The Cramb Residency in Music

The Cramb Residency in Music annually invites a visiting lecturer, pre-eminent in the field of Music, to the University of Glasgow for an inspiring series of seminars, workshops and performances.

Previous Cramb scholars have included Aaron Copland, Sir Peter Pears, George Lewis, Lydia Goehr, Susan McClary, and Thea Musgrave.

The Cramb Lecture in Music was founded in 1911 by Miss Susannah Cramb of the Hermitage, Helensburgh and in 1947 provision was made for the lecture to become an annual event.  In more recent years the format has been expanded and visiting speakers have carried out an extended residency at the University. Residencies have incorporated public performance and seminars with Music students in addition to the traditional public lecture.

LATEST: The Cramb Residency for 2022 will feature Maggie Nicols and takes place 18th - 20th May 2022. 

Cramb Residency 2022

Maggie Nicols

Whatever Arises

Wednesday 18th - Friday 20th May

Maggie Nicols

Born in Edinburgh, renowned vocalist Maggie Nicols (formerly Nichols) has worked on an extraordinary variety of projects since her first teenage ventures as a dancer at the Windmill Theatre and a singer in a Manchester strip club. An early obsession with jazz led to gigs with revolutionary bebop pianist Dennis Rose, and then to appearances with many other leading jazz musicians singing standards and original compositions in pubs, clubs, hotels and with dance bands.

After further international dance experience – in Greece and Iran with the Jon Lei Dancers; at the Moulin Rouge in Paris – she joined John Stevens’s Spontaneous Music Ensemble (also featuring Trevor Watts, Johnny Dyani and Carolanne Nicholls), which performed with guest Johnny Mclaughlin at Berlin’s 1st improvised music festival, Total Music Meeting, in 1968.

The 70s saw Maggie pursuing ever wider activities, including voice workshops at the pioneering fringe venue Oval House Theatre; participation in Keith Tippett’s fifty piece band ‘Centipede’; creation (with Julie Tippett and Phil Minton) of the group ‘Voice’; collaboration with Scottish percussionist Ken Hyder in the band ‘Talisker’.

By the late ’70s, she had become an active feminist, co-founding groups like OVA and (with Lindsay Cooper) the Feminist Improvising Group; organizing Contradictions, a multi-disciplinary women’s performance workshop group; collaborating with other women’s groups such as the Changing Women Theatre Group; and composing music for the prime-time TV series Women in Sport. Maggie has often toured and recorded with pianist Irene Schweizer and bassist Joelle Leandre as the trio Les Diaboliques; her many diverse duo projects include the Hoots and Roots Duo, with Ken Hyder, which draws elements from traditional Scottish music into jazz improvisations. Maggie’s performances and workshop activities have taken her to all the main festivals of the European improvised music scene and far beyond, often in collaboration with musicians from the world over.

In the last year, she has remarkably released her first solo album, Creative Contradiction: Poetry, Story, Song and Sound, via Cafe Oto’s Takuroku label as well as appearing on the cover of The Wire magazine and on Radio 3’s Freeness.

As our 2022 Cramb resident, Maggie will bring an extraordinary wealth of experience in Scottish and international music and arts, to be shared with the University and Glasgow community in round-table discussions, participatory workshops open to all, and performances with collaborators from Scotland’s thriving improvisation scene.

Venue and Programme

All events are free - but tickets can be reserved for some or all of them using Eventbrite

All events take place at the University Concert Hall in the Main Building of the University.

Wednesday 18th May

The Challenge of Simplicity - a welcoming and open creative workshop [2pm -5pm]

As Maggie writes: ‘Simplicity is devalued in our society so that, even when it is accepted as an approach, it is seen as something to help beginners with rather than as a challenge to us all. To take on simplicity as an ideal more broadly, for everyone, can lead us on all sorts of exciting journeys and, because simplicity is underestimated, we often find that it is harder to grasp, and more inspiring to experience, than people realise’.

Maggie will lead this improvisation workshop, drawing primarily on the voice but potentially including other instruments and sounds, open to all University staff, students and friends. Singers, musicians, and noise-makers of all levels are welcome to participate: the only requirement is curiosity! Reserve here.

Structure and Spontaneity: in the Arts, and in Being Human: An open discussion in the round, with occasional accompaniment [7pm]

Drawing on her career in music-making, Maggie Nicols discusses her philosophy and approach to life and the arts via the stopping off points of music, magic, philosophy and politics. The discussion will welcome reflections from several invited discussants as well as everyone present; selections of music and sound will occasionally provide backdrop and inspiration. Reserve here.

Thursday 19th May

Different Rhythms Together: Maggie Nicols and Friends, In Concert [7.30pm]

Maggie will join previous and new collaborators (e.g. members of the Glasgow Improvisers Orchestra, this week’s workshop participants) for a unique, free improvised performance. Reserve here.

Friday 20th May

The Gathering [1pm -5pm] 

This is the first time The Gathering, a series of events that Nicols has been hosting in London, Wales and elsewhere, since the end of the 1980s, has been held in Scotland. She describes it as ‘a space, place and time where we can build up confidence in our creativity; where we can sit in silence, sing, play an instrument, draw, dance, gesture; be poetic or prophetic; we could talk in tongues, talk to each other, talk to ourselves, talk to voices. We can listen, make sounds, melodies and noise; soft and loud; leave space; fill it up; explore rhythm and time, chaos and rhyme, lullabies and laments; shyly and boldly.’

The Gathering is open to all singers, musicians, dancers, artists, poets, film-makers and those who enjoy creative explorations of any kind.

You can join or leave at any time, take an active part or just observe, come and go as you wish, bring coffee or lunch ... Reserve here.

Whatever happens, happens.


