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Composition and Performance as Research – Reflections and Responses by Ian Pace

The post below was originally published on my own blog. I reproduce it unchanged here.

Here is the video of the research seminar which took place on November 25th, 2015, on the subject of ‘Can Composition and Performance be Research?’, which featured a panel made up of Christopher Fox (Professor of Composition at Brunel University and editor of Tempo), myself (pianist and Head of Performance at City University), Miguel Mera (composer and Head of the Department of Music at City University), Annie Yim (pianist and DMA student at City University), and Camden Reeves (composer and Head of Music, University of Manchester). Christine Dysers (PhD student in Music at City University) was unable to be present due to illness, but a statement by here was read out by Sam MacKay (PhD student in Music at City University and organiser of the seminar). The session was chaired by Alexander Lingas (Undergraduate Programme Director and Reader in Music, City University). Greatest of thanks are also due to Bruno Mathez for making and editing the video.



A short article in response to the occasion has been posted at the City University Music Department blog by PhD student in music Roya Arab.

The panellists were responding to two key articles: John Croft’s ‘Composition is Not Research’, Tempo 69/272 (April 2015), pp. 6-11, and my own ‘Composition and Performance can be, and often have been, Research’Tempo 70/275 (January 2016), pp. 60-70. As of this week, Camden Reeves’ article ‘Composition, Research and Pseudo-Science: A Response to John Croft’, Tempo 70/275 (January 2016), pp. 50-59, and Croft’s reply to Reeves and myself, ‘Composition, Research and Ways of Talking’, Tempo 70/275 (January 2016), pp. 71-77, have been published – these are not yet available via open access, but can be downloaded from Tempo for those with access to this.

Here I wanted to summarise the arguments I presented at the forum, and also respond to some of Croft’s response. Some of my thinking has moved on a little from the positions I outlined in my Tempo article (which I acknowledge may contain some inner contradictions or inconsistencies), but the majority of positions presented there are ones I continue to uphold.

The debate has been dominated by the issue of whether composition can be research, with much less attention given to performance; I would like to redress that balance. I believe that it is tacitly accepted that a musical composition is likely to qualify as some type of research much more than is the case for musical performances and recordings. This is reflected in the relative numbers of composers and performers employed in academic positions in universities. I have compiled some approximate figures for the situation as it exists in autumn 2015, in large measure using data derived from departments’ own websites. These figures are slightly modified and checked from those given at the seminar – if anyone notices any other omissions or major errors, do let me know and I will make the appropriate corrections.

There are 53 departments offering various types of music or music-related degree, excluding the ten UK conservatoires, in which the status of composition and performance is of a different nature. These are as follows:

Russell Group (19): King’s College and Queen Mary, University of London; Birmingham; Bristol; Cambridge; Durham; Leeds; Liverpool; Manchester; Newcastle; Nottingham; Oxford; Sheffield; Southampton; York; Cardiff; Edinburgh; Glasgow; Queen’s University, Belfast.
Mid-ranking Institutions (‘Other’) (13): Royal Holloway and Goldsmith’s Colleges, and School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London; City University; Brunel; Hull; Keele; Open University; Salford; Surrey; Sussex; Bangor; Aberdeen
Post-1992 Institutions (received university status after 1992) (21): West London; East London; London Metropolitan; Westminster; Middlesex; Kingston; Anglia Ruskin; Bath Spa; Brighton; Canterbury Christ Church; Chichester; De Montfort; Falmouth; Hertfordshire; Huddersfield; Liverpool Hope; Oxford Brookes; Winchester; Wolverhampton; Edinburgh Napier; Ulster

I have looked only composers and performers employed in academic positions (i.e. integrated into the academic career structure from Lecturer to Professor) at these institutions. On the basis of research outputs, I have counted those composers and/or performers who have also produced a fair number of written outputs as being ‘0.5’s for the purposes of counting. I have counted only university (not college) appointments at Oxford and Cambridge. By this method, I arrive at the following figures:

All Universities
Total Staff: 691
Composers: 198 (28.7%)
Performers: 76 (11%)
Practitioners: 274 (39.7%)

Russell Group
Total Staff: 318
Composers: 89.5 (28.1%)
Performers: 21 (6.6%)
Practitioners: 110.5 (34.7%)

Mid-Ranking Institutions
Total Staff: 160
Composers: 45.5 (28.4%)
Performers: 13 (8.1%)
Practitioners: 58.5 (36.5%)

Post-1992 Institutions
Total Staff: 213
Composers: 63 (29.6%)
Performers: 42 (19.7%)
Practitioners: 105 (49.3%)

Thus there is a ratio of around 4.3:1 of composers to performers at Russell Group institutions, 3.5:1 at mid-ranking institutions, but 3:2 for post-1992 institutions. Performance is clearly less regularly valued as an academic field of study in the more prestige institutions, compared to composition (where the representation is very similar across the sector).

There is a highly sophisticated debate (and concomitant outputs) on practice-as-research in fields such as theatre and dance (my own former institution, Dartington College of Arts, were at the forefront of this). The apparently clear distinction between ‘creative’ and ‘professional’ practice mentioned by Mera in the seminar is however far from clear-cut; it is widely debated and problematized in critical literature, rarely defined clearly, and some departments elide the distinction by using concepts such as ‘Creative Professional Practice’. In comparison to all of this, the debate in music has been rather elementary. Composition has been an accepted academic field for a long time, like fine art and drama; but changes in the RAE/REF in the mid-1990s, allowing the submission of practice-based outputs, forced a re-thinking of this. It is in this context that more fundamental questions about the status of composition and performance in academia have come to the fore, as they have had to consider the types of issues and paradigms developed in other practice-centered disciplines.

I believe that practically all composition and performance are research in some sense; in the case of musical performance the following would be some of the types of research questions that any performer has to answer in order to play a piece of music:

  • Which tempi should be used for various large-scale sections of the score in question?
  • How much flexibility should be employed within these broad tempi?
  • On a smaller scale, what forms of stylisation and elasticity would be most appropriate for playing various types of rhythms?
  • Through various combinations of accentuation, articulation and rhythm, to what extent, and where, should one tend towards continuity of line, or more angular approaches?
  • In polyphonic or contrapuntal textures, to what extent should one be aiming to project a singular voice which is foregrounded above others, or a greater degree of dynamic equilibrium between parts
  • Should one aim for a singular prominent climactic point within a movement, or can there be several of roughly equal prominence?

I could continue with many more; what is important is that by articulating them in this fashion I am not simply making explicit what might as well remain implicit in the acts of musical preparation and performance, but also underlining the fact of their being choices in various respects, not necessarily something which all performers acknowledge (inwardly or outwardly) or act upon. ‘Gigging’ performers, or those who value primarily ‘intuitive’ approaches, might be amongst those less likely to be concerned about the possibilities of rational choices in the process of preparing a performance or recording.

But even if most practice is a type of research, there remain different levels of which such research is conducted – though this is equally true of written work. The question of ‘is X research?’ is banal and inconsequential; what matters is how we determine equivalence of quality between different manifestations of research. We should be wary of over-rating either practice-based or written work which entails a fraction of the thought, prior skills, time and rigour of the most intensive types of research, and ensure a critical research culture exists amongst practitioners if musical institutions are to be more than dressed-up low level conservatoires.

The possibilities for peer review of work whose output is in the form of practice have not been sufficiently explored, and I propose we need a ‘space’, equivalent to a journal, for reviewing and then either publishing (where outputs can be placed online), or simply detailing and drawing attention to (where outputs are copyrighted elsewhere) creative work. I would welcome any communications from others who might be interested in trying to set such a thing up.

Various participants in the seminar appeared to assume that I did not believe that practice could be research unless accompanied by a written component. This is by no means my belief; rather I have questioned whether some relatively unreflective practice should be considered equivalent to more traditional forms of research, but would again emphasise that these questions also apply to some types of written output. Mera pointed out my comments on popular and cultural studies, in which fields I find great variety of quality, and suggested this is true of much work on contemporary music too: I would wholeheartedly agree, and have argued as much on this blog, as well as in various book reviews and review-articles which have appeared recently (as in my extended study of critical reception of Brian Ferneyhough, in which I have given a harsh view of hagiographical writing).

I wish to add a few comments on some points made by Croft in his response to my article. There are many problems with this response and ways in which I believe he misrepresents various of the figures he critiques, but I will limit myself here to his responses to my article. Croft writes the following:

The distinction at work here, loosely put, is between discovery and invention. Before my critics leap on this statement with accusations of essentialism or definition-mania, let me repeat that an attempt to characterise something is not an essentialising move – it is, however, an attempt to get at a fundamental difference between two types of activity: describing and presenting; making and finding out; or, in Aristotelian terms, poiēsis and epistēmē. It’s hardly a new idea, and deserves more than the breezy dismissal it receives, both from Reeves and from Ian Pace in his response. Einstein was not just ‘making something’. He was describing the world. A composer, on the other hand, is making an addition to the world that is not primarily descriptive. (And no, not like a smartphone or a blancmange.)

