Department ensembles

The Department of Music provides opportunities for students across the whole University to participate in its musical ensembles, the outputs of which make a significant contribution towards the University and city’s cultural life and vibrancy.


Ensembles have a prominent place in University of Sheffield Concerts, and additionally feature in outreach and education events, civic occasions, tour internationally, and participate in national competitions. Around 150 students a year participate in ensemble music making, featuring students from all faculties across the university. 

Sheffield University Chamber Choir

Sheffield University Chamber Choir is made up of students from both the department of music and other departments throughout the University. The SATB choir has 30 members and performs several concerts annually, both at the University and elsewhere in the city, and also leads in the University's Service of Remembrance and the official University Carol Service. The choir tour regularly and recent trips have included concerts in Dublin, Paris and London.

Sheffield University Chamber Orchestra

Sheffield University Chamber Orchestra is a student ensemble with a membership drawn from right across the university. The core of the ensemble is a small, elite string section and single winds, with extra players drafted in as programmes require. Typically, repertoire includes late Baroque and early Classical symphonic works and concertos, works for string orchestra, and 20th-century music.

Sheffield University Symphony Orchestra

Sheffield University Symphony Orchestra is an award winning dynamic group of young musicians drawn from across the University. They put on two major concerts every year in which they perform large orchestral works. They also give their members the opportunity to audition to be a soloist, conduct or compose for the orchestra.

Sheffield University Wind Orchestra

Sheffield University Wind Orchestra is a collaboration of talented musicians from across the University. They put on two major concerts every year in which they perform large orchestral works and tour internationally during the summer period. They also give their members the opportunity to audition to be a soloist, conductor or composer for the orchestra.

Indian Music Ensemble

The Indian Music Ensemble is a creative music group primarily for western instrument players and vocalists. The focus of the group is to learn, research, practice, compose and improvise within the idiom of Indian music. It includes learning how to play Indian music repertoire with traditional instruments such as tabla. The Ensemble works towards creating recital material and involves opportunities for participants to get involved in performances. It is open to all.

Indian music is both a rich resource for melodic and rhythmic music material with huge potential to be creatively integrated into wider musical experience. It offers established and transferable methods, improvisation techniques and aesthetic approaches that can enrich musicianship. The Ensemble offers specialised training and effective ways of bringing this rich resource into performance and learning environments on both traditional Indian instruments and the student’s own primary instruments.

The Indian Music Ensemble generates performance opportunities for students having featured in major events organised by South Asian Arts UK (Leeds), Jazz at the Lescar (Sheffield), Sheffield Chamber Music Festival and BBC World Music Day. In 2019 the Ensemble was invited to perform in India at the University of Baroda as part of an International Music Conference. 

The Indian Music Ensemble will meet weekly on Wednesdays 5-6pm in the Ethnomusicology Room (Ground Floor, Jessops) from Week 2 onwards

The Tabla Ensemble

Indian Tabla Drumming Sessions (Open to All)

Each week as part of the Indian Music Ensemble’s activities there will be a tabla drumming group session led by John Ball in the Ethnomusicology Room. This is an opportunity to learn a new instrument, and to explore a different way of approaching rhythm under the guidance of an experienced tutor who has taught tabla in the UK for over 20 years. Tabla drums are available for use in our Department.

Tabla is the most popular percussion instrument played in the North Indian sub-continent, and in recent times has gained recognition globally for its versatility and its wide ranging soundscape. 

The study of tabla is rooted in an oral tradition dating back over centuries. In India, a very elaborate and effective systems has been developed by tabla maestros of old to identify the different sounds produced on the drums when their different parts are struck in specific ways. Whatever is played on the drums can be vocalised; this recitation of rhythmic patterns being looked upon as a distinct aesthetic art in India. This "vocal percussion”, sometimes described as Indian beatboxing functions on many different levels: as a memory aid for particular strokes and stroke-patterns; as a notation, both aural and written; as a means of generating variations through various permutational processes, and as an aspect of performance. Each tone on the tabla has a name, such as na, din, ti, ta, and dha, which form an elaborate system of vocal percussion called bols (from the Hindi verb boina "to speak"), a dynamic drumming tradition incorporating a system of building blocks and structures which can be translated onto a wide range of instruments. Indian rhythmic concepts have inspired works by several western musicians including the Beatles, John McLaughlin, John Coltrane, Terry Riley and Philip Glass. 

These sessions will:

  • Introduce students to the playing techniques and vocabulary of tabla
  • Develop and generate repertoire using traditional improvisation and composition tools
  • Work towards creating and developing 'tabla ensemble’ repertoire

Places are limited so please email me to secure a place at the sessions.

The Tabla Ensemble will meet Thursdays from 5pm-6pm weekly in the Ethnomusicology Room (Jessops Building, Ground Floor) from Week 2 onwards 


TUOS Folk was established by renowned folk musician Fay Hield and is run by music students at the University. Our members are students, staff and alumni from various departments who come together to play and sing this music.

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