Dr Michael Searby

Position: Principal Lecturer in Music
School: Perf and Screen Studies
Email: M.Searby@kingston.ac.uk
Extension: 65147/65149
Location: Room Kh-532, Kingston Hill
Website: https://sites.google.com/site/mikesearbyswebsite/Home


My main research interests are in composing and contemporary music, particularly the music of the Hungarian composer Gyorgy Ligeti. In November 2009 I had a book published by Scarecrow Press entitled 'Ligeti's Stylistic Crisis: Transformation in his Musical Style 1974-85' which focuses on his opera Le Grand Macabre and the Horn Trio. I have also had several articles published in the journal Tempo on Ligeti's music. My most recent compositions have been for the Delta Saxophone Quartet: Arias and Ghosts (2006) which has been recorded on DVD for a commercial release by FMR in Spring 2011, and for soprano and piano: Marabou (2007) written for Jane Manning. The style of my music is quite eclectic - composers that influence my work include Birtwistle, Reich, Xenakis, Miles Davis and Ligeti. I teach composition and analysis on the BMus and MMus courses, and I am also course leader for the MA/MMus Music Courses.

I gave a pre-concert talk for the BBC on Ligeti's Violin Concerto and talked about the work on BBC Radio 3 in March 2009, and also in December 2009 focusing on works by Kurtag (Quasi una Fantasia), Bartok and Kodaly. I have also been running a Research informed Teaching project which has led to a number of interviews with composers and performers. These have been published on the PRIMO (Institute of Muscial Research) website including an interview with Steve Martland

In July 2011 I worked with the London Sinfonietta Academy exploring the music of Ligeti.
Barcelona Opera have commissioned a programme note for their production of Le Grand Macabre (November 2011). I spent a week teaching and presenting a colloquium (entitled Ligeti's journey from Modernist to Postmodernist) in November 2011 at Oldenburg University in Germany.In January 2012 I gave two pre-concert talks on Ligeti's music (Hamburg Concerto) and ran a study day on his music for the Scottish Chamber Orchestra in Glasgow and Edinburgh. In November 2012 I gave a Colloquium on my latest music at Oldenburg University which included the first performance of my Eleven Haiku (after Cage) for piano, performed by Roberto Reale.

For details about my book on Ligeti click here

For my music blog click here
I maintain a website on Ligeti's music click here
Some of my later compositions can be heard in my sound cloud site click here

On 30th March 2012 I convened a conference focusing on Ligeti's later music. The papers presented will be published by Contemporary Music Review in late 2012. Details below:

Ligeti Conference in London 2012:
Friday 30th March 2012 at Senate House, London University (Institute of Musical Research). Focused on Ligeti's later music. Speakers included: Prof Richard Steinitz, Prof. Jane Clendinning, Prof. Peter Wiegold, Dr. Wolfgang Marx, Dr Amy Bauer, Dr John Cucuirean, Dr. Stephen Taylor and Dr Mike Searby. Ian Pace gave a lecture recital on Ligeti's Piano Etudes, and Peter Wiegold ran a analysis workshop for student composers. The conference ended with a performance of Ligeti's Poème Symphonique for 100 metronomes. More details at click here

Educational and professional qualifications

2006 PhD , London University - Goldsmiths College
1994 MPhil in Composition , York University
1987 MusM in 20th Century Music , Manchester University
1983 GRNCM in Trombone Performance , Royal Northern College of Music
1982 MusB (Hons) in Music , Manchester University
1980 ARCM in Trombone Performance , Royal College of Music
1978 FTCL in Trombone Performance , Trinity College of Music

Professional experience (post-1990)

1998-present Principal Lecturer in Music, Kingston University
1990-8 Senior Lecturer in Music, Kingston University
1984-90 Lecturer II in Music, Salford University
1983-4 Lecturer in Music, North Manchester College


I teach modules in composition at all levels, Collaborative Performance Project in years 1, Ensemble Projects 2 in year 3, and Aural and Analysis in year 2. I teach Colloquia on the Masters' programmes and I also supervise Mmus composing for film and TV projects.

Research supervision

Second supervisor for PhD in Composition, and a PhD on the Music of Ades.

Research areas

Music: Composition
Music: Contemporary Music
Music: Music of Gyorgy Ligeti
Music: Music Analysis

Professional activity

External Examiner for University of Essex 2008-
MA music Courses Director/Leader: 1994-
Course Liaison Director for the Royal Military School of Music at Kneller Hall 1994-
Member of PRS 1990-
Member of Sound and Music
External Examinerat Ulster University (music) 2001-5
External Examiner at Salford University (music) 1993-7
External Eaxminer for Essex University 2008-
Treasurer of Kingston University Wine Club
Club Secretary and 3rd IX captain for Ham and Petersham Cricket Club

Research outputs

Number of items: 26.