Smartphones and blancmanges aside (why are they so fundamentally different to musical composition in terms of their relationship to description?), I do not accept that either Reeves’ response nor my own entail a ‘breezy dismissal’; in my own case I dispute how clear-cut is the dichotomy presented by Croft. He goes on to locate cases within literature on practice-as-research which themselves frame the concept of research so as to include creative practice, with which I would agree. The following is the definition of research supplied by the REF:

1. For the purposes of the REF, research is defined as a process of investigation leading to new insights, effectively shared.
2. It includes work of direct relevance to the needs of commerce, industry, and to the public and voluntary sectors; scholarship; the invention and generation of ideas, images, performances, artefacts including design, where these lead to new or substantially improved insights; and the use of existing knowledge in experimental development to produce new or substantially improved materials, devices, products and processes, including design and construction. It excludes routine testing and routine analysis of materials, components and processes such as for the maintenance of national standards, as distinct from the development of new analytical techniques. It also excludes the development of teaching materials that do not embody original research.
3. It includes research that is published, disseminated or made publicly available in the form of assessable research outputs, and confidential reports (as defined at paragraph 115 in Part 3, Section 2). (p. 48)

I do not know why Croft is resistant to this type of highly inclusive definition, though suspect (as indicated in my Tempo article) that this reflects an analytical/positivist philosophical bent rather than the more synthetic and idealistic attitude which I find more enlightening. Research does not merely describe the world, but can create new forms of perception and experience, such as are fundamental to artistic creation. One does not have to be a postmodern relativist (I am certainly not) to see that research can shape rather than merely identify reality. Composition does not come from nowhere, and all music is produced and heard in relation to other music and sonic phenomena; to treat musical creation independently of reference (whether or not willed by the composer) is in my view simplistic. Croft goes on to conclude:

This is not the place to launch a critique of STS [Science and Technology Studies], but I do think practice-as-research is in trouble if it depends on a view of science that confuses ideas and things so profoundly. However, Pace seems to espouse a version of this view in his suggestion that, if Einstein had not come up with relativity, someone else might have come up with an ‘entirely different paradigm’ instead. Most physicists would find this idea absurd.  (p. 75)

The above relies on a flagrant misquotation; in my Tempo article I wrote the following:

It is by no means necessarily true that, as Croft says ‘if Einstein had not existed, someone else would have come up with Relativity’; someone might have come up with a quite different, but equally influential paradigm. (p. 68)

Nowhere here or elsewhere in the article do I use the phrase ‘entirely different paradigm’. The point is that ‘Relativity’ is not itself the phenomena being identified, but a scientific model use to give shape to external phenomena. I will leave it to others to debate whether this was the only possible model which could have been used, or for that matter whether this model will always remain undisputed in the future.

Croft also writes:

Pace, at one point, agrees that composition is ‘not intrinsically research’, but that it might entail various activities that are research. If this is his view, we do not disagree; this is exactly what I said in my original article. But at another point he states that ‘research’ is just a word for what composers have always been doing, except for the additional requirement of supporting text. One interpretation of this might be that composition is research, and the text simply points out how – but this would contradict the earlier statement that composition is not intrinsically research. Another would be that composition is not research until turned into research by the text. This certainly doesn’t square with our usual use of the word ‘research’. You could, in principle, do scientific, literary or historical research without writing anything down. Moreover, if documentation can turn non-research into research, this undermines the ‘material thinking’ justification for practice-as-research: if we take this line seriously, then compositional knowledge-how would not be amenable to translation into knowledge-that. This is a far cry from Pace’s insistence on ‘explicit articulation to facilitate integration into academic structures’. (p. 76)

And furthermore:

Pace seems to think that without such an accompanying text, composing becomes merely a matter of composers composing ‘in the way they always have done’. This points, perhaps, to a tendency to dismiss any idea of a domain of irreducible non-conceptual thought as some kind of romantic fantasy of ineffability. I have no problem with ‘opening a window’ on the compositional process, but when this is anything but superficial, it is often poetic and rarely in the language of aims and objectives; nor is it a matter of ‘making explicit’ for the purposes of ‘integration’, as Pace puts it. Amenability to such language does not turn something into research, as we have seen; but in any case, much of what makes music meaningful is generally resistant to such ‘integration’. (p. 77)

Here is what I wrote:

Croft’s basic formulation that composition is not intrinsically research is one I accept in this naked form, and I would say the same about performance. But both are outputs, which can entail a good deal of research. A new type of blancmange or smartphone may not themselves be intrinsically research either (nor, as Lauren Redhead vitally points out, is writing), but few would have a problem seeing them as valid research-based outputs. (p. 64)

All I am arguing there is that an output is not itself research but the product of research. Croft could as easily read the above as saying that writing is not research, and dismiss all attempts to produce written articles and books, as he uses it to suggest that I am supporting his position. Another passage to which he refers is:

Unlike Croft, I believe that composition-as-research, and performance-as-research (and performance-based research) are real activities; the terms themselves are just new ways to describe what has gone on earlier, with the addition of a demand for explicit articulation to facilitate integration into academic structures. (p. 70)

This needs to be read in the context of these previous statements:

Ultimately his [Croft’s] model of research seems to require a particular type of conceptually based knowledge which can be communicated verbally, which I find too narrow. (p. 64)

What is being asked, not unfairly, of a composer employed in a research-intensive university is that at the least they verbally articulate the questions, issues, aims and objectives, and stages of compositional activity, to open a window onto the process and offer the potential of use to others. As a performer I am happy to do this (and wish more performers would do so) and I do not see why it should be a problem for composers too (the argument that this is unnecessary, as all of this can be communicated solely through the work itself, is one I find too utopian). (p. 67)

Nor does musical practice become research simply by virtue of being accompanied by a programme note, which funding and other committees can look at while ignoring the practical work. (p. 69)

I am a bit more reticent about the second of these statements now than when I wrote the article. The point here was a pragmatic one, which might be somewhat at odds with the sentiments elsewhere. Documenting process can surely do no harm, and indeed do a lot of good in terms of clarifying and facilitating the dissemination of research, but on the other hand one should not necessarily privilege written outputs in this respect, as I said in the talk. But this does not contradict my basic view that practice can be research independently of any written element, in strong distinction to the position Croft (and at first Mera) appear to attribute to me. Documentation does not make something research, just help a little with making research more accessible. 300 word statements hardly seem a huge price to pay, though I remain somewhat in two minds about this point.

I also wrote:

Composers may wish to be paid a salary to compose or perform in the way they always have done, but perhaps they would then be better employed on a teaching contract for composition with the recognition and remuneration for their composition or performance coming from elsewhere. (p. 67)

All I am saying here is that composers should not automatically assume they are high-level academics, any more than should those who write articles and book chapters. It hardly seems so unfair that they are held to research standards just like other types of academics.

Croft takes further exception to my arguments here:

Pace’s suggestion that composition is somehow a less demanding activity for an academic to undertake, and that it needs the words to make up the difference, hardly warrants a response and has no bearing on the question at hand. (pp. 76-7)

I wrote:

I have some doubts as to whether some composition- and performance- based PhDs, especially those not even requiring a written component, are really equivalent in terms of effort, depth and rigour with the more conventional types. (p. 69)

This is the same point as I made about composers expecting to have to put in no extra effort when working in universities. But Croft neglects my qualifier ‘some’. I have certainly seen some other PhDs which are absolutely on a par with more conventional types, just believe these are not always typical.

I end with my fundamental point: trying to provide very exclusive definitions of ‘research’ is fruitless; what is needed is to find equitable ways of assessing composition, performance, written and other types of outputs in ways which do not put any work at a disadvantage simply because of the form of the output.


‘Can Composition and Performance be Research?’ – Video of research seminar, November 25, 2015, and reflections by Roya Arab

On Wednesday November 25th, 2015, a research seminar took place at City on the question ‘Can Composition and Performance be Research?’, featuring speakers from amongst City faculty and research students, and from the wider academic community. Below is a video of the event, and some reflections and commentary by City PhD student Roya Arab.

Reflecting on a panel discussion on John Croft’s article at City University, Nov 2015

Scholars, students and practitioners gathered in the performance space of City University, Wednesday 25th November, to hear various takes on John Croft’s article ‘Composition is Not Research’ in Tempo’s April 2015 edition. Convened by Alexander Lingas, the panellists included Christopher Fox (Professor of Composition at Brunel University and editor of Tempo); Ian Pace (pianist and Head of Performance at City University); Miguel Mera (composer and Head of the Department of Music at City University); Camden Reeves (composer and Senior Lecturer at Manchester University); Annie Yim (pianist and DMA student at City University); Christine Dysers (PhD student in Music at City University). The absence of John Croft or Piers Halliwell (who had written ‘Treating Composers as Researchers is Bonkers’, May 2014) was felt.