List of Previous Cramb Residencies

2020 David Toop Emeritus Professor, London College of Communication
2019 Jeremy Dutcher Composer, musicologist, performer and activist
2018 Marianne Wheeldon Professor of Music Theory, University of Texas at Austin
2017 Allan Moore Professor Emeritus, University of Surrey
2016 Susan McClary Musicologist; Professor of Music, Case Western Reserve University
2015 Heiner Goebbels Composer; Justus-Liebig-Universität Gießen
2014 Peter Wiegold Composer and conductor; Professor of Music, Brunel University
2013 Katherine Bergeron & Joseph Butch Rovan Musicologist and Composer; Professors of Music, Brown University
2012 Anne Smith Performer and musicologist; Schola Cantorum Basiliensis
2007 George Lewis Edwin H. Case Professor of American Music, Director of the Center for Jazz Studies at Columbia University
2006 Simon Frith Tovey Professor of Music, University of|Edinburgh
2005 Lydia Goehr Professor of Philosophy, Columbia University
2004 Roger Parker University of Cambridge
2002 Leo Treitler Emeritus Professor of Music, the Graduate School, CUNY
2001 Anthony Newcomb Musicologist; Professor of Music, University of California, Berkeley
2000 Richard Taruskin Musicologist; Professor of Music, University of California, Berkeley
2000 Laszlo Somfai Musicologist, Bartok Institute, Budapest
1997 Jane Glover Conductor
1994 Hugh J. Macdonald Musicologist; Professor of Music, Washington University, St Louis
1990 Joan Rimmer Musician
1989 David Charlton Lecturer in Music, Royal Holloway, University of London
1989 Yuri Kholopov Moscow Conservatoire
1988 Hans Tischler Emeritus Professor of Musicology, University of Indiana
1988 Peter Maxwell Davies, CBE Composer and conductor
1987 Peter Branscombe Author
1987 Neil FI Sorrell Senior Lecturer, University of York; co-founder, English Gamelan Orchestra
1986 Alena Němcová Music Information Centre of the Czech Music Fund
1985 Wilfred H. Mellers, OBE Professor of Music, University of York
1979 H. Robbins Landon Author and music historian
1977 Thomas Jeffrey Hemsley Opera and concert singer
1977 Thea Musgrave Composer
1976 Luciano Berio Composer
1975 Ivor Keys, FRCO Professor of Music, University of Birmingham
1973 Denis Matthews, FRAM Professor of Music, University of Newcastle upon Tyne
1972 Witold Lutoslawski Composer
1971 Iain Ellis Hamilton Professor of Music, Duke University
1970 Cedric Thorpe Davie, OBE, FRACM Reader in Music, University of St Andrews
1969 Peter Angus Evans, FRCO Professor of Music, University of Southampton
1968 Sir Jack Westrup Heather Professor of Music, University of Oxford
1967 Hugh Tracey Director, International Library of African Music
1966 Wilfrid H. Mellers Professor of Music, University of York
1965 William Mann Music Critic of “The Times”
1964 Keith Falkner, FRCM Director of the Royal College of Music
1963 Henry McLeod Havergal Principal of the Royal Scottish Academy of Music
1962 Aaron Copland Composer, conductor
1961 Peter Pears, CBE  
1960 Sir Anthony Lewis Musicologist, conductor and composer; Professor of Music, University of Birmingham
1959 Thurston Dart Musicologist, conductor and performer; Lecturer in Music, University of Cambridge
1958 Alan Douglas, MIRE, MAIEE  
1957 Erik Chisholm, DMus, FRCO Composer, pianist, conductor; Professor at the University of Cape Town
1956 Sydney Newman Composer and conductor; Reid Professor of Music, University of Edinburgh
1955 Gordon Jacob, FRCM, HonRAM Composer and music editor; Professor at the RCM 
1954 Herbert Kennedy Andrews Composer and Organist; Lecturer in Music at Oxford and the RCM
1953 Herbert Wiseman Scottish Music Director, BBC
1952 Frank Howes Music Critic of The Times
1951 Ivor Benjamin Hugh James, FRCM Professor in the Royal College of Music, London
1951 Frederick William Rimmer Senior Lecturer in Music, Homerton College, Cambridge
1950 Sir Steuart Wilson Singer; Director of the Arts Council of Great Britain; Director of Music for the BBC
1949 Sir George Dyson Composer; Professor of composition, RCM; Master of Music, Winchester College
1948 Sir Thomas Armstrong Conductor, Composer, and Organist of Christ Church Cathedral, Oxford
1947 Ronald Ernest Woodham Musicologist
1947 Frank Howes Music Critic of The Times; President of the RMA
1946 Charles Henry Phillip   
1939 Sir Hugh Percy Allen Conductor and Musicologist; Professor of Music, Oxford University; Director, RCM
1937 Edmund Horace Fellowes Musicologist and editor of early music; Canon of St George’s Chapel, Windsor
1935 Sir Donald Francis Tovey, FRSE Reid Professor of Music, University of Edinburgh
1934 Michel D Calvocoressi Critic, Musicologist, and translator; scholar of Russian music
1933 Henry George Farmer Musicologist and Arabist
1931 William Gillies Whittaker Composer, Conductor and Musicologist; Principal, RSAMD, and Gardiner Professor, University of Glasgow
1928 Sir George Dyson Composer; Professor of composition, RCM; Master of Music, Winchester College
1927 Henry Cope Colles Chief music critic, The Times; editor, Grove's Dictionary, 3rd and 4th editions
1926 Gustav Holst Composer; Director of Music, Morley College
1925 Sir Donald Francis Tovey, FRSE Reid Professor of Music, University of Edinburgh
1924 Sir Henry Walford Davies Gresham Professor of Music, University of London
1923 Sir Percy Carter Buck Organist and Composer; Director of Music, Harrow School