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Christopher Gayford

Musicianship, Theory and Aural

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The conductor and researcher Christopher Gayford studied at the Royal College of Music and the Royal Northern College of Music (RNCM). He won joint first prize at the International Conducting Competition in Besançon, and second prize at the Cadaqués competition. He was subsequently offered engagements throughout Europe and the UK and spent a year working with the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra, where he was appointed assistant conductor. In 1995, he was appointed conductor of the City of Sheffield Youth Orchestra, with whom he has since given over 120 concerts across the U.K. and Europe, and from September 2018, he’s joined the staff of Sheffield Music Academy. 


He has long been interested in tackling the problem of shrinking audiences, and in 1999, embarked on an audience development project called Feeling Sound. From 2000, he started working with two leading music psychologists, professors John Sloboda and Jane Ginsborg. They ran large-scale research projects at Trinity College of Music and the RNCM; Gayford became a visiting researcher at both institutions, was made an Honorary Research Fellow at Keele University and received an honorary doctorate from the University of the Arts, Kharkiv, in 2017.


In 2008, Gayford and Ginsborg created an online laboratory, recruiting over 1,000 participants with the help of BBC Radio 4's 'Today' programme, and BBC Radio 3's 'Discovering Music.' In 2009, he delivered a lecture at the Royal Institution in London, reporting on the results of the online experiments. 


Since 2010, Gayford has broadened the scope of his work, looking for links between peak emotional experiences in both music and visual art. He's just finishing his first book on the subject, Genius. 

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