BEAST is the large-scale multichannel concert sound system of the University of Birmingham’s Electroacoustic Music Studios capable of mounting concert systems with in excess of 100 individual loudspeakers. It was founded in 1982 by the Director of the Studios, Jonty Harrison, to showcase electroacoustic music produced in the Studios and around the world. In the past 25 years, over 50 postgraduate composers based in the Birmingham Studios have been members of BEAST. As well as winning international competitions and receiving performances, broadcasts and commissions, many of these composers have gone on to teach in universities all over the world.
In 2002, BEAST became part of the newly formed Centre for Composition and Associated Studies (COMPASS) in the Department of Music at the University of Birmingham and has, for many years, enjoyed a close working relationship with the Birmingham Contemporary Music Group.