Organ Scholars at Univ are at the heart of our thriving musical community. As well as having an essential role with the chapel choir, they also find themselves involved with music-making elsewhere in College, primarily through The University College Music Society (UCMS
). In the wider University, Univ Organ Scholars often play an active role in orchestras and chamber ensembles.
There are usually at least two Organ Scholars in residence at any one time, so the college will consider applicants for an Organ Scholarship in each academic year. Further details of this process are available in the University prospectus. Some of our recent applicants have had a gap-year, perhaps in a cathedral or teaching music at a school, but others have come straight from school. We welcome applications from candidates in either position. Organ Scholars are not required to be studying for a music degree Prospective candidates should email the Director of Music or the Chaplain for details, or see the Music Faculty webpages here.
Organ Scholars are each awarded an annual stipend of £500, and, in addition, are offered organ, conducting and singing lessons at the College’s expense, and are permitted to wear a Scholar's Gown.
Each Organ Scholar may have either a piano or a keyboard in his or her room. They also have access to the grand piano in the College Hall, a fine Peter Collins box organ, and the newly refurbished Walker organ in the Chapel which is available for practice each day and evening. The Organ Scholars are answerable to the Director of Music (who has primary responsibility for their training and support) and the Chaplain. Their duties include accompanying the choir, playing before and after services, and conducting some rehearsals and services. When not playing, they are expected to sing in the choir, thus giving them a fuller experience of being on both sides of the conductor's stand. There is usually one sung service each week – most often Choral Evensong, but sometimes a Sung Eucharist – so the time-commitment expected of an Organ Scholar is relatively modest. The repertoire is wide-ranging, and Organ Scholars are encouraged to develop their own interests. There are also opportunities to involve other instrumentalists in chapel services, and to organise concerts and tours. Find our more about the Chapel Choir here
Former Organ Scholars now working as professional musicians include David Todd (2010), Esther Jones (1996), Matthew Berry (1995), William Whitehead (1990), and Simon Toyne (1988).