Searby, Michael (2012) Book Review of: 'Gyorgy Ligeti: Of foreign lands and strange sounds' ed. by Louise Duchesneau & Wolfgang Marx. Tempo, 66(260), pp. 65-66. ISSN (print) 0040-2982

Searby, Michael [Reviewer] (2012) Book Review of: 'Ligeti's laments: nostalgia, exoticism and the absolute' by Amy Bauer. Tempo, 66(261), pp. 74-75. ISSN (print) 0040-2982

Searby, Michael (2012) Ligeti's 'Le Grand macabre': how he solved the problem of writing a modernist opera. Tempo, 66(262), pp. 29-38. ISSN (print) 0040-2982

Searby, Michael (2012) To the future or the past? Ligeti's stylistic eclecticism in his 'Hamburg Concerto'. Contemporary Music Review, 31(2-3), pp. 239-246. ISSN (print) 0749-4467

Searby, Michael (2001) Ligeti's 'third way': 'non-atonal' elements in the Horn trio. Tempo, 2001(216), pp. 17-22. ISSN (print) 0040-2982

Searby, Mike (1997) Book Review of: American pioneers by Alan Rich. Tempo, 199, pp. 42-43. ISSN (print) 0040-2982

Searby, M. (1997) Ligeti the post-modernist? Tempo, 1997(199), pp. 9-15. ISSN (print) 0040-2982

Searby, Mike and Ewers, Tim (1997) An evaluation of the use of peer assessment in higher education: a case study in the School of Music, Kingston University. Assessment & Evaluation in Higher Education, 22(4), pp. 371-383. ISSN (print) 0260-2938

Searby, Mike and Ewers, Tim (1996) Peer assessing composition in Higher Education. British Journal of Music Education, 13(2), pp. 155-163. ISSN (print) 0265-0517

Searby, Michael (1989) Ligeti's Chamber Concerto: summation or turning point? Tempo, 1989(168), pp. 30-34. ISSN (print) 0040-2982


Searby, Michael D. (2009) Ligeti's stylistic crisis: transformation in his musical style 1974-1985. Lanham, U.S. : Scarecrow Press. 220p. ISBN 9780810872509

Book Section

Searby, Michael and Ewers, Tim (2000) Peer assessment in composition. In: Hunter, Desmond and Russ, Michael, (eds.) Peer learning in music. Newtownabbey, Northern Ireland : University of Ulster. pp. 106-114. ISBN 1859231438


Searby, Michael (2012) Eleven Haiku (after Cage) for solo piano. (Musical score). (Unpublished)

Searby, Michael [Composer] and Yeh, Jane [Lyricist] (2007) Marabou. (Music). (Unpublished)

Searby, Michael [Composer] (2006) Arias and ghosts. (Music).

Searby, Michael [Composer] (1998) Lament and dance for solo trumpet. (Music). Oakham, U.K. : Brass Wind Publications.

Searby, Michael [Composer] (1998) Two images. (Music).

Conference or Workshop Item

Searby, M D (2009) BBC Pre-concert talk. In: Pre-concert talk; 13 Mar 2009, London, U.K.. (Unpublished)

Searby, Michael (2009) BBC Pre-concert talk. In: Pre-Concert Talk for BBC Symphony Orchestra; 11 Dec 2009, London, U.K.. (Unpublished)

Searby, Mike (2004) Ligeti's Le grand macabre: an experiment in postmodernism? In: 36th Royal Musical Association Annual Music Research Students' Conference; 7-10 Jan 2004, London, U.K.. (Unpublished)

Searby, Mike (2001) An investigation of phrase structure in the first movement of Ligeti's Horn Trio. In: Theory and Analysis Graduate Students Day (TAGS) ; 24 May 2001, Birmingham, U.K.. (Unpublished)

Moving Image/Broadcast

Searby, Michael [Interviewer] and Martland, Steve [Interviewee] (2010) Interview between Mike Searby and Steve Martland (composer) in 5 parts. (speech).

Millward, Frank [Designer], Ewers, Tim [Composer] and Searby, Michael [Composer] (2007) Uneasy dreams. (3D spectrographic responses).

Sound Recording

Searby, Michael [Composer] (2011) Arias and ghosts. (DVD of Composition with moving images). Rayleigh, Essex : FMR Records. (20 min.)

Searby, Michael [Composer] (1999) Two images. (Music). Hong Kong : Hugo.


Searby, Michael David (2005) An investigation of the transformation of compositional process in Gyorgy Ligeti's music, 1974-83 with particular reference to pitch. (PhD thesis), Goldsmiths, University of London.

This list was generated on Tue Apr 22 13:35:34 2014 BST.