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The University of Southampton
MusicPart of Humanities

RAE Success for Music at Southampton

Published: 20 December 2008

Music at Southampton enhanced its reputation for excellence in research as the results of the 2008 Reseach Assessment Exercise for the UK were announced this week. Following a different system from previous evaluations, RAE 2008 assigned quality levels to universities' submissions to arrive at profiles for each department. 50% of the research in the Department of Music was rated at the highest possible ranking of 'world-leading', with a further 30% as 'internationally excellent.' The system for releasing results is complex, and news organizations translate them in different ways: league tables produced by the Independent, the Guardian and the THES all place Music at Southampton among the top three or four universities for music in the UK. With a GPA of 3.25, the Department of Music was awarded the highest score of any group in the University of Southampton.

Southampton’s excellent results in RAE 2008 reflect continued development of our research since the last RAE in 2001, when Music at Southampton received the highest possible rating of 5*A. The department’s academics published musicological work in the internationally highest-ranking journals and the most prestigious scholarly presses. We have advanced knowledge in fields ranging from medieval polyphonic music to the works of Charles Ives, from the Renaissance to the Risorgimento, and the department continues as a focus for disciplinary innovation. At a recent meeting of the American Musicological Society, Southampton had more appearances on the programme than almost any other department in the world (top with Yale), and celebrated with the first ever party given by a UK music department at this premier musicological event world-wide.

During the assessment period, our composers have enjoyed commissions from the most highly-regarded bodies and have been widely recorded on commercial labels. They have won prizes at the British Composers Awards, been appointed to positions of international importance, and have worked on major projects in popular music and film. Southampton has had the greatest success of any department nationally in developing practice-led performance research through the AHRC’s Fellowships in the Creative and Performing Arts, with three currently in progress and two further awards completed since the 2001 RAE.

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