me recharge my batteries and clear my head so that I can come back to work fresh and energised.

Why did you choose to study in Aberdeen?

My supervisor, Dr Kim is well-known in electroacoustic music. I have heard about him since I started studying this music and have learned a lot from his works. So, when I found a PhD opportunity in University of Aberdeen, I was sure this course would make a great improvement regarding my musical knowledge and possibility. 

What is your favourite part of studying and living in Aberdeen?

The weather makes me stay home to concentrate on my research.

How do you think your experience in Aberdeen will prepare you for the future?

During the last two years, my works have been performed in Aberdeen several times as well as EU and US. As studying in UK, I am able to perform my pieces and meet researchers in a variety of fields relating to audio-visual and electroacoustic music. It has benefit greatly from the exposure of my work at foreign countries and also for the networking possibilities.

 

Anne Martin

Thesis Topic: Idiomatic instrumental style in the consort music of William Byrd. (1539/40–1623)

Supervisors: Professor David J. Smith; Richard Turbet

Educational background (BA, MA, etc.): B.Ed, M.Phil., M.Mus., LTCL

What are your research interests/what are you currently working on? The consort music of Byrd and sixteenth century consort music

What do you do outside of academia (hobbies, personal interests, etc.)? Walk, music and grandchildren

Why did you choose to study in Aberdeen? Because of the department interest in early music and possible supervisors

Michael Merrill

mikemerrillmusic.weebly.com

PhD Programme: Music Composition 

Thesis Topic: The Martyrdom of the Saints, an Oratorio for choirs, soloists, orchestra, and pre-recorded tape 

Supervisors: Prof Paul Mealor, Dr Phil Cooke 

Educational background (BA, MA, etc.): BMA Composite Composition/Saxophone Performance (BYU-Idaho), MMus Vocal Music Composition  

What are your research interests/what are you currently working on? Aside from composition, both for my thesis as well as for separate commissions, I'm conducting research on a new guide/instruction/reference book on orchestration. This book aims to delve a bit deeper into how the various instruments sound by themselves, as well as expound on how they interact with each other, providing composers and arrangers with a new, thorough, and concise tool to help them achieve the sounds they want in their writing. 

What do you do outside of academia (hobbies, personal interests, etc.)? Spend hours of fun with my baby boy Elijah (who's also the cutest baby boy you're ever going to meet) and my ludicrously gorgeous wife of 3+ years. I also do a lot of dishes at home, and have a growing collection of Avengers Lego sets (for which donations are accepted and appreciated). 

Why did you choose to study in Aberdeen? I originally wanted to come up here for my MMus only, and specifically chose Aberdeen to study under Prof Paul Mealor. But not long into my MMus studies I was encouraged to pursue by PhD here as well. So instead of the original plan of one year and one degree, things are looking more like four-and-a-half years, two degrees, and at least one child. 

What is your favourite part of studying and living in Aberdeen? The music faculty here have amazing connections that allow us as students to network with and receive tutelage under some of the best musicians in the world. Also, Irn Bru is DELICIOUS! 

How do you think your experience in Aberdeen will prepare you for the future? Among the most valuable skills that I've been learning here in Aberdeen is the ability to structure my research time. Most American universities (I'm from the American Pacific Northwest) require a fair number of courses and modules for their PhD candidates. While these courses undoubtedly provide great resources and teach important skills, they have the downside of cutting into personal thesis research and composition. The freedom that music research students have at Aberdeen Uni is an entirely new experience for me, and though it was rocky at the beginning getting used to this new and large amount of personal responsibility, it has helped me develop into a much more professional musician in many aspects of my career.  

Sarah Rimkus

Thesis Topic: The requiem mass

Supervisors: Dr Phillip Cooke, Prof Paul Mealor

Educational background (BA, MA, etc.): MMus (University of Aberdeen), BMus (University of Southern California)

What are your research interests/what are you currently working on?

As my main project for my PhD portfolio, I am currently working on a Requiem with added texts from American folk sources, to be performed by the University of Aberdeen Chamber Choir. I have also recently worked on commissions for Con Anima Chamber Choir in Aberdeen, the Ligeti Quartet in London, and Amuse Singers in New York City.

What do you do outside of academia (hobbies, personal interests, etc.)?

I sing quite a bit in choirs around town – you may catch me performing in the University Chamber Choir, Con Anima Chamber Choir, or at one of the cathedrals. I also love cooking, hiking, and playing with cats.

Why did you choose to study in Aberdeen?

I met Professor Paul Mealor in Los Angeles in 2012 when he was working with the USC Chamber Singers and Los Angeles Master Chorale. He gave a presentation at our composition forum on his music and I liked what I heard, both in terms of his music and his personal style. I was searching for something to do after finishing my BMus, and I never had the opportunity to study abroad, so the rest was history!

What is your favourite part of studying and living in Aberdeen?

The banter, of course.

How do you think your experience in Aberdeen will prepare you for the future?

Aberdeen has provided me with a level of hands-on professional and organisational experience that I’m not sure I would have gotten anywhere else. I’ve been intimately involved with ensemble management and direction in the music department as part of the Chamber Choir and Spectrum New Music Ensemble, and have had many rewarding teaching opportunities, which have left me feeling extremely well-prepared for life post-Scotland.