Professor Fox opened the discussion with some background to Croft’s piece, having first heard his ideas at the Duke of Cambridge pub, after which he had encouraged him to write his thoughts down – the article was well received by Tempo’s editor Bob Gilmore, who sadly passed away before the edition’s highly accessed, and responded to, publication. Fox further informed us of how York University’s music department, at its inception in the 1960s, was filled by the director Wilfred Mellers ‘all with composers’, how they got students, liked them and to keep them in further studies ‘had to invent a compositional research degree’. Fifty years on from the genesis of such research – by the mid-eighties one of its manifestation being ‘composition as research’ – John Croft’s article has raised a few heckles, questioning the validity of composition as research, its ability to further knowledge in composition and possible misapplications within the discipline to name a few of the gripes. Ian Pace in his written response (Nov 2015) broadened the topic by looking at practical institutional funding and structural changes, development and uses of ‘practice as research’ within other creative disciplines and in other countries then going further to posit ‘performance as practice’ into the discourse and championing the potential for new kinds of practice. Luk Vaes highlighted the issue of changes in REF terminology requiring the arts to conform to the scientific model and the absence of solutions. He suggested looking at the EU where the dichotomy between academic and artistic training is being dissolved (Vaes, 2015). David Pocknee in his written response questions Craft’s presumption of a fixed methodology in scientific research, which he dispels as a ‘myth’ and ‘not the actual way in which science is conducted’ (2015, 16) instead suggesting the need for new theories and paradigms for ‘extraordinary science’ (ibid, p19).

During the panel discussion which was recorded, Miguel Mera reminded us these debates were not new especially in other disciplines, he questioned the stem based understanding of research and suggested the need for equivalence, ‘to share what we do…to share knowledge’ however ‘ hard it is to measure’; whilst Camden Reeves considers it ‘up to us to decide …..what we value as intellectual pursuit is research’, he feels composition is ‘coming under attack’ with a move to segregate composition into research and not research and expressed reluctance for providing written explanations, believing the work (composition) speaks for itself. The students on the panel welcomed the debates around the subject.

As a new student to musicology (having previously studied archaeology), I read some of the articles relating to the subject prior to the panel discussion. During the discussion and in the articles I had read, there was a notable absence of attempts to locate possible ‘scientific’ lines of enquiry, using quantitative analysis to help inform the debate. As I commented on Luk Vaes’s blog on Croft’s article (Vaes, June 2015), since funding for practice as research “dates back to mid-1980 in the UK, would it not be pertinent to list the research projects that have garnered funding and study the outcomes in order to establish ‘stock of knowledge’ (as outlined by REF) these research projects may have added to or enhanced…. Maybe a call out to relevant educational institutions to send lists of PhDs awarded in the fields of ‘musical composition and/or performance as research 1980-2010’. Once the list is established and presuming the PhD studies contain a hypothesis/question, then the abstract, musical text and/or performance (if accessible) should contain the findings and sufficient time has passed to detect applicable knowledge and impact on musical discourse and/or practice”. Such a study would additionally allow an overview of who is being paid for what, when and where, thus providing a useful database for multiple levels and angles of enquiry. Equally, I wonder how many composers and performers are creating (researching) works (findings), which further knowledge and have impact, without operating within educational institutions and seeking funding for research?

On the blog (ibid) Luk raised reservations about the disputed fundamental terminology within musicology. I responded that “grappling with terminology to situate the discipline more firmly in a hard-science biased academic/institutional framework seems to blight most social sciences and art, compounded by the phenomenological, dynamic and in part inexplicable reality of music. The fundamental terminology is something musicologists might sort out once they feel more confident in an ever evolving discipline with sub disciplines likely to increase as music leads us a merry dance, whilst the paymasters’ budgets decrease”.

We can never overcome the reality that a scientific fact like homeostasis, a term first coined in 1865, which is the control of internal conditions, be it temperature, specific blood conditions or other variables within living organisms (Turtle, 2015) has a constancy and applicability of use that no treatise on composition or performance could ever have. There are far too many unquantifiable and unqualifiable variables in composition and performance (not least reception in all its forms – by academics, critics, musicologists, institutions, funding bodies, music industry, trend setters and the general public) to allow for ‘a system’ to be taught affectively. Yes, much of science comes from lucky chance, but once decoded it can be repeated. For a start, one would wish for performance and composition to not be so prescriptive but nevertheless, people do teach thousands of composers and performers systems that have been deciphered and interpreted through long-term study and analysis of music and musicians, but how many end up being good performers or composers and how many of those get ‘discovered’ or paid in their lifetime for their works? (clearly ‘good’ is a relative word but there must be some general consensus that people can agree on). Once you teach a human biologist about the fundamental theories and practical applications of homeostasis, they apply it time and time again – it’s good every time because it works every time.

There is no escaping the problem of ever diminishing funds within educational institutions and from funding bodies for creative research and study. I personally believe social and creative disciplines need to get over their feelings of inferiority to the hard sciences and in the case of the debates surrounding ‘composition and performance as research’ there seems to be a need for a concentrated effort to establish clearer parameters for presenting ideas within the academic structure and examining output in a systematic manner, strengthening the discipline’s position to affect change within educational institutes for expanding the research remit, through providing good examples. This I am guessing would take a more honest, reflexive and nuanced understanding, acceptance and treatment of the challenges, constraints and freedoms that studying/practising music within educational institutional frameworks pose.


City University Research Forum, 25 Nov 2015.
Croft, J., Apr 2015 ‘Composition is not Research’, Tempo 69/272.
Halliwell, P., 2015. ‘Treating Composers as Researchers is Bonkers’. Standpoint Magazine May 2014.
Pace, I., 2016, ‘Composition and Performance can be, and often have been, Research’, Tempo 70/275.

New radio feature on Ian Pace and Michael Finnissy, and article on 9/11 opera

On Saturday April 18th, on BBC Radio 3’s programme ‘Hear and Now’, a feature in the series ‘Modern Muses’ was broadcast documenting the long-term collaboration between pianist Ian Pace, Lecturer in Music and Head of Performance at City, and composer Michael Finnissy. This can be downloaded as a podcast here.

Also just published is a new article by Ian Pace for The Conversation, entitled ‘Between Worlds: the danger of transforming 9/11 into stylised art’, considering the new opera by Tansy Davies and wider questions of opera and realism, and the transformation of traumatic events into aesthetic spectacle. Any comments from interested parties (including those studying opera or music theatre at City) would be welcomed, either here or under the article itself.

New articles in Music and Letters and Music Teacher by Ian Pace

Two new articles by Ian Pace, Lecturer in Music and Head of Performance, have recently been published. The first is a review-article entitled ‘Ferneyhough Hero: Scholarship as Promotion’, Music and Letters, Vol. 96, No. 1, pp. 99-112, a comprehensive critique of Lois Fitch, Brian Ferneyhough (Bristol: Intellect, 2013). Drawing upon intimate knowledge of Ferneyhough’s music (which Pace has performed over a 25 year period, including the world premiere of the piano piece Opus Contra Naturam (1999-2000), and written about previously) and also of the wide range of scholarly and other literature on Ferneyhough, he argues in detail that this is a fundamentally flawed and hagiographic work more akin to promotional literature than scholarship, drawing wider conclusions about the problems of writing on living composers where writers’ primary concern is to flatter their subject and win favour in such a manner. A longer 35 000 word article, ‘Brian Ferneyhough: A Critical Overview of the Literature’, a thorough critical survey of all types of writings in four languages on Ferneyhough’s work, has recently passed through peer review and will be published in Issue 12 of the online journal Search: Journal for New Music and Culture later this year.

Of a totally different nature is another article by Ian Pace published in the April 2015 issue of Music Teacher magazine, entitled ‘Safeguarding’ (pp. 13-15). Following earlier writings (see here and here) in the wake of the conviction of early music conductor Philip Pickett. The article also reprints his Guidelines for Teachers and Students.

Review of Ian Pace concert at York Late Music Series

Here is a review of Ian Pace’s recent recital in the York Late Music Series, including world premieres by Edd Caine and Steve Crowther.

Ian Pace – recitals in Canterbury, Graz, Austria and in York Late Music Festival

City University Music Lecturer and Head of Performance Ian Pace gave several recitals in Graz, Austria in February 2015, as part of the impuls festival there. These included performances of Richard Barrett’s lost (2004), commissioned by and written for Ian Pace, Chaya Czernowin’s fardanceCLOSE (2012), and also performances with German bass Andreas Fischer of Czernowin’s algae (2009), which Fischer and Pace commissioned and of which they gave the world premiere in the TRANSIT Festival in Leuven, Belgium, in 2009. During impuls, Ian Pace also gave a range of piano masterclasses and took part in a round table with Austrian composer Klaus Lang on the subject of whether nineteenth-century conceptions of artists and artistry had an adverse effect upon musical life today.

