Dr Michael Searby

Position: Principal Lecturer
School: Perf and Screen Studies
Email: M.Searby@kingston.ac.uk
Extension: 65147
Location: Room KH CH 1016, Coombehurst House, 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. In October 2013 I gave a paper on Ligeti's approach to form at the 2013 Florida Ligeti Conference (Florida State University). I was on the wind and composition juries of the 2014 Palestine National Music Competition in Jerusalem. In July 2014 I gave a paper focused on Ligeti's problematic status as a maverick at the Soundscape Ligeti conference at Maccagno, Italy.

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

2015 Senior Fellow of HEA , Higher Education Academy
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, Writing and Repertoire in years 1, and Aural, Analysis and Improvisation in year 2. I teach Researching Music (Colloquia) on the Masters' programmes and I also supervise MMus composing for film and TV projects.

Research areas

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

Professional activity

MA/MMus music Courses Director/Leader: 1994-
Course Liaison Director for the Royal Military School of Music at Kneller Hall 1994-2014
Member of PRS 1990-
Member of Sound and Music
External Eaxminer for Essex University 2008-10
External Examinerat Ulster University (music) 2001-5
External Examiner at Salford University (music) 1993-7

Research outputs

Number of items: 33.


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 (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 (2016) Humour in opera: a case study of Ligeti’s use of humour in his opera 'Le Grand Macabre'. In: Campos, Luis and Schopf, Fiona Jane, (eds.) Music on Stage. Newcastle upon Tyne, U.K. : Cambridge Scholars Publishing. pp. 258-270. ISBN 9781443896863

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, Michael (2016) The significance of timbre as a structural component in selected works by Ligeti. In: Ligeti's Legacy in Retrospect; 26 - 27 May 2016, Cluj-Napoca, Romania. (Unpublished)

Searby, Mike (2014) Ligeti the maverick? An examination of Ligeti’s ambivalent role in contemporary music. In: Gyorgy Ligeti and the Future of Maverick Modernity Conference; 14 Jul 2014, Maccagno, Italy. (Unpublished)

Searby, Michael (2013) Ligeti and musical form: an examination of Gyorgy Ligeti's changing approach towards form in his music. In: Ligeti 2013 Florida Conference; 10 - 12 Oct 2013, Tallahassee, Florida, U.S.. (Unpublished)

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).

Searby, Michael [Interviewer] and Weir, Judith [Interviewee] (2009) Interview between Judith Weir and Michael Searby. (Film: Quick Time Movie). 1st version.

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.


Searby, Mike (2011) DVD Liner notes for Ligeti's 'Le Grand Macabre'. Halle/Saale, Germany : Arthaus Musik.

This list was generated on Fri Jun 23 04:24:56 2017 BST.