Portrait of Mr Peter Birkby Mr Peter Birkby

p.r.birkby@hud.ac.uk | - 01226 644243


Peter joined the University in 2005 as a Senior Lecturer in Music, he then had the role of Subject Area Leader for the School of Music, Humanities and Media in Barnsley before becoming the Head of Campus at the University Campus Barnsley in 2010.

Before joining the University Peter worked for over 20 years as a self-employed musician, working as a percussionist with Dame Shirley Bassey, Frankie Lane, Gene Pitney, Michael Crawford, Matthew Herbert, Andre Boccelli and many other artists. He also has years of experience in radio, television, film and music recording, as a performer and composer/ arranger.

His composition and arrangement credits include work for Max Jaffa, the band of the Royal Yacht Britannia, Percussion Unlimited, Legends, Sounding Syncopated, many commissions for school and college groups, film and radio. His music publishing company has a catalogue of over 500 works, mainly for percussion, jazz orchestra and ensembles in education.

Peter always envisaged a career change to work in education and en route to the University he has worked for the Leeds College of Music, Royal Northern College of Music, Bretton Hall, Wakefield and Barnsley Colleges.

Research and Scholarship

Currently researching and writing towards a PhD, the main area of research is composition for the under-represented. The creation of new works for instrumentalists that have a limited repertoire of compositions to perform. The reason for the limited repertoire is due to instrument invention and developments, examples are bass guitar and drum kit. The analysis and research into my own composition has produced a second area of interest, the definition of Light Music and an investigation of how it influences music in the 21st Century.

Publications and Other Research Outputs


Birkby, P (2011) Peter R. Birkby 30th Anniversary Concert Programme [Show/Exhibition]


Birkby, P (2009) Eurovision Song Contest 2009 Theme Music [Performance] In: UNSPECIFIED,


Birkby, P (2008) Mutual Marimba Music- Part of the programme on the Autumn Recital Tour performed by Dave Danford. [Composition]


Peter is an active member of these influential music associations/ societies: BASCA, AIM, PRS, MCPS, PPL, PAS and NAPT. In 2012 he was part of the team that devised the National Occupational Standards for Music- composition and performance.

As part of the Senior Executive Team for the One Barnsley Board, Peter works closely with local government in the Borough.

He has broadcast a number of times on BBC Radio Sheffield about Popular Music and regularly contributes articles relating to enterprise in the City Region Business magazine for the Sheffield City Region.

In 2005 he was awarded a cricket OSCA for his voluntary work with the local community and in 2009 was one of only 1000 volunteers worldwide to receive an International Cricket Council centenary medal.

Research Degree Supervision

Supervision interests include music composition and orchestration, enterprise and the creative artist.

Enterprise Activities

2012 Enterprise Educator Award joint winner for staff who provide the best enterprise education to their students.  Working at the University Campus Barnsley to develop enterprise skills, encouraging students to be enterprising within employment and/or promoting business or social enterprise as an alternative career option. The drive to make UCB an enterprising Campus, promoting enterprise within the curriculum, encouraging students and graduates to consider starting up their own business and acting as a role model and mentor was recognised by this award.

Instigate and support many collaborations between companies and students at the Campus including the academic partnership with AVID- ProTools and Sibelius from 2009, ATMOS Son et Lumiere mentoring and project development from 2011, Art and Film student exhibitions at galleries- CIVIC and Cooper, the ongoing Junior Chamber International and Prince’s Trust programmes of events at the Campus.

Work extensively with the Innovation and Enterprise team to include enterprise in the curriculum for undergraduate students studying creative subject- Art, Film and Music. In 2011/12 I was a mentor in Darton ALC for a Work and Skills Board initiative- Enterprise Challenge.

2012, two weeks of Creative Summer School, opportunities for the Campus undergraduate students to devise and explore the possibilities of projects and collaborations. Mentoring, careers and enterprise support organised during the weeks.

Administrative Responsibilities

Head of University Campus Barnsley

Teaching and Professional Activities

Peter teaches on all the music courses at the Barnsley Campus, BA(Hons) Popular Music, BA(Hons) Music Production and Sound Recording and BA(Hons) Music and Promotion. His specialist areas are Music Business, Composition and Arranging/ Orchestration.