Prior to this, Ian gave a recital at Canterbury Christ Church University on February 9th, featuring works of Lauren Redhead (both written for and premiered by Pace), Czernowin, Barrett, Stockhausen, Finnissy and Gershwin/Earl Wild. He also gave extended composition workshops and piano masterclasses there.

On Saturday, March 7th, Ian returns to the York Late Music Festival, to which he has been a regular visitor since 2002, for a concert exploring miniatures for piano, including works of Schumann, Schoenberg, Ligeti, Kurtág, Judith Weir and James Dillon, as well as premieres of new works written for the occasion by Edd Caine and Steve Crowther.

Ian Pace Articles on Elite Music Teaching and Abuse in The Telegraph and The Conversation

Since the trial and conviction of former Director of Music at Chetham’s School of Music, Michael Brewer, in early 2013 on charges of sexual abuse of a student, City University Music Lecturer and Head of Performance Ian Pace, himself an alumnus of Chetham’s has been at the forefront of campaigning and researching on this subject, and has been regularly quoted throughout the national print and broadcast media, working closely with a range of journalists. Drawing upon his wider research into nineteenth-century performance, pedagogy and aesthetics, he has advised a range of politicians and also given detailed confidential briefings to the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse on the nature and scale of the issue, and has published a number of articles relating to the subject. He also keeps an extensive blog with a range of research-based material on this area. and has come to be regarded as a leading authority on the subject. Amongst his most important independent research has been that into former Director of Music at the Yehudi Menuhin School, pianist Marcel Gazelle, the former Dean of Manchester Cathedral, Robert Waddington, the former Director of Music at Colet Court School and major conductor for Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice, Alan Doggett, and former civil servant, scholar of the operas of Benjamin Britten and of Classical Greece, Clifford Hindley, whose articles Ian has analysed in depth to reveal their reiterated pederastic elements.

Recently, the conviction of leading early music conductor Philip Pickett (see here for the original list of charges against Pickett) has led to renewed press interest in abuse specifically in classical music, while the release of the film Whiplash has highlighted the issue of bullying in music education. In this context, Ian Pace was commissioned to write articles for The Telegraph and The Conversation on these subjects, which are as follows:

Ian Pace, ‘Does elite music teaching leave pupils open to abuse?’, The Telegraph, February 20th, 2015

Ian Pace, ‘Music Teacher sentenced to 11 years in prison as abuse film Whiplash prepares for Oscars’, The Conversation, February 20th, 2015

Two years ago, he published an important article in the Times Educational Supplement:

Ian Pace, ‘The culture of music education lends itself to abuse’, Times Educational Supplement, May 11th, 2013

which led to a heated debate, featuring a response by Claire Fox, to which Ian replied further (‘No music or art form is more important than the right of children to live safe from abuse’, October 3rd, 2013).

Ian also gave a QandA to Classical Music magazine in the aftermath of the Brewer trial. Amongst his numerous TV appearances was this on Channel 4 News, May 7th, 2013, for which he advised the production team over an extensive investigation.

Recently he was interviewed for a major article in the Spectator magazine (Damian Thompson, ‘Classical music’s dirty little secret’, The Spectator, December 6th, 2014) and personally expanded upon some of the perspectives contained therein in this blog post.

A wider range of media quotations from 2013 to 2015 are given below.


Jaya Narain, ”Many more’ sex abuse victims at music schools: Leading academic calls for inquiry after choirmaster and ex-wife are convicted’, Daily Mail, 10/2/13

  • He urges an investigation into music schools in the Seventies and Eighties
  • Ian Pace says the classical music world was then controlled by a select few
  • He was a pupil at Chetham’s, where Frances Andrade was abused
  • Andrade killed herself after giving evidence at the trial of Michael Brewer

A leading academic has called for a wider inquiry into sexual abuse at music schools in the UK after a choirmaster and his ex-wife were convicted of abusing a former pupil.

Michael Brewer and his former wife Kay, both 68, were convicted of six counts of indecent assault.

Their victim, Frances Andrade, 48, a former pupil at Chetham’s School of Music in Manchester, killed herself with an overdose shortly after testifying against the pair.

Last night, an academic who was also a pupil at Chetham’s around the same time as Mrs Andrade, called for a wider inquiry into sexual abuse at music schools in the Seventies and Eighties.

Ian Pace, a pianist and musicologist who lectures at City University in London, said the world of classical music was controlled by just a few influential people.

He said: ‘It is well known within the music world that there are many other such stories involving a variety of individuals in positions of power at various music schools.

‘Many of these people are extremely afraid to come forward with their stories, in a close-knit world of classical music in which careers are dependent upon the whims of a few powerful individuals.

‘A full independent inquiry into sexual and physical abuse in classical music education during this time is now absolutely paramount.’

Greater Manchester Police says it wants to hear from anyone who may have fallen victim to sexual abuse at the music school.

It has also defended its care of Frances Andrade during the trial at Manchester Crown Court.

The trial heard sexual abuse was ‘rife’ at elite music academy Chetham’s. Mrs Andrade told the court: ‘It was normal for us. Several friends of mine had been raped.’

Mr Brewer was director of music at Chetham’s when he began abusing his victim, then 14, in 1978.

Mrs Andrade was found dead at her Surrey home after giving evidence against the Brewers. Jurors were not told about her death until after they found the pair guilty of six counts of sexual assault.

Brewer and his ex-wife were remanded in custody and will be sentenced at a later date.



Helen Pidd, Philippa Ibbotson and Rory Carroll, ‘A musical hothouse where ‘Ling’s strings’ say they fell prey to abuse’, The Guardian, 11/2/13


Many of those we spoke to said that they felt unable to speak out about their abuse for fear of upsetting their parents, who had often spent vast amounts of money on sending them to Chetham’s. Though some of its students were entitled to a grant, the full fees were said at one time to be higher even than those for Eton. A lot of the parents were not well off, but simply trying to do the best for a talented child in a world of which they knew little. For some of Ling’s alleged victims, awareness of their parents’ investment in their education added further guilt to what were already hugely complex feelings. Ian Pace, a pianist, musicologist and head of performance at City University, said the intimate nature of music teaching offered particular opportunities to would-be abusers. “Musical education involves deeply intimate and personal relationships between teacher and pupil, and the pupil’s musicianship becomes viewed as a reflection of their personality in general. Children studying music are required to engage with and project intense adult emotions, are seen and judged physically as well as aurally, and are catapulted into a cloistered and often solitary world, surrounded by powerful guru-like figures with whom they engage on a one-to-one basis, and who may have the potential to make or break their future career.”




Mark Duell, ‘THIRD former teacher at prestigious music school is investigated by police after TEN girls claim he sexually abused them’, Daily Mail, 11/2/13

[….]Meanwhile, last night an academic who was also a pupil at Chetham’s around the same time as Mrs Andrade, called for a wider inquiry into sexual abuse at music schools in the Seventies and Eighties.

Ian Pace, a pianist and musicologist who lectures at City University in Islington, central London, said the world of classical music was controlled by just a few influential people.

He said: ‘It is well known within the music world that there are many other such stories involving a variety of individuals in positions of power at various music schools.

‘Many of these people are extremely afraid to come forward with their stories, in a close-knit world of classical music in which careers are dependent upon the whims of a few powerful individuals.

‘A full independent inquiry into sexual and physical abuse in classical music education during this time is now absolutely paramount.’

Greater Manchester Police said it wants to hear from anyone who may have fallen victim to sexual abuse at the music school.



Rory Carroll, ‘Ex-Chetham’s School of Music teacher reinvented himself in Hollywood’, The Guardian, 12/2/13

[….]Ling has in the past defended the use of glamorous photographs to promote his clients. Ian Pace, a London-based musicologist and blogger, posted excerpts from a 1999 Omaha World Herald article which described Ling’s strategy of promoting classical musicians’ glamour and sex appeal as if they were pop stars. “We’ve simply put photos out there which are new, which are good,” the paper quoted him. “And I hope it will attract a younger audience.”




