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Music achieves 100% for 4* and 3* impact

Posted on 18/12/2014

The Department of Music is pleased to announce that 100% of its research has been rated as having an outstanding (4*) and considerable impact (3*) in the Research Excellence Framework (REF). The high score is testament to the Department’s commitment to furthering the reach and significance of their work.

The REF assesses the quality of research taking place between 2008 and 2013 in UK higher education institutions. The Department submitted 16 staff with a total of 58 outputs including books on musical topics ranging from the Middle Ages to the 21st Century, CD recordings and an opera (George Benjamin’s Written on Skin). Overall, 78% of the unit’s research was deemed of being world-leading (4*) or internationally excellent (3*) standard in terms of originality, significance and rigour. 

The Department has undergone substantial expansion since the last Research Assessment Exercise, considerably broadening its expertise in jazz, popular music and film and branching out into new areas of ethnomusicology and early music. Research income has also risen sharply up to circa £1.1 million during the period of assessment. 

Professor Daniel Leech-Wilkinson, Head of the Department of Music, said: 'The REF results are a tribute to the diversity and quality of the research that has been going on in Music at King's. Leading in so many fields from the medieval polyphony to contemporary composition, from the popular music of Brazil and Turkey to 19th Century London and the Malay penninsula, the Department, which celebrates its 50th anniversary this year, aims to be a major force in new thinking about the study of music in the 21st Century.'

A new element of the REF was the requirement for higher education institutions to demonstrate the impact of its research on the economy, society, culture, public policy, services, health or environment, beyond academia. 

The Department of Music has collaborated with many prominent cultural institutions including the BBC, the Royal Opera House, English National Opera and the Southbank Centre in order to increase the reach of its work. Its research has benefited concert-goers, performance venues, teachers and pupils, universities and conservatoires, radio listeners across the world and music consumers through its broad range of activities. These range from making available performances and recordings of historically significant works of music, making new editions of standard historical texts freely available to the public, contributing to podcasts and speaking to the media about new ways of listening and thinking about music. 

An example of the impact the Department has had can be found in Professor Roger Parker’s work to complete and make available for the first time an unfinished Donizetti opera, Le Duc d’Albe. The work was given its world premiere recording by Vlaamse Opera (Antwerp) and has been shared and viewed online by a stream of opera fans around the world. 

Meanwhile Professor Daniel Leech-Wilkinson, Head of the Department of Music, is the creator of the CHARM website, an AHRC-funded initiative for the Centre for the History and Analysis of Recorded Music. The website promotes the musicological study of recordings and includes a major online discographical database as well as a free online library of almost 5,000 early recordings of a wide range of music. 

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