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CHOMBEC is the Centre for the History of Music in Britain, the Empire and the Commonwealth. It is a part of the music department at the University of Bristol (UK). It was founded in 2006 by Professor Stephen Banfield. The current Director is Professor John Pickard. CHOMBEC's aims are to encourage and provide a focal point for research into the history of music in the British Empire, in Britain, and within the West Country.[1]

CHOMBEC, in association with the University of Bristol, runs an MA (Master of Arts) degree in British music. This programme offers the opportunity to specialise in music of the British Empire and music in the West Country.

CHOMBEC also run seminars and conferences on various aspects of British music. These have included 'Vaughan Williams, Hardy and the Ninth Symphony' (spring 2008), 'Rubbra Revived: Sinfonia Sacra and Beyond' (Spring 2008), 'The Sounds of Stonehenge' (autumn 2008), 'Celebrating George Dyson' (spring 2007), and 'Robert Pearsall - Bristol's Forgotten Composer' (autumn 2006).[2] The most recent, 'The Sounds of Stonehenge' explored the multiple soundscapes of the ancient stone's 5,000-year history. The cultural history of the stones, their acoustics, and Neolithic England's musical instruments were presented in a one-day workshop that brought Stonehenge's legend up-to-date with its depiction and importance in film and rock music.

CHOMBEC is home to a number of academic archives that have been donated to the Centre since it was founded. Archives are held at the university's Special Collections section of the Arts and Social Sciences Library and can include manuscript scores, audio recordings, and personal papers relating to the composers and their lives. In 2008 archives for Edgar Hunt, Sir Michael Tippett, a combined archive for Frank Merrick and Evelyn Hope Squire, and one for John Raynor were all acquired by the university. These archives join the Stanley Godman archive donated in 2007.

In the summer of 2009 CHOMBEC set up a dedicated study centre at the university's music department. This facility aims to aid researchers by providing a central point for archive materials and is equipped with audio facilities and micro-fiche and micro-film readers.

CHOMBEC publishes a twice-yearly newsletter, CHOMBEC News, with articles on composers, performers, and current research projects around the world: archive copies of older editions of CHOMBEC News can be downloaded from their website as PDF files.


  1. ^ North American British Music Studies Association, Vol.2, No.2 (Autumn 2006)
  2. ^ 2006 - The Anniversary of Robert Lucas Pearsall

Links: CHOMBEC homepage
University of Bristol