Amy Glendinning, ‘Six more teachers in Chets’ abuse probe’, Manchester Evening News, 14/2/13

[…..]Former pupils who attended the Manchester city centre college in the 1970s and 80s have also spoken out about an alleged lack of pastoral care given to children, some from troubled family backgrounds or who were never visited by relatives. One former pupil claims heavy drinking was common, with children as young as 13 regularly found paralytic in their dorm rooms and older children allowed to go to city centre pubs. Ian Pace, 44, attended Chetham’s from 1978 to 1986 and says it was widely known at the time that teachers were having affairs with pupils. The successful professional pianist and musicology lecturer, now living in London, is calling for an independent inquiry into the way classical music is taught at specialist schools and colleges. He said: When I was at Chetham’s I was certainly aware of teachers having affairs with students, it was somehow not something seen as particularly wrong or unusual. I realise now it was much more extensive, often involved many who were underage and at the very least skirted the boundaries of consent. I don’t believe there were any clear guidelines for staff or if there were, they were not scrupulously enforced. Classical performers don’t just produce sounds, what they do is theatre, in which the performer seduces, entices, excites, moves their audience through their playing, look and demeanor. The demands of this can easily bring about a premature sexualisation of young performers. The whole way it works, the types of attitudes and personalities it nurtures and fosters, and the very ethos of teaching need serious consideration. It’s not just about a bad few but a wider culture and set of values which makes abuse a possibility.




Neil Tweedie, Nick Britten and Joe Schute, ‘Frances Andrade: A culture of abuse, denial and cover-up; The suicide of former Chetham’s School of Music pupil Frances Andrade has led to allegations of sexual exploitation – and a lack of action – at other elite music schools’, The Telegraph, 15/2/13

He [Norman Lebrecht] wants an inquiry into abuse at the country’s music academies, as does Ian Pace, a pianist and musicologist who studied at Chetham’s from 1978 to 1986. Mr Pace is at pains to stress that there were many fine teachers at the school during the years in question, that the school was generally no different from other boarding institutions, and that it offered often superlative teaching. But he also points to something deep in the psyche of the place.

“A tradition of thought descending from the late 19th century holds that what is most important is beauty, over and above other moral considerations,” he maintains. “This remains something of a credo for various types of artist, but needs unpacking. Where does it leave human vulnerability and frailty? In fact, where does it leave the human element at all?

“It is very easy for an artistic sensibility to entail a fair degree of dehumanisation – an extremely hierarchical view of human beings. This should be resisted at every opportunity. Human beings are more important than art. With hindsight, though, I can see how such a sensibility informed some of the culture at Chet’s.”

Mr Pace and fellow former pupils of Chetham’s have launched a petition calling for an inquiry into the alleged abuse.

“There are many other such allegations from the Seventies and Eighties, too many to ignore, powerful individuals at various music schools and colleges. Many victims have been afraid to complain either to the institutions or the police for fear of recriminations in a close-knit musical world in which a relatively small number of individuals can make or break careers.

“To produce a high-quality performance requires a lot from the performer. In school, this creates pressure to become prematurely ‘grown-up’, without going through the normal processes. With hindsight, one can see how this may have been achieved in a most heinous manner. It is a tragedy for those who suffered.”



Letter: Call for inquiry into sex abuse allegations, The Guardian, 20/2/13

In recent weeks, the ongoing allegations of historical sexual abuse at Chetham’s School of Music have put many aspects of music education under intense public scrutiny (Music school abuse inquiry identifies nine ‘key suspects’, 19 February). Following the conviction of the former director of music, Michael Brewer, the tragic death of Frances Andrade, and extensive testimonies in the press of other abuse, it is clear that there should now be a full independent inquiry into the alleged sexual and psychological abuse by Chetham’s staff since the establishment of the institution as a music school in 1969. Such an inquiry would ideally extend to other institutions as well, some of which have also been the subject of allegations of abuse.

Recent press reports have suggested that during this time many students complained to senior members of staff about the sexually abusive behaviour of a number of Chetham’s teachers, but that no satisfactory action was taken. While it is of primary concern that those who stand accused should be investigated as soon as possible, if these allegations are shown to be correct, it will be important to understand the wider implications of a school culture which facilitated such abuses of trust, and afforded alleged offenders long-term protection. For this reason, we ask senior members of staff from that time to account for what appears to be the severe failure of the school system to protect its pupils from those who exploited their positions of power.

The prevalence of sexual abuse, which appears to have continued unhindered over many years, suggests an alarming lack of responsibility and competence in the management of a school which had, above all, a duty to protect the welfare of its students and to nurture the artistic potential of every pupil. That Chetham’s appears to have failed in this respect now requires some considerable explanation from those who held senior positions of authority.

Paul Lewis Pianist (Chetham’s alumnus 1986-90), Tim Horton Pianist (Chetham’s 1983-92), Ian Pace Lecturer in music, City University (Chetham’s 1978-86), Peter Donohoe Pianist (Chetham’s 1964-71), Daniel Harding Conductor (Chetham’s 1988-93), Imogen Cooper, Steven Isserlis, Mark Padmore and 20 others



Amy Glendinning, ‘Chetham’s: now ten ex-teachers under spotlight’, Manchester Evening News, 1/3/13

[…..]The news comes as more than 1,000 former Chetham’s pupils and professional musicians signed a petition calling for an independent inquiry into sexual abuse at the school and other private music conservatoires.

The petition’s organiser, former Chetham’s pupil and professional pianist Ian Pace, says he believes the Brewer trial is just the tip of the iceberg’. Mr Pace, now based in London, said: There has been a huge groundswell of support for the petition from ex-Chetham’s pupils from all areas, including people who have been there very recently.

A lot of parents have also supported it, along with musicians of all different types, plus people working in education and other musical organisations.

The number of people contacting me to talk about these issues is also significant.

These are problems which have gone unaddressed for too long, like the nature of teacher-pupil relationships and abuse, whether it’s physical, sexual or emotional, which causes long-term damage.

Unfortunately I think what came out at the Michael Brewer trial is just the tip of the iceberg.

A spokeswoman for the RNCM declined to comment.



Martin Robinson, ‘Up to 12 former teachers at prestigious music school are under investigation over allegations of historic sex abuse’, Daily Mail, 1/3/13

[….]The news comes as more than 1,000 former Chetham’s pupils and professional musicians signed a petition calling for an independent inquiry into sexual abuse at the school and other private music conservatoires.

The petition’s organiser, former Chetham’s pupil and professional pianist Ian Pace, says he believes the Brewer trial is just ‘the tip of the iceberg’.

Mr Pace, now based in London, said: ‘There has been a huge groundswell of support for the petition from ex-Chetham’s pupils from all areas, including people who have been there very recently.

‘A lot of parents have also supported it, along with musicians of all different types, plus people working in education and other musical organisations.

‘The number of people contacting me to talk about these issues is also significant.

‘These are problems which have gone unaddressed for too long, like the nature of teacher-pupil relationships and abuse, whether it’s physical, sexual or emotional, which causes long-term damage.

‘Unfortunately I think what came out at the Michael Brewer trial is just the tip of the iceberg.’

A spokeswoman for the RNCM declined to comment as did Greater Manchester Police. MailOnline approached Chetham’s for comment, but they are yet to respond.



‘Music school sex abuse inquiry extended to 10 ex-teachers’, The Telegraph, 2/3/13

[….]Leading musicians have backed a call for a government-led public inquiry into the allegations of widespread abuse.

Ian Pace, a former Chetham’s pupil, is sending a petition with the signatures of 1,000 other former students and professional musicians to the Home Secretary.

He said he believed the Brewer case was “the tip of the iceberg” and an inquiry was the best way to root out what he saw as an “endemic” problem, not just at Chetham’s, but at other musical institutions around Britain.



Victoria Ward and Nick Brittan, ‘Music school abuse scandal alleged to involve five top schools; Allegations have been made involving up to 100 victims of sexual abuse at the UK’s five elite music schools, it has emerged.’, The Telegraph, 8/5/13

Ian Pace, a well-known musician and former pupil at Chetham’s school of music in Manchester, said he had heard of accusations concerning his alma mater as well as the Purcell school in Hertfordshire, Wells Cathedral School in Somerset, St Mary’s Music School in Edinburgh and the Yehudi Menuhin School in Surrey. Many more concerned serious psychological and emotional abuse.

The pianist, who has been campaigning for a government-led inquiry into the alleged culture of sexual abuse at music schools and colleges across the country, said he and others had handed the names of all alleged perpetrators to police.

However, officers cannot launch an investigation unless a specific formal complaint is made.

The Yehudi Menuhin School was the subject of a Channel 4 investigation this week in which it was alleged that Marcel Gazelle, its late founding music director, sexually abused pupils in the 1960s.

Former pupil Nigel Kennedy, the violinist, alleged in 2003 that young girls were abused at the school but no investigation was ever launched. The school said it had no record of any complaints being made.

A “significant” police inquiry is under way in Manchester, where around 10 teachers at Chetham’s and the Royal Northern College of Music are being investigated over allegations of rape and serious sexual assault.

Both Surrey and Greater Manchester police forces have appealed for any victims of abuse to come forward.

Mr Pace said: “The investigation should definitely be broadened. Manchester has been the focus of attention because of the Michael Brewer case but this is part of a wider problem.

