Founded in 2010 as an associate performance research arm of the Institute of Musical Research (IMR), at that time a research arm of the School of Advanced Study, University of London, the SongArt Performance Research Group exists to pursue new avenues in cross-disciplinary, collaborative, song performance experiment and research.

Currently led by Kathryn Whitney (Victoria Conservatory of Music) and Verica Grmusa (Goldsmith’s), the SongArt Performance Research Group brings together practitioners and theorists of song performance, poetry, theatre, musicology, philosophy, and psychology with a view to gaining new insights into the practice of song performance that will be relevant to professional performers, as well as to those who work with, write for, and study them and the song repertoire.

Our associate musicians, poets, actors, composers, performance studies researchers and academics collaborate on a range of related performance research projects, which include experimental workshops, study days, conferences, video projects, and a range of song-related pedagogical and performance events.

core priorities

Our projects are linked by our commitment to three core priorities:

1. to gain a fuller understanding of “lyric” potential of poetry in performance and its connection to effective song creation for performers;

2. to study the experience of live song performance in concert with a view to identifying key attributes of the interior of the performative act for research and pedagogical purposes; and

3. to investigate the “Art,” or the “making,” of songs in concert by poets, composers, performers and audiences as a potentially joint enterprise.


Uniquely among contemporary performance research projects, each of our associated studies incorporates live professional-level song performance, together with associated commentary and recommendations from professional performers, as primary research material.

We aim to produce new information about song and poetry performance that derives from, and will be relevant to, the work of professional performers and pedagogues, but that will also intersect, both structurally and intellectually, with related academic disciplines.

join us

Our work aims above all to get professional performers, pedagogues and academic researchers talking, both with each other, and with their poets, composers, and audiences.

How might the study of song performance as a live creative musico-poetic event build bridges of understanding between performers, academics and audiences? We invite you to attend one of our many evnts and contribute to the discussion.