About Me

liz headshot
Liz Garnett is a musicologist, choral clinician and close-harmony arranger with a particular interest - both theoretical and practical - with the relationship between music and social values.

Liz studied music at the Universities of Bristol (BA Hons, 1st class) and Southampton (PhD, 1995). She then taught at Colchester Institute’s School of Music and Performance Arts for four years, before moving to Birmingham Conservatoire, where she was Head of Postgraduate Studies until 2009. Her teaching experience is varied in subject area, delivery style and level, from lectures in Musical Philosophies to practical workshops on Playing by Ear and one-to-one tutorials in Professional Development for Musicians.

As a student, she studied piano with Christopher Northam (gaining an LRAM in piano teaching) and singing with Glynn Davenport, Duncan Robertson and Molly Petrie. She started conducting as an undergraduate, attending the Choral Conducting course at the Canford Summer School of Music at age 19, then went on to conduct the Southampton University Light Opera Society as a postgraduate.

She became involved in barbershop music after the completion of her PhD, and it became the subject of her first book. She is one of the UK’s most prominent arrangers and performance coaches, having coached and/or arranged for many of the UK's top choruses and quartets, and arranged for groups from the UK, Ireland, the USA, Canada, Germany and Holland. She served as a Music Category judge from 2000-2013, and as LABBS Music Category Director from 2006-2009. She has adjudicated in both barbershop and ‘mainstream’ choral classes at the Llangollen International Eisteddfod and the Sligo International Choral Festival, and for 10 years directed and arranged for a close-harmony choir called Magenta.

After the completion of the barbershop book, her research and practical interests focused back on conducting, leading to a five-year project that produced her second major book, Choral Conducting and the Construction of Meaning. The research process involved visits to more than 40 choirs in rehearsal, and these observations provided not only material for the book, but also a deep understanding of the conductor-choir dynamic in a wide variety of contexts and styles. This experience continues to nourish her work as a choral clinician, giving rich and varied insights into the problems that conductors and choirs face, and the relative success of different approaches to solving them.