“What I have heard from lots of people who have made allegations is that when they went to complain they were either ignored or sometimes pressure was put upon them.”

He said a “fundamental emphasis” was placed on the one-to-one teacher-pupil relationship at specialist music schools which can in some cases foster a high level of dependency.

“Young people in particular can be under the spell of that teacher, who is their passport to success and pleasing him or her becomes paramount,” he said.

Several of the schools at the heart of the allegations have been beset by accusations of inappropriate behaviour.




Victoria Ward, ‘Teacher describes “toxic” atmosphere at music schools; A woman who taught at two of the five elite music schools at the heart of an alleged sexual abuse scandal has described their atmosphere as “deeply toxic” and said teachers at both were known to have had affairs with teenage pupils.’, The Telegraph, 9/5/13

[….]Ian Pace, a pianist and former pupil at Chetham’s music school in Manchester, which is at the centre of a police investigation, said he had written to the UK’s top five music schools asking if they would support calls for a wide-ranging government-led investigation.

All five said they took the matter seriously but were non committal when it came to backing the call for an inquiry. Mr Pace has reopened a petition urging the government to look into the alleged abuse at Chetham’s as well as other institutions.

Lucy Powell, the Labour MP for Manchester, backed the call. She said: “I do think it’s time we had a broader inquiry because one of the issues that’s come up is the question of has jurisdiction over these institutions, who is ultimately responsible for safeguarding aside from the schools themselves?

“There are clearly still ongoing issues about procedure, policy and leadership when dealing with abuse.”

The Department for Education said it had “no current plans” to commission an inquiry.



Meabh Ritchie, ‘Abuse scandal: Britain’s elite music education in crisis’, Channel 4 News , 9/4/13 (at )

[…..]Renowned pianist and teacher Ian Pace has been one of the most vocal critics of what he believes is a system in need of review.

He started a petition, which was closed on receiving 1,000 signatures, calling for an independent public inquiry into music education – not just abuse allegations – at Chetham’s and other specialist music schools and colleges. It was re-opened after further allegations were made at the beginning of May.

Specialist music schools are independent from the state school system and command up to £30,000 in annual fees for boarding school places. However, pupils can receive up to 100 per cent funding for their place from the Department of Education.

Two urgent reports into Chetham’s school published last month found children’s welfare was not totally safe, and criticised school leadership. The school acknowledged the claims, but said that the majority of students were well cared for.

A former Chetham’s pupil himself, Mr Pace knows all too well about the culture of elite music schools. Even aside from allegations of inappropriate sexual behaviour, he says they have the potential to lead to psychological abuse.

“You’re immersed in this incredibly competitive hothouse environment. Stakes are high. That gives teachers a power that I don’t think is comparable to other schools,” he said. “I can’t imagine a maths teacher at Eton, say, commanding the same sort of power, authority or charismatic dominance as a prestigious string teacher at a specialist music school.”

Even at conservatoires – specialist schools for the fine arts where most students are over 18 – pupils are hugely reliant on their teachers for their future careers.

This dependence on a teacher’s approval does not always lay the ground for a healthy relationship, Mr Pace added.

“The power that teachers have, not just in making careers, but also in terms of people’s confidence….It’s very easy to exploit. It’s a huge responsibility. Huge,” he added.



Paul Gallagher, ‘Fresh abuse claims hit top music school; Former Yehudi Menuhin School pupil describes ‘inappropriate behaviour by a number of teachers’ during the 1980s’, The Independent, 12/5/13

[…..]British pianist and former Chetham’s student Ian Pace said yesterday that he has re-opened an online petition (click: HERE) calling on ministers to launch an independent inquiry into systemic abuse at specialist music schools. It received more than 1,000 signatures in one week, around 300 of those from ex-Chetham’s students. He will re-submit it to ministers after the petition closes at the end of May.

Mr Pace added: “All the people who have signed the petition want an inquiry into what appears to have been widespread abuse of all types at all the UK’s specialist music schools – both historically and in the present.  If sexual and other types of abuse could happen, we need to know whether the institutions were either unaware of them or, if they did know, did nothing to stop them, or possibly even put pressure on students to keep quiet.

“In light of the most recent revelations, I hope ministers might think again about the importance of holding such an inquiry.”

Mr Pace wrote to the heads of all the UK’s five elite music schools – Chetham’s, YMS, The Purcell School, Wells Cathedral School and St Mary’s Music School – asking for their support. He received replies from the heads of all except Chetham’s, from which only the bursar wrote back, and described these as “relatively non-committal”.

Responding to a blog posting from Mr Pace on the abuse scandal, Didier Gazelle, launched a remarkable defence of his late father on Friday and fully supported calls for the “utterly unnecessary” investigation to be dropped and for police “to find something better to do”.

Didier, also a musician, said: “It looks to me that times have changed. What was acceptable 50 years ago is now considered as an offence…I’d like to testify that my father always showed great affection for his pupils also in presence of my mother, and that nobody, at that time was thinking this was evil. Where is the limit between affection and sexual abuse?”[….]



Paul Gallagher, ‘Church of England sex abuse investigation into Manchester Cathedral Dean Robert Waddington expected to overlap with police inquiry at Chetham’s School of Music’, The Independent, 15/5/13

[…..]A Greater Manchester Police spokesman said Operation Kiso, the inquiry into historical sexual abuse at Chetham’s and the Royal Northern College of Music, had received a complaint about Waddington. He added: “Robert Waddington is deceased so there is nothing further that can be done.”

British pianist Ian Pace, who is leading calls to open an independent inquiry into historical sexual abuse at elite music schools, said “the connections between Manchester Cathedral and Chetham’s music school are strong”.

He added: “Chetham’s School lies just on the opposite side of the road from Manchester Cathedral. During the time when I was at the school (1978-1986) weekly services took place in the cathedral and the school provided all of the statutory choristers, who would sing at the cathedral practically every day and often over holidays. The annual ceremony of Founder’s Day, for which boy pupils wore an extremely cumbersome Tudor uniform, celebrating the founder Humphrey Chetham, also took place in the cathedral, as did some other concerts.”

Mr Pace said Waddington would have been “in direct regular contact with a whole range of boys at Chetham’s”.

Manchester Cathedral has two choirs, one of which – the statutory choristers, known colloquially as the ‘stats’, consists of pupils who all come from Chetham’s. The second is the voluntary choir – the ‘vollies’ – made up of other pupils. Given Chetham’s proximity to the Cathedral, on the opposite side of the road, the ‘stats’ are considered the mainstay of music-making at the cathedral.

Waddington’s fellow governors at Chetham’s included Ewart Boddington, director of Boddington’s Brewery, and the 18th Earl of Derby, Edward John Stanley. There is no suggestion any other governor was aware of the abuse Waddington is said to have carried out.

[…….]A spokeswoman for Chetham’s told the Independent: “Our archives tell us that Robert Waddington was a Governor of the School from September 1984 until September 1993, and a Feoffee from October 1984 until October 1993.” A Feoffee is a trustee of Chetham’s Hospital School and Library.

When asked if any complaints had been made against Waddington by pupils or staff during his time as a governor, the spokeswoman said the school was not aware of any. She added: “However you should be aware that our records retention policy is likely to mean that we would not retain records from this period. Our records retention policy follows the Retention Guidelines for Schools and is compliant with the Data Protection Policy.”

Mr Pace added:  “At the time when some of the worst abuse is alleged to have gone on at the school, the school board contained someone who has been outed as an abuser himself.”



Russell Jenkins, ”Love to live to play’ – but Chetham’s is mournful’, The Times, 16/5/13

[…..]The Department for Education demanded a detailed action plan, issued a deadline and warned that even this revered specialist school could still face closure unless it shows it is doing better.

Against this dismal background Ian Pace, the pianist and a former pupil, reopened his e-petition for a full inquiry to expose the wider culture which “facilitated such abuses of trust”.

Mr Pace believes the school’s management still has not done enough. “At the moment it looks like the school is trying to spin its way out of trouble. We would look for … a genuine acknowledgement about what went wrong from the victims’ point of view,” he said.[……]



Paul Gallagher, ‘ Decades of abuse by Royal College of Music piano teacher Ian Lake boosts demands for inquiry; Victims demand to know why Ian Lake was employed by Royal College of Music for so long’, The Independent, 29/12/13

[…..]Labour MP Lucy Powell, whose constituency covers Chetham’s and RNCM, said: “Given the cross-over nature of the offences, an inquiry under Operation Yewtree, looking at historical allegations of child abuse by Jimmy Savile and others, that could be specific to music schools would be welcome. Failing that I support the setting up of a separate public inquiry.”

Hundreds of former music school pupils have added their names to a petition calling for exactly that.  Leading campaigner Ian Pace, a former Chetham’s pupil, said: “Only a full public inquiry into sexual and other abuse in musical education is likely to get to the bottom of this alleged widespread corrosive abuse and ensure both that those who have suffered are heard in safety, and proper recommendations are made to ensure this could never happen again.

