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Undergraduate Study

 

Organ Scholarships in Cambridge offer unparalleled opportunities to talented organists who wish to develop their skills significantly during the period of their academic studies. The College Chapels in Cambridge contain some of the finest organs in the U.K., providing a superb facility for those holding these awards Organ Scholars are appointed by colleges to play the organ for chapel services and to direct or assist in the work of the choir. The chapel music environment in Cambridge is extremely varied, offering scope not only for outstanding work in chapel contexts but also for external activities such as foreign tours, concerts, broadcasts and recordings. 

Most Colleges have two Organ Scholars (a 'Junior' and a 'Senior') in residence at any one time. In all Colleges, the Organ Scholars’ duties are centred around providing music in the College chapel, and Organ Scholars are usually expected to commit themselves to general music-making in the College as well.

The precise nature of an organ scholarship can vary considerably from college to college; in some Colleges, chapel duties include acting as an Assistant Organist to a full-time professional Director of Music - accompanying the choir in regular services, concerts, and professional tours and engagements - while the Director of Music does most of the conducting of the choir, and all of the administration. In other Colleges, duties are shared between a part-time professional Director of Music and the two Organ Scholars, with playing, conducting, and administrative duties distributed equally amongst the three, or sometimes with the two Organ Scholars doing the bulk of the work, closely overseen by the Director of Music. A few other Colleges have no Director of Music at all, and the Organ Scholars are entirely responsible for the recruitment, training, conducting, accompanying, and administration of their chapel choirs (usually in consultation with a Dean or Chaplain). Obviously, different skills are required for the various types of Organ Scholarship, and there is a significant difference in the time commitment required as well: for example, there are seven services per week to be accompanied by the King’s and St John’s Organ Scholars, and only one service per week to be prepared for and conducted by the Fitzwilliam Organ Scholar. The roles, duties, and perks of the holder of the Organ Scholarship at each of the participating Colleges are outlined in a separate booklet available to download (see 'Related Documents'). Think carefully about your skills (organ-playing, conducting, administrative), and about your aspirations, as you draw up your preference list: there is wealth of opportunities on offer here, and you will want to take full advantage of those that are particularly suited to your expertise and musical aspirations. Once you have chosen the type of Organ Scholarship you are interested in, it is advisable to list as many Colleges in your preferences as you can, in order to maximise your chances of gaining a scholarship.

In all Colleges, the Organ Scholar receives a small financial award each year (£450 per year). In addition to this standard University honorarium, participating Colleges also provide free organ lessons with internationally renowned teachers. In most Colleges the Organ Scholar is also given a piano in his/her room; other perks, including subsidised meals and choir tours, are determined by the individual Colleges.

All Organ Scholars are also automatically members of the inter-collegiate Organ Scholars’ Forum (OSF). The Forum organises regular master-classes in playing and choral conducting, as well as discussion sessions with professional organists from cathedrals and other positions.

Related Documents

Organ Scholarship information


Organ Scholars Reference Declaration


Choral and Organ Awards booklet


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Organ Scholarships Open Day

6 MAR
7 MAR

The Organ Scholars Open Day will be held on the 6 and 7 March 2018.

If you would like to attend the Open Day please apply using the booking link below.

Make a booking

Booking deadline: 26 February 2018