“Whilst having known for a while about various allegations concerning Lake, I also have friends who studied with him and would point out what an important figure he was in terms of encouraging and providing opportunities for young composers in particular.

“‘It is hard for people to accept that musicians they know and admire – and sometimes have provided them with work and opportunities – might also have been responsible for very bad things; it is also hard for some unfamiliar with the music world to realise that some abusers can be charming, charismatic and artistic individuals.”



Paul Gallagher, ‘ Former Guildhall School tutor arrested on suspicion of rape in the 1970s; The case of prominent classical musician, Philip Pickett, 63, is just the latest in a series of alleged sexual assaults that has fuelled calls for a public inquiry into historic abuse in British music schools’, The Independent, 5/1/14

[…..]The pressure has been growing for a full general public inquiry into suspected historic sexual abuse across all of the UK’s elite music schools.

Concern about abuses carried out by a number of individuals has led to more than 1,000 former alumni of specialist music institutions signing a petition calling for an inquiry. It was organised by Ian Pace, Paul Lewis and Tim Horton, piano graduates of Chetham’s – the Manchester conservatoire that is itself subject to an ongoing inquiry into historic sexual abuse, along with the Royal Northern College of Music.

Four former or current teachers at the two schools remain on police bail as part of Operation Kiso. Mr Pickett has no link with these cases.

The Guildhall’s music alumni include Jacqueline du Pré and George Martin, while Orlando Bloom, Daniel Craig and Ewan McGregor are theatre graduates. More than 800 students from around 60 countries attend, with British pupils paying fees of more than £10,000 a year and foreign students paying up to £23,000.

Shadow Children’s minister Lucy Powell, whose constituency covers Chetham’s and the Royal Northern College, said: “Given the cross-over nature of the offences, an inquiry under Operation Yewtree, looking at historical allegations of child abuse by Jimmy Savile and others, that could be specific to music schools would be welcome. Failing that I support… a separate public inquiry. ”

Mr Pace said only a public inquiry would reveal the truth. “This will ensure both that those who have suffered are heard in safety and proper recommendations are made to ensure this could never happen again.”[…..]



Keir Mudie and Nick Dorman, ‘Home Office £70,000 to Vile Group; Paedophile Revelations’, The People, 2/3/14

[….]The whistleblower said [Clifford]Hindley, who is now dead, never mentioned the grant again after saying he would “deal” with it.

But the Sunday People understands PIE did get the cash. The Home Office said last night: “We are aware of the allegations and the Permanent Secretary has commissioned an independent investigation.”

But a Freedom of Information request shows all Home Office files about PIE since 1979 have been destroyed – quite legally.

Hindley left the Home Office in 1983 and wrote academic articles on gay relationships in Benjamin Britten’s operas.

City University music lecturer Ian Pace told Exaro investigative website: “Some of Hindley’s writings certainly show a strong interest in pederastic elements.”

PIE’s membership ranged from the jobless to diplomats.[….]



Martin Beckford, ‘ Now Chief Coroner is exposed as paedophile apologist who wanted age of consent to be 14’, Mail on Sunday, 16/3/14

[…..]He [Peter Thornton] added: ‘I am sorry the Paedophile Information Exchange had any connection with NCCL. I was chairman of NCCL when I believe PIE was ejected from NCCL, which was the right decision.

‘With hindsight it should have happened earlier. I never supported PIE or its aims in any way. Abuse of children, physical or sexual, is and always has been a terrible crime.’

Ian Pace, an academic and campaigner against abuse in musical education, said last night: ‘This is an extremely serious situation which demonstrates that the PIE network was able to infiltrate some of the upper echelons of British government and society in the 1970s and 1980s. This needs to be thoroughly investigated with proper resources and funding.’



Andrew Norfolk, ‘Friend to stars had easy access to boys’, The Times, 25/3/14

[….]Ian Pace, a professional pianist, City University lecturer and campaigner against abuse in musical education, last night demanded a “proper investigation” of Doggett’s continued access to boys after his offending was first exposed at the prep school. “It is rare for such abusers to have merely a few isolated victims,” he said. “The potential implications of this are alarming.”



‘We must have truth on abuse’, The Sun, 13/7/14

[….]Cameron offered her [Butler-Sloss] his support – as politicians feel they must do with judges. But he should realise that was a mistake.

Victim campaigners such as Ian Pace are dismayed.[…..]



Tom Bateman, ‘Paedophile Peter Righton advised Home Office on policy’, BBC News, 18/8/14 (with radio interview)

[….]By the mid-1970s, Righton had become a founding member of the Paedophile Information Exchange (PIE) which advocated sexual relationships between adults and children.

At the same time he became increasingly influential in the field of residential child care, according to Ian Pace, a lecturer at City University who has researched historical abuse at music schools and the influence of PIE.

He said Righton was “deeply involved with the cult of the classical world that was very important to… the paedophile movement”, focusing on stories of “Greek love” between men and young boys.

Mr Pace said “some of Righton’s interests” were reflected in the Home Office advisory report.

The section of the report which credited Righton called for residential child care workers to be trained in “the growth of civilisation” and “aesthetic values”.[….]



Guy Adams and Andrew Malone, ‘Revealed: The full horrifying truth about Sir Nicholas Fairbairn – the other paedophile at Margaret Thatcher’s side’, Daily Mail, 22/8/14

[…..]There were dozens of female lovers. One, a Commons secretary, attempted suicide outside his London home in 1981. Another, broadcaster Esther Rantzen, says he plied her with Krug and beluga caviar a few years later. ‘The rest was inevitable,’ she wrote in her memoirs.

Ian Pace, a lecturer at City University in London, and a campaigner and researcher on organised abuse, believes Fairbairn’s behaviour during this era was part of a concerted effort to ‘cover the tracks’ of his bisexual past.

If so, then it wasn’t entirely successful. In the early Nineties, a Scottish newspaper discovered Fairbairn’s name in an old piece of SMG literature. He responded by claiming that he’d had no idea of the nature of the ‘perverted’ minority the SMG lobbied for when he’d agreed to be their figurehead.[….]



Paul Gallagher, James Hanning and Jane Merrick, ‘ May under pressure to give abuse inquiry greater powers; The Home Secretary seeks to regain the initiative after the resignation of her appointee. Paul Gallagher, James Hanning and Jane Merrick report’, The Independent, 2/11/14

[…..]In Friday’s meeting, 18 of the campaigners present demanded that Ms Woolf, the Lord Mayor of London, resign. Private letters by Mrs Woolf to Mrs May tried to play down her ties with Lord Brittan, the former Home Secretary who may be called by the inquiry to give evidence into his handling of abuse allegations in the 1980s. Two NSPCC members who felt further delay would hinder the inquiry’s process rejected the resignation call.

Ian Pace, one campaigner present, said: “There was a unanimous vote by those present the panel has to have statutory powers, otherwise institutions under scrutiny will give no more information away than they absolutely have to. It was made clear by the panel members that they would take that view back to the Home Office.”[….]



Paul Gallagher, ‘ Dossier on ‘VIP paedophiles’ to be published – if it exists’, The Independent, 6/11/14

[….]Ian Pace, who in 2013 organised a petition of musicians calling for a public inquiry into abuse in specialist music schools, was one of 21 campaigners at a meeting on Friday chaired by a Home Office official, Usha Choli.

Mr Pace asked whether the inquiry would have access to closed archives, such as those belonging to Castle, a former Labour cabinet minister under Harold Wilson.

“The answer seemed to be yes,” said Mr Pace. “We were told the panel’s security clearance would enable [it] to access things like intelligence files and closed archives, such as a lot of material contained within the Barbara Castle archives where some people suspect she may have kept a copy of the dossier.”

At least three people have tried unsuccessfully to access the Castle files to see if they contain the Dickens Dossier, but found a lot of the material closed. Some papers with restricted access include diary entries and correspondence with family members. All of her correspondence with the former Labour Home Secretary Jack Straw between October 1981 and February 1999 is also marked “closed” on the library’s database, along with a letter she wrote to Neil Kinnock in December 1999.

Mr Pace said: “I do know of separate occasions where people went after a whole range of material where the Dickens Dossier was likely to be, but could not see any of it.”

The Independent on Sunday revealed at the weekend that the inquiry panel will have “developed vetting” – top-level clearance allowing it access to intelligence files and information.[….]



Damian Thompson, ‘ The dark side of El Sistema; An explosive new book uncovers abuse at the heart of one of classical music’s most revered institutions.’, Spectator, 4/12/14

[…..]Baker’s allegations feature prominently on the website of Ian Pace, head of performance at London’s City University and a virtuoso pianist specialising in the farthest reaches of the avant-garde. Pace is a campaigner against child sexual abuse – and conspiracies to hush it up. His Twitter account churns out allegations about paedophile sex rings in Westminster and the arts world. His enemies dismiss him as a left-wing crank, pointing to the ideological flavour of his campaigns against abuse-ridden hierarchies. Baker is also on the left: his exposé of El Sistema is a plea for progressive and experimental musical education. (The irony, he points out, is that Abreu’s liberal admirers think this is just what he has given Venezuela, whereas in fact he forces his pupils to worship the ‘elite’ classical canon.)

But Pace’s blog about sex abuse, Desiring Progress, is not the work of a crank. Its centrepiece is a petition for an inquiry into ‘sexual and other abuse at specialist music schools’. Signatories include Imogen Cooper, Peter Donohoe, Paul Lewis, Leon McCawley, Steven Osborne, Charles Owen, Martin Roscoe and Kathryn Stott – that is, most of Britain’s front-ranking pianists, plus the international virtuosos Andrei Gavrilov and Marc-André Hamelin. Other signatories include the oboist Nicholas Daniel, the cellist Steven Isserlis and the violinist Tasmin Little, all world-class soloists. The composer Michael Berkeley has signed: he’s now a peer and free to name names in the Lords without fear of libel action.

Pace, not coincidentally, was educated at Chet’s. ‘From very early in my time at Chetham’s I could tell something was wrong, creepy, unsettling about the place, the people and the culture,’ he says.

‘Many teachers were smarmy, arrogant, but charismatic and “artistic”. They’d fawn over certain pupils, not simply because of admiration for their musical achievements. Rather those pupils became objects of desire, groomed for purposes of delectation and titillation. With that came a type of premature sexualisation, in terms of the figures pupils were expected to cut on stage, and the need for them to communicate sexualised adult passions and desires through music. The ability to do this, to play this game, seemed to create a type of pecking order.’

According to Pace, this mindset permeates classical music. ‘When I have heard the ways in which various teachers, critics, those in charge of musical institutions, and others speak of many child or young performers, the thinking can itself be predatory.

‘People and their musicianship are summed up in terms of being a “bit of rough”, a “pussycat”, a “tease” and so on. One teacher openly berates one male student for not getting “fucked enough”, claiming that their artistry is limited for this reason.’ And some women teachers play this game, he adds: ‘One deeply insecure female teacher resented seeing her younger male students with girlfriends, and would surreptitiously intervene in their lives to try and wreck their relationships. And of course to criticise some teachers can be fatal in a world where careers are already deeply precarious.’

Sexual abuse in music schools is often an extension of other forms of abuse, says Pace – psychological, emotional and physical domination disguised by the mystique of the ‘artistic’. This rings true: substitute the word ‘spiritual’ for ‘artistic’ and you have at least a partial explanation for the epidemic of molestation in the Catholic Church. Tutors in music colleges are more than teachers: like clergy, they are called upon to exercise authority in an intimate setting. Pupils sometimes ascribe quasi-magical powers to them. It’s worth stressing that most teachers are not tempted to make sexual advances to their young charges; that most of those who experience temptation resist it; and that, as crimes are uncovered, blameless people face the terrifying prospect of made-up allegations.

All of which lends urgency to Pace’s demand for a thorough inquiry – and a restructuring of musical education to safeguard pupils. The signs are that classical music is about to suffer the convulsions experienced by the Church and BBC light entertainment. The past is being raked over. No one imagines that Benjamin Britten will emerge as the Jimmy Savile of high culture, but not everyone believes that his passion for prepubescent boys was weird but sublimated and therefore innocent, which is the contorted position of the Britten estate. What are we to make, for example, of the diaries of the notorious paedophile Peter Righton, which refer to Britten and Peter Pears as friends and ‘fellow boy-lovers’?

More significantly, the police have fat dossiers on current figures in the music world. Other suspected crimes have yet to be reported. ‘I am aware of allegations, some very serious and of a sexual nature, against prominent teachers working right now in various of the leading UK conservatoires,’ says Pace. In February this year, former Guildhall School teacher Philip Pickett – a hugely respected director of early music ensembles – was charged with eight counts of indecent assault, three counts of rape, two counts of false imprisonment, one count of assault and one count of attempted rape. Pickett’s trial has been postponed from October 2014 to January 2015 so that he could finish touring – a ruling that Pace describes as ‘quite incredible’.

We must, of course, presume Pickett’s innocence, but his trial will certainly focus attention on charges of abuse at British music schools and beyond. Meanwhile, it will be interesting to see how institutions such as the Southbank Centre that have championed El Sistema – and Sistema Scotland and Sistema England which are modelled on the SBYO – react to Baker’s meticulously researched book. There is a lot of money worldwide invested in this brand – enough to withstand most allegations. But, as the Catholic Church has discovered, the exposure of child abuse changes everything.



Paul Gallagher, ‘Ben Emmerson QC: The human rights lawyer who was expected to lead child abuse inquiry is accused of ‘bullying’ and ‘intimidation’; Mr Emmerson released a statement describing the allegations as ‘entirely baseless’, adding that the complaints had been ‘fully investigated and dismissed as unfounded”, The Independent, 21/1/15

[…..]Yet there are broader worries the continuing public disputes are having a damaging effect. Campaigner Ian Pace said: “There is still no chair, and much damage is being done by spats involving panel members, others working either for the Home Office or the inquiry, politicians, survivors and campaigners, being played out in public. And Lynne Featherstone’s appearance in front of the Committee on Tuesday, revealing herself very ill-informed about the whole matter, does not inspire confidence.”



Excellent review of lecture-recital by Ikuko Inoguchi in Takemitsu Society Newsletter

Ikuko pictureCity PhD student Ikuko Inoguchi, who is currently in the third year of her doctoral programme, supervised by Ian Pace, gave a lecture-recital at Schott’s for the Institute of Musical Research on November 15th, 2013, relating to her research into the music of Toru Takemitsu and its performance. In the Takemitsu Society Newsletter, renowned Takemitsu scholar Peter Burt wrote about:

‘.. her [Izoguchi’s] admirable professional cool as she launched into her presentation on ‘Performing Tōru Takemitsu’s Rain Tree Sketch: a sense of time, a sense of space, and a sensitivity to colour and tone’. As the title suggests, her presentation viewed the work in part from a performer’s perspective – a perspective to which she showed herself fully entitled, immediately sitting down at the piano and demonstrating her total command of the piece’s technical and expressive challenges. Performers’ preoccupations were also to the fore in the detailed analysis which followed, which included the fruits of some pioneering research into the variant metronome markings of the various editions. Yet there was plenty to interest the non-specialist here too, not least in the shape of some fascinating speculations on the Japanese sense of time. All in all, like the other contributions, it provided plenty of fuel for discussion in the ensuing question period and, more informally, over wine afterwards – and an encouraging sign of the Society’s rebirth after that long period of hibernation.’


Annie Yim wins award from Worshipful Company of Cordwainers

The Worshipful Company of Cordwainers has made its £1500 annual award for a City University music student to Hong Kong-born pianist Annie Yim, who is currently studyng on the DMA programme run jointly by City University London and the Guildhall School, supervised by Dr. Christopher Wiley and pianist Joan Havill. Annie is a remarkable scholar and performer whose performance of Beethoven’s Emperor Concerto with the City University Symphony Orchestra in St Luke’s in 2013 won much admiration; she has also performed widely around the UK, Europe and Canada, including recent appearances at festivals at London, Geneva, Trasimeno and Vancouver, as well as broadcasting on CBC Radio 2, BBC Radio 3 and Portuguese Radio Antena 2. She has been a regular and important contributor to City’s musical life not only as a soloist but also as a chamber musician.  She has performed regularly with the Minerva Piano Trio in our concert series; the ensemble was also recently chosen as part of the Park Lane Group Young Artists series, and will be giving their debut at the Purcell Room on January 7th, 2014 (tickets available here). Her research focuses on performance practice in chamber works of Robert Schumann and Johannes Brahms,  particularly on the early version of Brahms’s Piano Trio in B op. 8. She has given various papers and lecture-recitals, including recently at the Conservatoires UK Postgraduate Research Forum highly valued member of the research and performing communities at City University London and we are delighted to congratulate her on being the recipient of this award. Annie’s website is here.


Ian Pace – Recording of Michael Finnissy The History of Photography in Sound now available – also 290 page free book considering sources, techniques and meaning

Ian Pace’s new recording of Michael Finnissy’s five-and-a-half-hour piano cycle The History of Photography in Sound, was released in October, and is now available via Amazon for under £23 – see

Also, on the website of Divine Art records, is a hugely extended version of the programme booklet, amounting to a 290-page book on the work considering each of its chapters in turn, as well as the cycle as a whole, with a wealth of musical and other examples. This can be downloaded for free here –